Hearty Vegan Mushroom Bulgur Bean Chili
4.45 from 9 votes

This hearty vegan mushroom bulgur bean chili is a one-pot comfort food dish that’s packed with plant protein and nutrient-dense ingredients. It’s great for feeding a crowd, and it’s a perfect vegan recipe for meal prep.

A close-up, overhead image of a bowl of hearty vegan mushroom bulgur bean chili. The red chili is topped with avocado slices and crumbled corn chips.

There’s nothing I love more than to make a giant pot of chili over the weekend. It’s a fun Sunday ritual, especially in cold weather. And I’m always happy to have tons of leftovers for freezing and my weekly meal prep.

I’m not great about varying my chili ingredients. I’ve relied on my chick’n bean chili for years. Although it’s a delicious and easy recipe, I could stand to branch out and try new things. Variety is the spice of life, right? It’s also the cornerstone of a healthful diet.

This vegan mushroom bulgur bean chili is one of those “use up what you have” recipes that surprised me with its tastiness and hearty texture. In spite of the fact that mushrooms are a common ingredient in vegan cooking, I really don’t cook with them as often as I could. This is a shame, as they’re both super nutritious and also have a “meaty” texture that works well for making filling dishes of food.

The real star of this recipe, though, is the bulgur wheat. It thickens the chili and is the base ingredient that holds everything together.

What is bulgur?

Bulgur is a grain that’s made from cracked wheat. It’s traditionally used in tabbouleh and other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. I love using it in grain salads including my sweet potato bulgur citrus salad and my lemony bulgur chickpea salad.

Bulgur is parboiled, then dried before packaging and selling. This means that the grain cooks relatively quickly in comparison to other forms of wheat, such as wheat berries. It has a pleasantly chewy texture—think of something that’s about the size of quinoa, but denser and with more spring.

Bulgur is also nutritious. It’s got about 5-6 grams of plant protein per serving, as well as a significant amount of dietary fiber. It’s a good source of iron, and it provides B-vitamins, including folate, vitamin B-6, and niacin.

I usually cook bulgar with two parts water and one part grain. I bring it to a boil, simmer for about 12-15 minutes, fluff with a fork, and allow it to cool. If there’s any liquid left after simmering, I just drain it off before serving or storing the bulgur.

For this bulgur bean chili, though, the bulgur is added to a big pot of simmering ingredients. You won’t need to drain or fluff the grain. The first time I made this recipe, I was surprised at how well bulgur thickens the chili, lending it a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs quality.

Is bulgur gluten-free?

Bulgur is a form of wheat, so it isn’t suitable for gluten-free diets. If you avoid gluten, you can replace the bulgur in this recipe with quinoa.

An angled photograph of a cream colored and light brown bowl. It's filled with a bulgur and bean chili that has been garnished with avocado slices, corn chips, and green herbs.

Bulgur bean chili ingredients

A few plant-based foods come together to make this bulgur bean chili as substantial as it is.


A thickener, protein sources, and a complex carb for sustained energy. Replace the bulgur with quinoa for a gluten-free variation of the recipe.


I use regular old white button mushrooms in the bulgur bean chili. Nothing fancy. If you have a different mushroom that you love to cook with, such as cremini, portobello, or shiitake, feel free to make a replacement. I have a hard time keeping track of mushroom varieties and am not an expert, but this is a pretty good primer.


You’ll need one and a half cups of cooked beans for the recipe, which is about a standard-sized can in the US. I really like to use red kidney beans in this recipe, but you could also use black beans, pinto beans, or chickpeas if you prefer.


Tomatoes create a flavorful, umami-rich base for the chili. You’ll need a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes here. I like to use fire-roasted, diced tomatoes for their depth of flavor.

Vegetable add-ins

You can make the bulgur bean chili more nutritious and even more filling by adding at least two cups of your favorite chopped vegetables.

Feel free to get creative and use what you have here! Some options include:

  • Chopped leafy greens (I like collards or kale)
  • Corn kernels (I use frozen and thawed and toss them right into the chili)
  • Chopped broccoli or cauliflower florets
  • Diced zucchini or summer squash
  • Chopped green beans
  • Diced butternut squash

I usually make this chili with the first two options, leafy greens and corn.


One of the best things about eating chili is the endless variety of toppings, right?

You can make the bulgur bean chili as fully loaded as you’d like it to be. I love to top it with any combination of the following:

Freezing and storing bulgur bean chili

I love the bulgur bean chili because it creates so. many. leftovers.

This is an excellent chili for meal prepping over the weekend and enjoying as the week goes by. The chili will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to six weeks, either in a large portion or in smaller, single-serve portions.

More vegan chili recipes

Hunkering down for a long winter? Exploring a vegan meal prep routine? Just a hardcore chili lover? Here are some of my other favorite vegan chili recipes to keep you warm and satisfied.

A white, round serving bowl holds a portion of a hearty vegan bulgur bean chili. It's topped with corn chips and avocado slices.
A close-up, overhead image of a bowl of hearty vegan mushroom bulgur bean chili. The red chili is topped with avocado slices and crumbled corn chips.
4.45 from 9 votes

Mushroom Bulgur Bean Chili

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 6


  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 pound cleaned and sliced mushrooms of choice (I like button, baby bella, or shiitake)
  • 2/3 cup bulgur wheat (substitute quinoa for a gluten-free version)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney, pinto, or black beans (1 14.5-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
  • 3 cups fire-roasted, diced tomatoes (1 28-ounce can)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt (more to taste)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or vegan no-chicken broth
  • 2 cups diced/chopped frozen or fresh vegetable add-ins of choice (I like 1 cup frozen chopped collards and 1 cup frozen yellow corn kernels, defrosted according to package instructions)
  • For topping: chopped green onion tops, diced or sliced avocado, crumbled corn chips, crumbled tempeh bacon, etc. (see above for more Ideas)


  • Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large pot. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion, pepper, green onion, and mushrooms. Cook the vegetables, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender and have released their juices (12-15 minutes).
  • Add the bulgur, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, smoked paprika, dried mustard, cumin, salt, and broth to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the bulgur (or quinoa) is cooked through. If adding vegetables, uncover the pot and add them after 10 minutes. Taste the chili and adjust salt as needed. Serve, with corn chips, avocado, chopped green onion tops, or any other toppings you enjoy!
A white serving bowl rests on a white surface. It's holding the contents of a vegan bulgur bean chili, topped with avocado and fresh green herbs.

This recipe is a great reminder that whole grains aren’t just great candidates for bowls, breakfasts, or grain salads. They are also an inexpensive, wholesome, fiber-filled way to add texture and heartiness to all of your favorite soups and stews. I hope that this bulgur bean chili will keep you warm on a chilly evening soon!


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Categories: Recipes, Soups, Stews
Method: One Pot, Stovetop
Ingredients: Black Beans
Dietary Preferences: Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep, Quick & Easy

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    My husband and I both absolutely loved this recipe! I added corn but no greens, and otherwise made it just as written. It’s so flavorful, and will become a staple recipe for us, for sure. Yum. (Also, my first time using bulgur!)

  2. 4 stars
    Very solid chili recipe and it comes together really quickly. Unfortunately I only had 8 oz of mushrooms (the other 8 oz went bad in my fridge (That will teach me to buy the pre-cut/washed shrooms!). but it was still really good. I added in corn and chopped baby spinach for my veggies and I topped it with avocado, scallions, and cilantro. I also made a sort of poor man’s crema out of plain cashew yogurt and vegan mayo that was surprisingly good mixed in with the chili.