Mushroom Walnut Chili (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free)

Loaded with walnuts, mushrooms, and black beans, this hearty vegan chili is packed with flavor and plant-based “meaty” goodness. Gluten-free, oil-free, and ready in under an hour!

This mushroom walnut chili is the perfect comfort food during the colder months. While I do love a simple black bean veggie chili, this mushroom walnut chili is my new favorite. The walnuts make it hearty and filling (hello healthy fats!) while the mushrooms add a chewy, “meaty” texture. And of course, we still add black beans for all that plant-based protein. Add in a few more veggies and seasonings, serve with bread or rice, and dinner (for multiple nights) is served! Sound good? Let’s get cookin’!

ingredients

Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list. It may look like a lot, but it’s mostly veggies and spices that should be pretty easy to find at most grocery stores. Technically, you could omit some of the veggies and still have a delicious chili, but I like to sneak in some more veggies to bulk it up and add some different textures. So let’s take a look at what’s actually in this vegan chili:

  1. walnuts: To make this chili extra filling, hearty, and add a slight crunch to change up the textures.
  2. mushrooms: For that chewy, “meaty” texture. Crimini mushrooms or white button mushrooms (pictured above) will work, though crimini are a bit more flavorful.
  3. black beans: The main source of protein in this vegan chili. Feel free to switch up the beans — kidney beans work really well too.
  4. crushed tomatoes: The base of the sauce for most chilis since tomatoes contain a lot of umami.
  5. tomato paste: Good for thickening stews while adding an extra umami punch.
  6. chili powder, cumin, & paprika: My favorite spices to add to chili.
  7. nutritional yeast: Another umami-packed ingredient. Omit if this isn’t accessible for you, but it will add a new depth of flavor!
  8. jalapeño: I like my chili to pack a little heat, but if you’re sensitive to spicy foods leave this out.
  9. garlic & onion: I do not recommend leaving these out as they contribute a lot of flavor. I prefer using red onion as it’s slightly sweeter than yellow onion, but either will work.
  10. red bell pepper & celery: These are optional and the flavor won’t be affected too much if left out, but I like to add them for more texture and bulk.

how to make mushroom walnut chili

  1. Cook the onion, garlic, and celery in oil or a splash of water in a pot on the stove. When the onions turn translucent, add bell pepper, jalapeño, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally to prevent burning, and cook a few minutes until the mushrooms have softened and released some of their liquid.
  2. Add walnuts and spices and toast for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Then add in crushed tomatoes, water or vegetable broth, tomato paste, and salt.
  3. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low heat for 30-60 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, stir in the beans.

how to serve mushroom walnut chili

This vegan chili can be served as is, or garnish it with your favorite chili add-ins! Some of my favorites include: cilantro, vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, avocado, diced red onion, and lime juice.

If you’re not low carb, I recommend serving this chili with rice or bread (fresh Artisan bread is my fav!) or corn bread. And maybe even a side salad if you’re looking to get more greens in.

tips & tricks for the best mushroom walnut chili

  • use crimini mushrooms when possible for the most flavorful chili
  • chop the walnuts and mushrooms into really small pieces for the best “meaty” texture (think meat crumbles) — you could also use a food processor for this
  • use a combination of beans, lentils, or even crumbled tofu for more variety
  • remove the seeds from the jalapeño, otherwise it will be very spicy
  • also be sure not to touch your eyes or face while cutting the jalapeño, and wear gloves if you have any open wounds on your hands or wrists — otherwise you may feel a hot, burning sensation in these areas due to the capsaicin in the pepper

the perfect comfort food

This mushroom walnut chili is…

  • hearty
  • filling
  • “meaty”
  • vegan
  • gluten-free
  • oil-free
  • loaded with omega-3’s
  • packed with plant-based protein
  • great for meal prep
  • one pot
  • healthy & delicious!

still hungry?

Check out these other plant-based comfort foods!

If you try out this mushroom walnut chili, please tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking and/or leave a comment down below and let me know how you liked it! I love seeing you recreate my recipes in your own kitchen 🙂 Happy cooking!

Vegan Mushroom Walnut Chili

Loaded with walnuts, mushrooms, and black beans, this hearty vegan chili is packed with flavor and plant-based "meaty" goodness.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Servings: 5

Ingredients

  • ½ onion minced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 ribs of celery minced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 jalapeño seeded & diced
  • 8 oz crimini or white button mushrooms chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • ¾ tsp salt or more to taste
  • 1 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 2 cans black beans drained & rinsed

Instructions

  • Cook the onion, garlic, and celery in 1 tbsp olive oil or a splash of water in a pot on the stove over medium heat.
  • When the onions turn translucent, add bell pepper, jalapeño, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally to prevent burning, and cook a few minutes until the mushrooms have softened and released some of their liquid.
  • Add walnuts and spices and toast for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Then add in crushed tomatoes, water or vegetable broth, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low heat for 30-60 minutes. Check and stir occasionally to make sure the bottom isn't burning. Add more water/broth if the chili looks too thick for you.
  • During the last 10 minutes, stir in the beans.
  • Serve warm with bread or rice, and garnish with your favorite add-ins if desired*.

Notes

*My favorites include cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, vegan cheese, avocado, vegan sour cream, and diced red onion.

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