bowl of chili with bread on narrow board placed on warm rug with text: Super Vegetarian Chili Recipe for Couch Potatoes

Super Vegetarian Chili Recipe for Couch Potatoes

This may not be a revelation to some readers, but soybeans taste good. And, if I say so myself, my new soy-soy vegetarian chili recipe is divine! It certainly went down well with my bunch of coach potatoes.

These days, ‘experts’ have mixed opinions about the benefits of soy but there’s no getting away from the fact that soybeans are high in fiber and protein. The Chinese have been eating soy foods for more than 5,000 years. 

Yes, I know I am a decade behind on this soybean subject, but with all the health scares about eating meat, I was inspired to do some experimenting with soybean chili for my family of TV-watching couch potatoes.

This is the first time I’ve ever made vegetarian chili with dried soybeans. And the first time I’ve tried textured vegetable protein (TVP) in anything. It is very bland, but does have a meaty texture when reconstituted, and I like it.

The length of time it took the soybeans to get “done” surprised me, so you might want to consider canned soybeans as a shortcut for Step 1.

Here’s my Super Vegetarian Chili Recipe for Couch Potatoes

Erin’s Soy-Soy Vegetarian Chili

Serves: A crowd! (Leftovers can be frozen.)


  • 1-1/2 lbs dried soybeans
  • 1 cup dry textured vegetable protein (TVP), reconstituted with 1 cup hot soybean liquid+
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced (divided)
  • 4-6 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1 large (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes with sauce
  • 1 small (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano*
  • 2 teaspoons salt*
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin*
  • Olive oil


  • Grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa


Step 1

Rinse and sort soybeans, then soak in water (twice as deep as soybeans) overnight.

Drain, rinse and transfer to large (5-6 quart) crockpot set on High. Add water twice as deep as soybeans and cook for 4 hours on low.

Ladle out hot liquid, keeping about a cup in the bottom of crockpot and reserving the balance in a large bowl in case more moisture is needed as the chili cooks.

Step 2

Reconstitute TVP with one cup of hot soybean liquid and set aside.

Saute all the green pepper and half the onion in some olive oil until soft.

Add crushed garlic.

Add reconstituted TVP and stir so it absorbs any flavors of the mixture and extra oil.

Set aside for a moment.

Pour crushed tomatoes over soybeans in the crockpot. Fold in tomato paste, TVP mixture, Roma tomatoes, rest of raw onion, and all of the spices. Mix well. Cook on High for another 8-10 hours until soybeans are soft.

Serve vege chili with grated cheese and sour cream, if desired, and/or splash of your favorite hot salsa.

Optional: Tortilla chips or cornbread.

+You can wimp out and substitute 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey, browned and skimmed of fat, but where’s the adventure in that?

*My favorite trick to release the flavor of spices is to quickly “powderize” them all together in a small coffee grinder that I keep for this purpose. The powderized blend is more flavorful and mixes easily into sauces, soups or gravies.

Your vegetarian chili will undoubtedly come out differently from mine but it’s sure to still go down a treat. My couch potatoes REALLY like it – especially my husband – he said so twice!

Happy cookbooking,


About Erin Miller

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Posted in Recipes & Cooking Advice.

One Comment

  1. Cooking beans in tomato paste toughens their skin so that they will not become tender regardless of how long they are cooked.

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