Soup of the Day: Vegan Bacon Chili

This customizable recipe is perfect cold weather food.

Mmmmm, chili. It has to be one of the best foods to warm you up when it’s freezing outside, which is why I developed this  recipe during the polar vortex. It’s also an incredibly customizable dish and one that’s super easy to make vegetarian or vegan. And since I’ve pledged to eat vegan for all of 2014, that was an important factor in soup selection. So let’s get started.

A picture of the ingredients for vegan bacon chili.


  • 3 15.5 oz. cans of beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 box of Smart Bacon
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium onion, about the size of a baseball, diced
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • Paprika, cayenne, chili powder, salt, and pepper

A picture of chili ingredients cooking in a large metal pot.


  1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Saute the onions, garlic, and pepper until soft and translucent.
  2. While the vegetables are cooking, in a separate pan, fry the Smart Bacon until it is crispy. Remove from heat and let cool enough that you can touch it comfortably, then chop it into small pieces.
  3. Add the beans, tomatoes (with juice), and cooked Smart Bacon to the pot. Add spices to taste. Stir.
  4. Cover the pot and simmer for about 45 minutes, checking occasionally to stir.
  5. Serve over rice, top with cheese (or Daiya) and/or sour cream if desired.

A picture of cooked chili in a glass bowl.

This recipe is very easy to customize. Instead of Smart Bacon, you could use vegetarian crumbles or, if you’re so inclined, meat. You can also use any kind of beans you choose. I went with kidney and pink, but black beans would also be delicious. You could also add ingredients like corn or jalapeño, or use green or red peppers instead of orange. I ate it over rice with pepperjack-style Daiya, but you could eat it alone, or top it with sour cream or cheddar if you prefer.

A picture of cooked chili in a glass bowl, topped with Daiya.

This stuff also tastes great (better, if possible) reheated. Fortunately, this recipe makes a pretty big batch.

By [E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

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