This plant-based chili from Gardein comes in two versions, one with beans and one without. Pictured below, and reviewed here, the No Bean version. The product relies on Gardein’s Be’f product which is found in a number of their composed dishes, this pot pie from Marie Calendar’s for example.
Cooking: This is essentially a heat and serve product. Simmer in the pan or microwave and you’re good to go.
Taste and texture: As you can see in the pictures below, the raw product is somewhat visually unappealing. It has a thick and gummy texture out of the can, and to be brutally honest, is reminiscent of dog food. Cooked, the product is materially unchanged.
Considering the chili is based on the Be’f product from Gardein, the cooked texture is surprisingly not too chewy. The flavor is decent if not a little flat, it’s that basic cumin-chili profile you’re probably craving. In fairness, this blank slate gives you some room to doctor to your own tastes, be that some more lime zing, or fire from hot sauce.
Overall: Despite the unappealing appearance this is a very good meat free chili. In the pictures below, I’ve used it as a topping for hasselback potatoes with pico de gallo, chives and sour cream.
Gardein Plant-Based Chili nutrition and cooking
Is Gardein Plant-Based Chili any good?
This is one of the better meat free chili products you can buy; two versions are available, with and without beans.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC – Utah’s biggest and oldest online food magazine; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. I started Shop Smart to catalogue my adventures in the grocery store and kitchen. Follow along on Instagram too!