Making Chili With No Beans

Beans usually have a starring role in chili recipes, but if you have an allergy or just don’t like beans, you don’t have to skip the chili! There are substitutions for beans that can make a rich, hearty dish full of classic chili taste.


If your chili includes meat like beef or pork, the chili will be protein-rich and low-carb without the beans. In fact, a classic Texas red chili doesn’t contain any beans, just plenty of slow-cooked beef.

Other Legumes

Other legumes can be used in place of beans. The benefits of these are the similar taste and texture. Try red or green lentils or split peas instead of beans for a hearty chili full of fiber.

Texturized Vegetable Protein

This is the perfect option for vegetarians. Texturized vegetable protein is made out of soy, and the texture is really similar to ground beef. In fact, many people can’t tell the difference once it’s been simmered in chili! Include plenty of spices and flavorings to give it a rich taste.

Gluten-Free Grains

There’s a whole family of gluten-free grains that make great bean substitutes because they’re hearty, filling, and will absorb delicious chili sauce. Quinoa, sorghum, rice, and amaranth can all replace beans.


Mushrooms are another excellent vegetarian bean replacement. Portobello mushrooms in particular are thick and absorb flavor from spices and sauces. Dice them up and add them for more texture and a full-bodied chili.

Chuck 'The Chili Guy' Miller

Hey I'm Chuck "The Chili Guy" Miller. Chili is my passion so I have expertly crafted my list of tried and true award worthy chili recipes that will warm your soul. My gift to you from one chili connoisseur to another. - Chuck

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