Slow cooker TVP chili

This is a delicious and easy chili for the slow cooker. It’s not quite a throw-it-all-in-and-turn-on-the-slow-cooker recipe, but close. The onion & garlic is sauteed first to give the chili extra flavour, and the cumin seeds are toasted. These extra steps don’t take much time, but the end result make them well worth the effort.

For the uninitiated, TVP (textured vegetable protein) is a meat substitute made from defatted soy flour (I realise that does not sound especially appetising, but have faith). It comes in dry form, as either chunks or granules (this chili uses granules). TVP doesn’t have a lot of flavour on its own, but absorbs the flavours of other ingredients. The texture is very similar to mince (ground meat), except much cheaper and healthier. I buy mine from Holland & Barrett, where it’s called “soya protein mince”. You’ll probably want to ensure that the TVP you buy is made from non-genetically modified soybeans. The last time I bought TVP (about a year ago) from H&B, they assured me it was made with non-GM soy, but this may have changed; it’s worth checking before you buy.

Toasting the cumin seeds really brings out the flavour, so don’t skip this step.

Raw red peppers can be substituted for the roasted ones (if you must), in which case saute them with the onion in step one.

If you’re cooking beans from scratch, start with 110g (generous 1/2 cup) of dry beans. You can let Stanley cook them the day before (or overnight), if you like.

There are a couple of tablespoons of Puy (continental) lentils in the chili as well, because… well… lentils *rock* in chili.

Chili is great served with toppings such as spring onions, vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, fresh tomatoes, fresh coriander (cilantro), diced avocado, pickled jalapenos, and so on.

Serve with rice, garlic bread or tortilla chips, and a side salad.

Slow cooker TVP chili

British American
1 tablespoon olive oil (or oil from sundried tomatoes or
roasted peppers)
1 tablespoon
90g onion, diced 3/4 cup
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 3 cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted & lightly crushed* 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon mild paprika 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoon oregano 3/4 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste 3/4 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground peppercorns 1/2 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste 1/8 teaspoon
400g tin chopped tomatoes 14 oz can
400g tin kidney beans, drained & rinsed 14 oz can
(or 1-1/2 cups of cooked kidney beans)
90g roasted red pepper, diced 3/4 cup
45g dry TVP granules 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons Puy lentils (or other lentils) 2 tablespoons
375ml water 1-1/2 cups
Toppings of choice: vegan sour cream, spring onions,
shredded vegan cheese, fresh coriander (cilantro),
chopped fresh tomato, etc.

1. Saute onion in oil for 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and continue to saute for another minute.

2. Add toasted & crushed cumin seeds, paprika, sugar, oregano, salt, pepper and cayenne and mix well. Turn off heat.

3. In slow cooker, combine tomatoes, drained & rinsed kidney beans, roasted red pepper, TVP, lentils, water and sauteed onion mixture.

4. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Makes four servings.

* Toast cumin seeds in a heavy skillet (I use cast iron) over medium heat for a few minutes, until fragrant. Remove to mortar and crush lightly with pestle.

print  Click for printable version


  1. This looks delicious, thanks for sharing the recipe! Happy VeganMoFo!!

  2. Well a happy VeganMoFo to you too, Laura!

  3. Has someone got a new slow cooker by any chance?
    Whenever people ask me what TVP (and seitan) is I always hate telling because you’re right; they sound anything but appetising.
    That Chili looks delightful and is making me hungry – can’t wait for my lunch to be cooked.

  4. Jeni — LOL… not new actually, but not used very often. I love being able to make something earlier in the day, and then having it ready whenever we get around to eating. So I’ll be using the slow cooker a lot more often. Yay!

  5. I love and appreciate the extra effort that you go through on your recipes. Specifically listing the “american” column, I am new to this lifestyle and read many blogs. Yours is exciting and informative. Thank you Mrs. Thrifty.

  6. I made this last night and it was fantastic!! I used a lot more lentils and in addition to the puy lentils I added some tiny black lentils and some regular green ones. I substituted 2 seeded jalepenos for the roasted red peppers and threw in some hot sauce.

  7. I’m not a vegetarian but trying to feed a family on a budget and this is wonderful. Even my meat-loving partner finds it deeply satisfying and hardly notices it’s vegan.
    It’s really nice to have a cracking recipe to impress vegetarian friends and family too!
    Thank you! 🙂

  8. Hello

    I wanted to print out your recipes, and can’t, as your site is locked.

    I was wondering if I could some how print these, again, it’s for my ‘personal’ (home) use only.

    If you could help, I would really appreciate this too.


    • Hi Jacqui — I am working on a printable version of my recipes, these should be available within a few days. I had to lock the content on my website as it was being stolen and reposted without any attribution or link to my site. Hope you understand.

  9. Hi! Do you boil the soya chunks before you put them in slow cooker?

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