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The Best Keto-Friendly Instant Pot Vegan Chili

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Perfect for meatless Monday, Instant Pot Vegan Chili is one of my absolute favorite instant pot recipes! It’s super easy – either throw it all in an instant pot or a slow cooker and voila! It makes enough to feed an army and also freezes well. Perfect for paleo or keto, it has less than 10g net carbs per serving!

Three grey bowls of instant pot vegan chili on a wooden table.

This post was originally published on February 16th, 2020.

This is the best vegan chili recipe. It is probably one of the biggest “ah-ha!” moments I’ve had to date.

Confession time: I hate mushrooms. I’ll take that back, I think they smell amazing when they’re cooking and I really want to love them. However, they’re slimy and spongy and just weird. BUT! When working in a commercial kitchen, I learned that if I chop them up very finely and fry them with enough salt and garlic, the texture improves (they can even get crispy, whaaat?) and these little fungi can be delicious.

So, in my quest to eat more veggies, I knew I wanted to try to incorporate more mushrooms somehow. Why? They’re low carb (0.3g net carbs per 100g, hello!), SUPER cheap, and can take on whatever flavors you throw their way.

Chopping mushrooms up finely and adding them to dinners is a trick my mum got away with, and it still works for me today. The texture of finely chopped mushrooms is kind of like ground meat and perfect for this chili recipe. The addition of walnuts in this tasty meal was inspired by Instant Pot Pumpkin Walnut Chili with Black Beans I saw on Pinch of Yum’s Pinterest. I haven’t tried that recipe yet (maybe next October when I can find pumpkins again!). I love the idea of adding walnuts for extra protein. It makes this chili much more hearty and filling!

❤️ Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy: Easy recipes just make my day. This recipe is essentially a chop-and-dump recipe. I can definitely get behind that!
  • Quick: When I’m starting to get hungry, very rarely do I feel like standing and preparing a delicious meal for hours on end. This thick chili comes together in just one hour. Huzzah!
  • Simple ingredients: It’s 100% plant-based, has no soy, dairy, gluten, or sugar, and is a great source of so many vitamins and minerals. It’s paleo and whole30 friendly too.
  • Low Carb: 10g net carbs per serving. It’s easy to fit this delicious chili into a vegan keto diet.
  • Tastes like the real deal: Funnily enough, this veggie chili tastes kind of…meaty. My other half asked if there was beef in it. Good job, mushrooms!

🗝️ Key Ingredients

  • Walnuts: Nuts are an excellent plant-based protein and I wanted this chili to be hearty and satisfying like regular chili. I added walnuts this time, but I’ve also used brazil nuts and cashews in the past. Walnuts are my favorite option because they taste amazing and the texture is fantastic.
  • Mushrooms: Chestnut mushrooms are my go-to for this recipe, but when they’re unavailable I opt for brown button mushrooms or white button mushrooms. They need to be very finely chopped which I’ve done by hand in the past, however, I prefer to just stick them in a food processor in batches and pulse them until they are the right consistency.
  • Bell peppers: I added red bell pepper, however, a green bell pepper would be even lower carb.
  • Onion and fresh garlic: These two essential ingredients pack in a ton of great flavor! I always use red onion, however, yellow onions or white onions are also great in this instant pot chili recipe. Fresh garlic is preferred but in a pinch, 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder would work too.
  • Celery: Celery stalks add bulk and crunch. They cook down really well and take on the favors of this meatless chili recipe.
  • Tomato: Both canned diced tomatoes and tomato paste make for a robust tomato sauce.
  • Coconut aminos: A little sweetness and saltiness, coconut aminos taste amazing in this paleo chili recipe. Soy sauce is a good substitute, however, you may want to add a little sweetness with either zero carb sweetener or maple syrup.
  • Liquid Smoke: Let me introduce you to my new best friend: Liquid Smoke. Yes, it is vegan! It’s made by heating soaked wood chips in a chimney or on a grill and catching the vapor as it’s expelled. If you make your own it’s definitely paleo and whole30 compliant, but check the ingredients for store-bought – some have molasses and unnatural coloring. I’m looking forward to more experimentation with this fun ingredient – keep your eyes peeled!
  • Spices: Ground cumin, chili powder, and sweet paprika add amazing aromas and make this easy vegan chili taste just right.
  • Chocolate: Cocoa powder adds a deep richness to chili. I don’t make chili without it anymore!
  • Garnishes: Avocado, dairy-free cheese, garnish, dairy-free sour cream or yogurt, green onions, and fresh cilantro are my favorite toppings to serve on this instant pot vegetarian chili recipe. Cauliflower rice is a great low carb option to serve the chili over. If you’re not worried about carbs, regular rice is great too.
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Close up of instant pot vegan chili in a grey bowl.

🥣 How to make this Instant Pot Vegan Chili

  1. Prepare the fresh veggies: Chop up all of your veggies: onion, garlic, celery, and bell pepper.
  2. Prepare the mushrooms: Very finely cut the mushrooms. I’ve diced them up with a knife before but prefer to use a food processor for this. I pulsed the mushrooms until they were chopped into little pieces. You may need to do a few batches to get through them all.
  3. Prepare the walnuts: Crush or chop the walnuts into small pieces.
  4. Add to the instant pot pressure cooker: Add all of the vegetables and nuts to the Instant pot or slow cooker.
  5. Add flavor: Add the remaining ingredients: spices, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, coconut aminos, and liquid smoke.
  6. Cook! For the Instant Pot, seal the instant pot lid, make sure it’s not on “venting”, and set it to the bean/stew setting on high pressure for 20 minutes. Natural pressure release when it’s finished for 10 minutes before switching to a quick release. For the Slow Cooker set it on 4 hours high or 6 hours low. The cook time may be a little longer depending on your crockpot.
  7. Serve: When it’s finished cooking, give it a good stir and serve your bowl of chili over cauliflower rice and garnish with your favorite vegan toppings!

🫙 How to store Instant Pot Vegan Chili:

  • Store this chili in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
  • Reheat it in a pot on the stove until it’s piping hot.
  • You can also freeze it for up to 3 months in and freezer bag or airtight container. Thaw completely before reheating.

🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips

  • Like it spicier? Add some diced chilis or jalapeno peppers for extra heat!
  • Want to make it even lower carb? Use less onion and green pepper instead of red pepper.
  • Meal prep: This is a great recipe for meal prep! Prepare the chili and rice and store the individual portions in airtight containers in the fridge for easy lunches and dinners throughout the week.
Overhead shot of 3 bowls of instant pot vegan chili.

😋 More easy vegan recipes to try

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Overhead shot of a bowl of instant pot vegan chili.

📖 Instant Pot Vegan Chili Recipe

Yield: 8 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This Instant Pot Vegan Chili is so easy to make - either throw it all in an instant pot or a slow cooker. Great for the keto diet or if you're on Whole30!

Ingredients

  • 150g (5oz) walnuts, crushed or chopped
  • 970g (34oz) chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4-5 celery stalks, chopped
  • 800g (28oz) canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 avocado, garnish (optional)
  • dairy free cheese, garnish (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dairy free sour cream or yogurt, garnish (optional)
  • cilantro, garnish (optional)
  • 800g cauliflower rice, to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Chop up all of your veggies: onion, garlic, celery, and bell pepper.
  2. Very finely cut the mushrooms. I've diced them up with a knife before but prefer to use a food processor for this. I pulsed the mushrooms until they were chopped into little pieces. You may need to do a few batches to get through them all.
  3. Crush or chop the walnuts into small pieces.
  4. Add all of the vegetables and nuts to the Instant pot or slow cooker.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients: spices, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, coconut aminos, and liquid smoke.
  6. For the Instant Pot, seal the instant pot lid, make sure it's not on "venting", and set it to the bean/stew setting on high pressure for 20 minutes. Natural pressure release when it’s finished for 10 minutes before switching to a quick release. For the Slow Cooker set it on 4 hours high or 6 hours low. The cook time may be a little longer depending on your crockpot.
  7. When it's finished cooking, give it a good stir and serve your bowl of chili over cauliflower rice and garnish with your favorite vegan toppings!

Notes

  1. Mushrooms: White or brown button mushrooms are great substitutes.
  2. Like it spicier? Add some diced chilis or jalapeno peppers for extra heat!
  3. Want to make it even lower carb? Use less onion and green pepper instead of red pepper.
  4. Meal prep: This is a great recipe for meal prep! Prepare the chili and rice and store the individual portions in airtight containers in the fridge for easy lunches and dinners throughout the week.
  5. Store this chili in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
  6. Reheat it in a pot on the stove until it's piping hot.
  7. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months in and freezer bag or airtight container. Thaw completely before reheating.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 178Total Fat: 12.3gSaturated Fat: 1.2gUnsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 477mgCarbohydrates: 13.9gNet Carbohydrates: 9.7gFiber: 4.2gSugar: 5.3gProtein: 6.4g

Did you make this recipe?

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