Simple, yet special, recipes for the home chef.

“Chorizo” & Black Bean Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian "Chorizo" & Black Bean Chili - A hearty and healthy chili made with chorizo-flavored seitan that will fool even the biggest meat lovers! |

In all honesty, I’ve always been confused by meat substitutes. Veggie “bacon,” fake meat crumbles, etc. If you decide to adapt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, why would you want to eat these things? While I’m not a vegetarian, I eat many meatless meals, filling my plate with filling yet substantial foods like lentils, whole grains and mushrooms.

However, I’m not one to completely dismiss a food until I’ve tried it. By happenstance, I came across this article that explains “hippie ingredients” like miso and nutritional yeast, as well as meat substitutes. The author talks about tempeh (a meat substitute), claiming “$10 says you can use it interchangeably in [chili, lasagna or Sloppy Joe’s], and even the most astute meat-eater wouldn’t be able to tell if you spice it properly.” Challenge accepted.

Vegetarian "Chorizo" & Black Bean Chili - A hearty and healthy chili made with chorizo-flavored seitan that will fool even the biggest meat lovers! |

In the name of trying to fool my husband, I trekked to the “hippie” section of my grocery store. While I didn’t find tempeh, I did spot a chorizo-flavored seitan (a high-protein meat substitute made from wheat gluten) with a cute hipster guy on the package, and knew I could turn it into a spicy chili. With a big pot of chili and a very hungry and unsuspecting husband (I simply told him it was “chorizo chili”), dinner was served.

Now, Jeff is a meat lover. He craves steak, owns his own smoker, and smokes at least 5 pounds of meat many weekends. His review of this chili: “That is an outstanding chili. You should be very proud of that.” I actually still haven’t told him the truth until now. Hi honey – I fed you fake meat. And you had no idea.

Vegetarian "Chorizo" & Black Bean Chili - A hearty and healthy chili made with chorizo-flavored seitan that will fool even the biggest meat lovers! |

I think this vegetarian chili would be perfect to serve a mixed crowd of vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike for game day! The vegetarians will enjoy the spicy flavor and textures, and the non-vegetarians won’t be able to tell the difference! Enjoy the game!

Vegetarian "Chorizo" & Black Bean Chili - A hearty and healthy chili made with chorizo-flavored seitan that will fool even the biggest meat lovers! |

"Chorizo" & Black Bean Vegetarian Chili

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) package chorizo-flavored seitan
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt, cilantro, Cheddar cheese and/or tortilla chips, for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat oil in medium saucepot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion; cook 4 to 6 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently.
  2. Add seitan; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned, breaking up seitan with side of spoon and stirring frequently.
  3. Add beans, tomatoes, chiles, stock, chili powder and oregano. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve with desired garnishes.

This recipe originally appeared here on the Naturebox blog.

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52 Responses to ““Chorizo” & Black Bean Vegetarian Chili”

  1. Jennifer Miller — February 2, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I LOVE your picture! This looks delicious!


  2. Julie @ Texan New Yorker — February 2, 2014 at 11:20 am

    This is so interesting!! I very recently have begun to adopt the “VB6” lifestyle, simply because I need to do something and make some changes if I want to combine being healthy with having a career in food. So far I’m loving it, but I will willingly eat veggies, beans and grains, so I don’t feel deprived. But I’ve always felt like you described towards all those hippie meat substitutes. They just don’t look like… food. But if your hubby was completely fooled, then I may have to give it a try. I’m pinning this for future reference. Thanks!


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — February 4th, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

      Thanks Julie! I’ve done VB6 off and on for about a year now, for the same reason as you – to combine being healthy with a career in food. I feel that it’s really easy when I plan ahead and have my fridge stocked with lots of veggies, beans, and cooked grains. It’s harder without the planning, though!


  3. Jennifer Drummond — February 2, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Yum! Looks just amazing!!!! I would love a big bowl!


  4. The Hubs — February 2, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I feel slightly betrayed that it was a meat “substitute” thinly veiled as chorizo. But, it tasted good so I don’t care . . . Bring on the vegan faux-meats!


  5. Tara — February 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    This chili looks so good, I haven’t tried any of the “substitutes, I am under the same thought as you, if you are a vegetarian why would you be looking for something like this. I am also up for a challenge though and like how you think!!


  6. Laura Dembowski — February 2, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I sometimes have to trick my dad when I give him food to eat. Most of the time he never notices. This chili looks wonderful. I get what you mean about why would vegans want to eat things that are supposed to look and/or taste like meat, but I guess everyone’s different. I have a vegan friend who works in a steakhouse!


  7. Betsy Cohen — February 2, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Sometimes it is better NOT to share with meat lovers exactly what makes the dish so delish!!


  8. k — February 2, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I use this often so good and much better then meat


  9. Nichole C — February 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I love chorizo! But we have been doing the Whole 30, and I haven’t found a compliant one yet…though I wonder if I could use your “hippie” brand 😉 This seriously looks great and I love your photos!


  10. Mahdis — February 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I think a key thing for making meals with vegan substitutes is also the quality/label/producer. I’ve tried the Trader Joes Soy Chorizo but it’s definitely not as good as the Upton label (I’ve used their bacon seitan for bacon wrapped dates-amazing). Another thing that I’ve noticed people are really picky on is vegan cheese. Daiya is supposed to be the best kind.

    I’m not vegan at all (total carnivore) but I love having recipes like this saved. When you want to feed a crowd, you need something that everyone will eat and be full from. I love my vegan chili with just veggies but its not as filling as something like this would be.

    Thanks for another great recipe!


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — February 4th, 2014 @ 4:07 pm

      Thanks Mahdis. I agree – Upton’s seems to be a really great label. I may even be interested in trying some of their other products!


  11. Liz — February 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I’m married to a carnivore, too…so good to know this passed the meat-lovers taste test. It sounds wonderful!!!


  12. xanthiagoddess — February 2, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    This looks fantastic, Uptons makes some great seitan.


  13. Renee Dobbs — February 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Awesome way to sneak in vegetarian “meat” to meat-eaters. And you make it look so good.


  14. L.A. Brown — February 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Well, I’ve never purchased any of that “fake meat” or veggie burgers for that matter. But with your recommendation I would give this a try. Really nice photo and great choice or #SS


  15. manusmenu — February 2, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Amazing vegetarian option! I would love to try this!


  16. Kathia Rodriguez — February 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Beautiful picture, delicious recipe, i’m so intrigued about the vegan chorizo.


  17. Christine — February 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Haha, I love the trickery. How soon until he finds out?
    I think some people are vegetarians for reasons that have nothing to do with not liking the taste of meat…environment, cruelty to animals, etc. So, that might explain all of the ‘meaty’ substitutes and such…It’s always fun to experiment with different ingredients though…Was tempeh cheaper than meat? Just curious.


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — February 4th, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

      Oh, he just found out when I posted this post. I told him “you should read my blog post today…I think you’ll find it interesting.”

      I believe the seitan was somewhere in the $3 – $4 dollar range for 8 ounces. So, maybe a little more expensive than beef, but not too bad.


  18. Courtney @ Neighborfood — February 2, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Wow…that is impressive. I’m always nervous to try fake meat on the hubby. He seems to have a finely tuned sensor for the stuff. But maybe this chorizo would fool him. Either way, I know I would love it!


  19. Hezzi-D — February 2, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    We love vegetarian chili and this looks awesome! Great flavors.


  20. Susan Pridmore — February 3, 2014 at 12:18 am

    I absolutely LOVE the back story on this!! I’m a mostly vegetarian and call my husband Carnivorous Maximus. I made a casserole recently that had tofu in it and he STILL doesn’t know it. He thought it was so good. I’ve been reluctant to try seitan, even though people swear it’s good. I’m so glad you posted this. I’m going to try it and look for the Upton’s chorizo seitan. And I’m going to do the exact same thing with my husband. The only difference is that I’m not sure I’ll tell him the truth LOL. You rock it, girl !!


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — February 4th, 2014 @ 4:03 pm

      Good luck, Susan. I think if your husband likes/doesn’t realize he’s eating tofu, seitan might work out even better!


  21. Alice Choi — February 3, 2014 at 8:16 am

    oh my gawd! I LOVE this! I’ve got to find some seitan!! love that you hubby didn’t even realize he wasn’t eating meat! love!!


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — February 4th, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

      Thanks Alice! I made it up to him by making those steak sliders of yours. Nice and MEATY!


  22. Shaina Wizov — February 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Ah I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to try this seiten, but it sounds really interesting! I am really loving all your great vegetarian recipes 🙂


  23. Sarah R — February 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Yum! Wish we could get decent veg chorizo here… need to make my own!


  24. Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious — February 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Your photo is so stunning I want to dive into that bowl!


  25. Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere — February 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Good to know some ‘fake meat’ does what it claims. I’m always skeptical, but it would be interesting to try. I shouldn’t turn down something without trying it! This looks fantastic!


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — February 4th, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

      Haha I hear ya, Sarah. I was sooo skeptical, but it turned out way better than I could have imagined!


  26. Kira - HealthAble Old Soul — February 4, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    It is so nice to have warm food for such a cold day!


  27. Bobbi Renee Hass-Burleson — February 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Haha I love that you faked him out! My man is a die hard meat lover too and if there isn’t meat in a dish he whines and complains. I need to see if I can find this and fake him out too!!


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