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Buffalo Chickpea Chili

5 from 2 votes

Healthy food meets comfort food, with this delicious & homemade buffalo chickpea chili.

chickpea chili

It’s playoff hockey season again, which is one of my favorite times to try out new comfort-food recipes.

This week last year, I first made the Creamy Spinach Tomato Pasta.

And the start of another playoff season seemed like the perfect time to finally try this buffalo chickpea chili.

After all, what could possibly be more perfect for game time than a big bowl of spicy homemade chili?

The completely meatless chili is full of wholesome ingredients, such as carrots, onions, tomatoes, and chickpeas, giving you the perfect excuse to feel less guilty for all the beers and chips that might be consumed alongside!

To show just how easy it is to make, I posted a video below of the process:


Tip: If you have a Trader Joes near you, I like to buy the diced mirepoix vegetables to use in this chili recipe. Not only does it take care of all the chopping, it also doesn’t leave you with a zillion leftover pieces of celery you have no idea how to use.

And any time I don’t have to cut up an onion, my eyes are inordinately grateful for it.

Serving suggestions include sliced avocado, tortilla chips, or Vegan Cornbread.

buffalo chickpea chili

The BEST part about this healthy chili?

Leftovers freeze well, so you can portion extra servings into containers—I use pyrex as opposed to plastic—and freeze for a day when you’re pressed for time but want a home-cooked meal.

The recipe can easily be cooked in a slow cooker, and you can change it up by using different vegetables or trying it with your favorite source of protein. I used kidney beans, but crumbled tofu or tempeh would also work nicely.

This chili recipe is easy to make and can be done in the slow cooker @choccoveredkt

The chili was adapted from my Vegetarian Chili Recipe.

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Buffalo Chickpea Chili

Healthy meets comfort food, with this delicious homemade vegan buffalo chickpea chili recipe.
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 6 – 7 cups
5 from 2 votes


  • 15 oz diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 15 oz chickpeas, cooked or canned
  • 15 oz protein of choice
  • 1 cup chopped or diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • optional 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3-4 tbsp buffalo sauce or hot sauce
  • 4 oz cream cheese, or vegan cream cheese or cashew cream (can be omitted)


  • If you just want regular (non-spicy) chili, simply omit the buffalo sauce. To add a little extra depth of flavor if desired, you can start by sautéing the onion with a little oil or buttery spread for a few minutes. Combine all ingredients in either a medium pot or a slow cooker, and stir well. If cooking on the stove: bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for 35 minutes. If carrots are still too crunchy, cover and cook 10 additional minutes or until vegetables reach desired softness. If using a slow cooker, set to low and cook 6-8 hours. (Time may vary, depending on your slow cooker's size and settings.)
    *Two readers have commented to say this works in the instant pot if you combine all ingredients, set to high pressure manual for 10 minutes, then do a natural release. Thanks to readers Susan and Vicky C for trying the recipe and leaving a comment to let us know how to make it in the instant pot!
    View Nutrition Facts


For dessert, be sure to try these Black Bean Brownies.

Have you made this recipe?

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Published on April 24, 2017

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  1. Aimee says

    dang lady. This looks amazing! I love chili – perfect comfort food for both a chilly day (see what I did there??) OR a summer time cook out. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jessica Kuligowski says

    “it also doesn’t leave you with a zillion leftover pieces of celery you have no idea how to use.”
    What would my parrot and turtles get :P.

    Seriously though, we used to have a vegetarian stand in the mall food court that had buffalo chickpea fritters. They were obviously not health food but still delicious. This reminds me of them.

  3. Amy says

    This looks great, and I know some people would absolutely love this (people who love spicy things, and one who specifically loves buffalo flavor). Is there some way to reduce the sodium? With a 5:1 ratio of sodium:calories per serving, the sodium level is very high (it is recommended to be 1:1, but even 2:1 would be preferable).

    • Jason Sanford says

      If you are used to lower-sodium recipes, you can use no-sodium canned (or fresh) diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, although it might be a little bland. Also I think the calorie database probably added in all the sodium in the cans of beans, but in reality you are draining almost all of that off. So the true numbers are probably much lower in sodium than what is listed.

  4. Susie says

    This recipe sounds so good! I see it serves 7 but how big is one serving? Please excusr me if it was listed somewhere and I spaced it out, lol@

  5. Lisa says

    Are there kidney beans in the picture? I don’t see them in the recipe list. I’m sure it’s a great addition though!

  6. Margo says

    I love this recipe. I always rinse canned beans really well, so that it cuts down on the salt. I’m making this for dinner tonight, as I have everything I need. I plan on serving it with crumbled cornbread.

  7. Dalya Rubin says

    This dish is so up my alley! I can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks for the amazing recipes as always!

  8. Victoria says

    Made this last night (with ground beef) and my picky eater husband even got seconds! It’s quick, easy, and delicious. Thank you!

  9. Laurel says

    I made this last night in the crock put and it was SO GOOD! The 2 vegetarians (older teen and husband) loved it after adding more hot sauce. The younger non-veg teen likes it mild. I loved it hot, as well! Can’t wait to see what it’s like as a leftover–can only imagine the flavor gets better. Thank you!!

  10. Becky says

    This is fantastic. I loved it the first night, and it was even better (Is that possible?) the next day for lunch.

  11. Julie says

    This chili is AMAZING! It is so flavorful, has great texture, and it freezes really well. It has the perfect amount of spice. I used sweet potatoes instead of carrots cuz that’s what I had on hand, and it was absolutely delicious. The buffalo wing sauce is brilliant. It’s even better after it’s been frozen! Thank you!

  12. Sherry Dietrich says


    I made this over the weekend for my weekday work lunch, and I used the kidney beans, Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce 4T., no corn, and used light cream cheese. I also used Trader Joe’s mirepoix, wow, that sure cut out some serious chopping time! But I would cook the mirepoix a little longer before adding everything else, but otherwise, it’s really delicious!!

  13. Sue says

    This was great! I replaced 1/4 tsp. of the paprika with smoked paprika and used Frank’s medium wing sauce. I cooked it in the pressure cooker on the soup/stew setting and it turned out just right. I added the cream cheese after it was cooked because I didn’t know how that would work in the pressure cooker.

  14. Cari says

    Hands down my favorite chili recipe ever! I added a bag of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles for the “protein of choice” and got rave reviews. I love that this freezes beautifully in individual containers for quick meals. Later this week, I’ll be making my 2nd batch this month!

  15. Julie says

    This is absolutely delicious! I can’t get over how good it tastes. I make a big batch and freeze in small portions. It freezes really well. You have to try it!

  16. Tammy Sue says

    I think the WW SmartPoints calculation is for making the recipe without added protein. When I run it through the WW with an added chicken protein and no cream cheese, it comes up much higher than what’s listed in the nutritional info for this recipe.

  17. Sarah says

    +1 for the Instant Pot version! I added diced sweet potato to up the veg. Didn’t have chili powder on hand so I doubled the paprika, cumin, and added a dash of cayenne. As I typically do with my IP soups and stews, I used the saute function to get the mirepoix nice and browned (onion, carrot, celery, and spices) before adding everything else and putting to 10 minutes high pressure. Natural release takes quite a long time for this volume of liquid, but it’ll be worth it. 🙂

  18. Katie (a different one!) says

    I think the Weight Watchers Smart Points should actually be 0. Each of the individual ingredients are 0 point foods (except for the cream cheese).

    • Jason Sanford says

      You’re right! I think Weight Watchers changed to freestyle points after Katie posted this recipe back in 2017, and now beans and chickpeas are free foods on their new freestyle plan. We are changing it, thanks for the heads up!
      Jason (media relations)

    • Jason Sanford says

      Hey! You can find dry beans in most grocery stores. Look in the same section as the rice and dried lentils 🙂

  19. Lisa says

    Another amazing recipe from Katie! This is my ALL TIME favourite chilli recipe – I have made it multiple times and it continues to be my absolute favourite (I’m a fan of chilli in general so I have tried many kinds). I typically add both black beans and lentils to the recipe and have tried adding cooked mushrooms as well. For the carrot, I shred it using my food processor or I occasionally omit as my boyfriend isn’t a fan of carrots.

  20. Henry says

    I made this, as well as the suggested corn muffins, tonight for my mom and I. I subbed kidney beans for chickpeas and for the protein I used a product similar to Beyond ground beef. It was delicious; we both loved it! Good thing, because this recipe makes for quite a few leftovers. I’ll probably end up freezing some. Definitely going to make this again!

  21. Tracy C says

    Buffalo chickpea chilli,
    I like all kinds of chilli and noted you don’t like chopping onions. I’ve honestly found taking the skin off and ends under running water seems to cut down on the instant attack to the eyes and you should be able to chop the rest of it with less bother. Or do what my hubby prefers get someone else to chop it. Lol. Or buy prechopped frozen onions. Or even use a visor?
    I’m slimming with Weight Watchers and keep telling folk to look on your pages for your lovely recipes. We are mainly allowed to eat foods that amount up to 29 points a day, they decrease as you lose weight to help keep you losing of course. Your delicious chickpea chilli is 4 points per serving, according to your nutritional values. Just incase someone ever asks you. Personally I think WW should pay you to point all your recipes and buy your books to sell on their website. 😁 keep up the great work Katie.
    Oh, shoutout to all Katie’s, my lovely WW coach is called Katie too.

  22. Jen says

    We are not vegan in our house, but I can’t eat eggs or dairy, so I find Katie’s recipes to be a good source of inspiration even if I decide to add a bit of meat. I just made this chili for the first time, varying from the recipe some purely based on what I had in my pantry. I used a can of Rotel instead of 15 oz diced tomatoes, an 8 oz jar of El Pato jalapeno tomato sauce (red jar) plus 8 oz of salsa in place of tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of dried northern beans as the extra protein, and 1/2 a box of tofu for the cream cheese. (I blended it with the tomato sauce first.) I also added a bit of vegan pepperjack cheese. It came out quite spicy, but we are ok with that around here! My husband admittedly added a bit of regular cheese and sour cream to his, but he tasted it and declared, “OH! This has a really good balance of spice and flavor!” I think it was the most enthusiastic he’s been about any chili I’ve made in recent memory, so this recipe will be a keeper! Of course, I always just use what I have on hand, so no guarantees I will make it exactly the same next time. For me flexibility in a recipe like this one is a huge win!

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