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‘Meaty’ Vegan TVP Chili

If you want a meaty vegan chili, TVP (soy granules) is the way to go! This TVP Chili convinces even the most stubborn meat-eaters! It’s perfect for parties because it can be prepared ahead and it’s a real crowd-pleaser, or make a big batch for meal prepping.

Meaty Vegan TVP Chili

Autumn is the perfect season for making a big bowl of comforting chili. It’s the perfect recipe for meal prepping because you can make a big batch easily, or if you have lots of people over.

You can reheat it and it will get better each time. And you can even freeze leftovers without it losing its deliciousness.

For my ‘Meaty’ Vegan Chili, I’m using TVP soy granules as the meat substitute. I have an extra recipe if you’re looking for a chili sin carne.

My favorite way to serve this Vegan TVP Chili is with tortilla chips, but it would also be delicious with bread, dumplings, or rösti.

This chili has a secret ingredient, and it is: Cocoa powder! Don’t judge it before you’ve tried it! Just a bit of Dutch-processed cocoa powder adds richness that is just perfect for this chili.

What is TVP / Soy Granules?

TVP is short for Textured Vegetable Protein. It comes in different shapes: curls, cubes, slices, steaks, or granules. The latter we’re using for this Chili.

Textured Vegetable Protein - Soya Granules |
Textured Vegetable Protein – Soy Granule

The key to making a ‘meaty’ vegan chili is using soy granules or TVP. Not only does it give the Chili lots of protein, but it adds that typical meaty consistency that you can’t get with tofu, lentils, or bulgur. I’m sure of it, most meat-eaters won’t notice that it’s a vegan Chili.

I’m a big fan of TVP because it’s the perfect substitute for meaty components in dishes and it stores forever because it’s hydrated. It’s rich in protein and not expensive. It can soak up lots of flavor (it works wonders with liquid smoke!).

How to make Meaty Vegan TVP Chili

As always you will find the whole recipe with measurements in the box below but I want to give you an overview of the key ingredients, variations, and the process with step-by-step photos first.

The ingredients

For this chili you’ll need:

  • soy granules
  • onion
  • garlic
  • canned kidney beans
  • canned corn
  • tomato puree
  • water
  • oil
  • spices & seasonings:
    • soy sauce
    • liquid smoke
    • smoked paprika powder
    • sweet paprika powder
    • ground caraway
    • salt
    • chili powder
    • cocoa powder (I know, I know, but you have to trust me on this. It adds a lovely richness to the chili!)

The basic steps

soy granule in a pot
Step 1: Rehydrate and cook the soy granules in water, soy sauce, and liquid smoke until the soy granules have soaked up all the water.
soy granule, onions and garlic in a pot
Step 2: Make space in the pot, and cook chopped onion and garlic until soft.
soy granule, corn and beans in a pot
Step 3: Add the corn and kidney beans.
Meaty Vegan TVP Chili in a pot
Step 4: Add the tomato puree, water, and spices. Let it cook on high heat with the lid on.
Meaty Vegan TVP Chili in a pot
Step 5: Then let it cook a bit further with the lid off until it has reached the desired consistency.
Meaty Vegan TVP Chili
Then it’s ready to serve with e.g. tortilla chips, bread, dumplings, rösti, or whatever you have planned with it.

More Vegan Stew Recipes

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I hope you enjoy this ‘Meaty’ Vegan TVP Chili as much as I do! Let me know if you give it a try!

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Cheers, Bianca

Meaty Vegan TVP Chili

‘Meaty’ Vegan TVP Chili

Elephantastic Vegan
If you want a meaty vegan chili, TVP (soy granules) is the way to go! This TVP Chili convinces even the most stubborn meat-eaters! It’s perfect for parties because it can be prepared ahead and it’s a real crowd-pleaser, or make a big batch for meal prepping.
4.67 from 18 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Vegan
Servings 2 people
Calories 640 kcal


Meaty TVP

Onion + Garlic

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced

Canned Ingredients

  • 15 oz canned corn
  • 15 oz canned kidney beans

Tomato Puree + Spices

  • 2 cups tomato purée*
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground caraway
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder + more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder (trust me on this one)


  • In a big pot add the soy granules, 1 cup of water, soy sauce, and the liquid smoke. Give it a quick mix. Cook on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until the soy granules have soaked up all the water.
  • Make some space in the pot and pour in a teaspoon of canola oil, add in the chopped onions and garlic. Let them cook for about 4 minutes until they're soft.
  • Add the corn and kidney beans. And stir everything together. Let it cook a bit.
  • Add the tomato puree, water, and spices: smoked and sweet paprika powder, cocoa powder, ground caraway, chili powder, and salt. Bring it to high heat and let it cook for about 20 minutes with the lid on. Then remove the lid and let it cook further until it thickens enough to reach the desired consistency. Add more salt, chili powder, or other spices to taste.
  • Then it's ready to serve e.g. with tortilla chips!


*I used store-bought tomato purée (with salt, no additional herbs) for this recipe – it’s often canned or in cartons, not to confuse with tomato paste which is thicker in consistency.


Calories: 640kcalCarbohydrates: 105gProtein: 45gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gSodium: 2082mgPotassium: 2110mgFiber: 25gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 1486IUVitamin C: 40mgCalcium: 298mgIron: 13mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @elephantasticvegan or tag #elephantasticvegan!
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Recipe Rating

Steven Cohen

Wednesday 1st of November 2023

Can’t believe this is almost exactly like my “go to” recipient for chili, except that I use a larger amount of the same spices. Also cumin gives it a depth of flavour. I like mine spicy to say the least, and it freezes great.

Fat Glenn

Friday 27th of January 2023

1/2 teaspoon chili powder!? That's like nothing.


Sunday 11th of September 2022

This chili was so good! Not your traditional tasting chili. Super quick and easy to make, definitely a new go to!


Saturday 27th of August 2022

My family said this was winning chili cook off material!! I added diced carrots, serrano pepper, extra chili powder, a can of roasted diced tomatoes for acidity, and a can of refried beans for creaminess Wasn't sure about if the chili would come together but absolutely did!!! definetely pair with cornbread!!!


Tuesday 6th of September 2022

awesome! So glad everyone was happy with it :)


Sunday 21st of November 2021

Really delicious! I made it exactly by the recipe, just adding a bit more water because I like a lot of yummy spicy broth. The cacao and cinnamon really a wink to Mexican mole... I will definitely make again.