This vegetarian chili is a blend of colorful vegetables, two types of beans and tomatoes, all simmered together to make a hearty and delicious meal. My vegetable chili is so good that you won’t even miss the meat!
When I’m looking for an easy dinner that the whole family will love, I turn to favorites such as vegetable lasagna, taco casserole and this simple, yet satisfying vegetarian chili.
I try to make sure we eat a meatless dinner at least once a week because it’s healthier and less expensive. This vegetarian chili is a favorite with both kids and adults alike, and is the perfect way to warm up on a cold day.
How do you make vegetarian chili?
Start by cooking onions and bell peppers in a pot until the vegetables are tender. Add garlic, beans, tomatoes, green chilies and vegetable broth to the pot, along with a variety of spices. Let the chili simmer until it’s thick, then stir in corn kernels. Serve immediately, with your choice of toppings.
Tips for the perfect dish
- This is a mild chili. If you prefer a spicy chili, you can use hot chili powder, or add in spice in another form such as hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes.
- Vegetable chili will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, which makes this recipe perfect for meal prep.
- I like to offer a variety of toppings with chili, including shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions, diced tomatoes, tortilla chips and diced avocado.
- This recipe can easily be adapted to the slow cooker. Place all the ingredients in a crock pot, and simmer on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. If you use a slow cooker, you’ll want to reduce the amount of broth by half.
- The secret ingredient in this recipe is the cocoa powder. It does not make the chili sweet at all, but the hint of cocoa complements all of the other spices and really makes this chili special.
Vegetarian Chili Flavor variations
This chili is fabulous as-is, but you can also add other flavors to customize it to your tastes.
- Protein: If you’re not looking for a meatless meal, try adding some ground beef or ground turkey. To keep things vegetarian, stick with a protein such as soy crumbles or soy chorizo or even chopped up veggie burgers.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add extra veggies to the mix such as zucchini, carrots, celery, mushrooms or even kale.
- Beans: I’ve used a blend of black and pinto beans in this dish. You can substitute other types of beans including kidney beans and Great Northern beans.
How can you make chili more flavorful?
If you want a more unique and complex flavor to your chili, you can add any of the following ingredients.
- Beer (instead of the vegetable broth)
- Espresso powder
- Dried chilies such as ancho, chipotle, cascabel or guajillo
- Sweet potatoes
Can you freeze vegetarian chili?
This recipe is a great candidate for the freezer. Place the chili into gallon sized freezer bags or airtight containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use the chili, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat it on the stovetop until it is warmed through.
My family requests this vegetarian chili on a regular basis and I’m always happy to oblige!
More soup recipes you’ll enjoy
Vegetarian Chili Video
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup onion finely diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes do not drain
- 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1` 4 ounce can diced green chilies drained
- 2 15 ounce cans pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh, thawed from frozen or canned
- Toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro and tortilla strips
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
- Add the onions and red bell peppers to the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, pepper, chilies, pinto beans and black beans to the pot. Bring to a simmer.
- Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until chili has thickened.
- Add the corn and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately with toppings of your choice.
Can I do this in the crock pot?
Yes that should be fine!
I made this for a BBQ as an offering for a vegan attendee (used vegetable stock). Not only did she love it, but there was not a single spoon full left, it was the hit of the cookout!! I threw in some chili flakes and it really kicked the spiciness up. This tastes great on a baked potato, or over a bed of rice to really stretch the batch, but there is plenty to go around if just enjoying as a main dish. I cook the peppers and onions as directed, but then everything gets thrown into a crock pot, and it makes up great! I make this at least 2 times a month and hubby loves the leftovers for work.
Can I use water instead of vegetable broth?
I think that would be fine but you may need to add more salt and seasonings!
We just love this chili recipe! it freezes well also!
Enjoyed this for dinner last night and it has easily become a new family favorite meal! So hearty and bold; perfect down to the last bite!
WITH THIS delicious chili, I dont even miss the meat and I’m not vegetarian.Love the flavors you added with the spices. And with the cheese melting into it, this meal will become a weekly addition to the repertoire at home.
Love all the healthy ingredients you are including in the chili! Looks delicious and so easy to make.
Loved this recipe! No one even realized there was no meat til the end, when my husband asked, “hey, did you put beef in that?”. And he was on his second bowl 🙂
This makes such a hearty, satisfying meal especially on chilly days like today! Love all the spices and beans in here. It keeps me full for hours!
This veggie chili was so easy to make and so hearty and flavorful!! Everyone in my family loved this dish – even my two picky kids!
We made this the day you posted and the whole family loved it, even my meat craving hubby!!
Yum! This was incredibly delicious and cozy for a “chili” night at home!
This chili looks amazing! I love that it’s vegetarian too! So much great flavor.
Finally I found a recipe with all the ingredients I love so glad to stumble across this, love vegetarian chili and this is spot on perfect!