One-Eyed Jack’s Vegan Chili

One-Eyed Jack’s Vegan Chili is so delicious and hearty that you’ll swear there is meat in it. But no, there’s not one iota.

one-eyed jack's vegan chili

I think it was 1994 when I first made this chili. We were trying to cut cholesterol so were doing vegetarian cooking and eating as much of that type food as possible. But you have to understand, I am a die-hard carnivore. And I love chili.

I don’t want any vegans who come in here looking at the recipe to become offended because I eat meat. I did try as hard as I could to stay off it in those years. But I have to be honest and say I never ate anything vegan for ethical reasons. So please. Don’t send me hate mail. I did try.

But even though I eat meat now doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy vegan food or look at it cross-eyed.

This chili I developed, because in those days, the usual thing was to make any recipe without meat to closely resemble it’s meat-filled version as much as possible. And you know, people who do enjoy meaty foods and eat vegan for health reasons will do better sticking to this type of recipe rather than removing the texture or thought of meat from a recipe altogether. And when eating more vegan foods, I discovered new uses for bulgur wheat, which is the cornerstone of this chili. I find that when it cooks, it kind of looks like ground beef crumbles in there, and if it is not overcooked, can have a chewy, meaty texture. This can be a recipe to serve to friends who usually enjoy meat although you don’t prepare that.

I think a spread of this chili on game day with some veggie burgers will be the ultimate winner. I do hope you give this a try and enjoy, no matter if you eat vegan for ethic or health reasons or just like a good bowl of chili. Because it is good. Just ask Jack. And let me tell you about Jack…


One-Eyed Jack, notorious gunslinger in his youth, was so bad at hunting that he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, much less a buffalo, to have meat for his chili. So he just relented and became a vegan in his older days. People might say he was the roughest, toughest, meanest coyote in the west, but I suspect he was really soft at heart and didn’t want to hurt any animal at all. He may have been the original member of the current vegan movement.

One-Eyed Jack’s Vegan Chili


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 28 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 16 ounces crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces chopped green chillies
  • 32 ounces vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 4 cups cooked beans: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc.


  1. In a dutch oven heat oil and add garlic and onion; cook until onions are soft, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, chopped green chillies, vegetable broth, remaining spices, and bulgur.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally,  for 30 minutes.
  4. Add beans to the mixture and continue to cook for another 15-25 minutes or until bulgur is tender.

one-eyed jack's vegan chili

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