Vegetarian Chili

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This is our all time favorite vegetarian chili! Hearty, healthy, and delicious vegetarian chili packed with good-for-you ingredients like vegetables, beans, and the perfect seasoning mix. Make this chili once and repurpose it for healthy meals all week long (great meal prep!)

We’re on a vegetarian kick around here! You’ll have to try some of the other favorite vegetarian meals next: quinoa black bean salad, bruschetta pasta, and vegetarian tacos.

Overhead photo of a bowl of vegetarian chili with spoon in it Flavor Packed Vegetarian Chili

There’s plenty of evidence here on the blog that I’m obsessed with chili and it turns out some of the most popular recipes on my site are chili variations! This taco chili or this crockpot white chicken chili recipe are both majorly popular and today I’m adding another one to your list of “must-makes.” But instead of adding chicken, sausage, or beef, today we’re leaving out the meat. Don’t close your browser just yet, I promise you’re going to love this veggie version and it’s just as filling as the others! 🙂

Overhead photo of the seasoning mix for the vegetarian chili recipe. You’re probably wondering, without the meat, what is actually in a vegetarian chili. I’ll break down the ingredients below and then share how to make this recipe!

What’s in a vegetarian chili?

  • Lots of veggies: (obviously right?!) while this chili can really handle just about any veggie, I wanted to also keep it simple so you can have dinner ready quickly instead of spending hours dicing tons of vegetables. We’re sticking with just onion, garlic, and 1 bell pepper. You’ll also add in corn later.
  • Amazing seasoning mix: this is essentially my same seasoning mix shared on this crockpot chili — it’s simple, delicious, packs the perfect punch of flavors, and is loved by so many of you! I’d rate this chili medium for spice, so feel free to adjust seasonings to spice preference. We also use vegetable stock to add some delicious flavor while still keeping things vegetarian. 
  • Plenty of beans: what makes up the bulk of this chili (and gives you “filling power”) are beans. We use black and pinto beans, but feel free to throw kidney beans into the mix!
  • Tons of toppings: all good chilis require some delicious toppings! We love this vegetarian chili topped with cheese, sour cream, and fresh lime. Other options: avocado, cilantro, tortilla strips, etc.

Overhead photo of the onion and red peppers being sautéed for this vegetarian chili recipe.

Now that we’ve talked ingredients, let’s talk process on making a meatless chili!

Overhead photo of the tomatoes being added to the sautéed and seasoned veggies for this best vegetarian chili recipe.

Vegetarian Chili FAQS

Is this recipe vegan?

Yes! Without the toppings (sour cream or cheese), this chili is vegan!

Is this recipe gluten free?

Short answer – yes. However, some products are made in a facility that is not gluten free. To be 100% safe, check all the ingredient labels to ensure they were processed in a gluten-free environment. 

How long does this vegetarian chili last?

Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, this chili will last up to 5 days. It does separate a bit when being stored in the fridge, just stir it up again and reheat over the stove (medium heat) or in the microwave.

Can you freeze leftover vegetarian chili?

  1. To freeze as a freezer meal: Mix all ingredients and place in (a couple) freezer safe bags. Freeze. When ready to cook, thaw in the fridge overnight and then prepare according to recipe directions
  2. To freeze prepared chili: While you can freeze this chili, it does lose some texture, and flavor. (It is best eaten fresh.) However, if you do want to freeze: let the chili cool completely to room temperature before putting small amounts in freezer safe (and airtight) bags/containers and freezing them. Freeze the bags flat to make defrosting easier. Defrost in the fridge and warm through slowly in a pot over medium low heat. Do not stir vigorously as you reheat.

Overhead photo of the beans and corn being added to the pot for the vegetarian chili recipe.

And last, but not least, here are some alternative cooking methods for this veggie chili: (Please note: these alternate cooking versions have not been personally tested, but what my best guess would be for the different methods).

Vegetarian Chili in the Slow Cooker (Crockpot):

  1. Follow steps 1-3 in the recipe card below and then pick up with these instructions:
  2. Add in the undrained diced tomatoes and use the juices of those tomatoes to deglaze the pan and scrape every bit of goodness from the bottom of it. Transfer to a slow cooker (4 quart or bigger) and add in everything else: drained and rinsed black beans, drained and rinsed pinto beans, frozen corn, vegetable stock, and bay leaf. Stir. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 2 hours.
  3. Remove 1 and 1/2 cups of the chili and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth and then add back to slow cooker and stir to combine.
  4. Add fresh lime and fresh cilantro as desired. Re-season as necessary and serve in individual bowls with favorite toppings!

In the Instant Pot:

  1. Using the saute function of your instant pot, follow directions in recipe card to saute the onion, pepper, garlic, and seasonings.
  2. Add in the undrained diced tomatoes and use the juices of those tomatoes to deglaze the bottom of the instant pot.
  3. Add in everything else: drained and rinsed black beans, drained and rinsed pinto beans, frozen corn, vegetable stock, and bay leaf. Stir. 
  4. Put the lid on the Instant Pot, close the steam vent and set to HIGH pressure using the manual setting. Decrease the time to 7 minutes. (It will take about 10-15 minutes for the instant pot to come to pressure and then the time starts counting down).
  5. Once time is up, wait 5 minutes and then use the quick release valve to release the steam. Stir.
  6. Remove 1 and 1/2 cups of the chili and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth and then add back to slow cooker and stir to combine.
  7. Add fresh lime and fresh cilantro as desired. Re-season as necessary and serve in individual bowls with favorite toppings!

Overhead photo of the completed vegetarian chili. A must have vegetarian chili recipe.

Serving ideas for this vegetarian chili:

  • Baked Potatoes: add a few spoonfuls of this chili plus some cheese, green onions, sour cream, etc.
  • Navajo Tacos: make or buy some fry bread, top with a few spoonfuls of this chili and add some cheese and sour cream.
  • Taco Salad: use this salad base and dressing recipe and add in a few spoonfuls of leftover chili
  • Bread bowl: for some more carbs (because yum) add this chili to a bread bowl!
  • Sides that will pair well with this chili: cornbread, biscuits, or grilled cheese
  • Salad side dishes: this winter fruit salad or this Italian salad

 

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Vegetarian Chili

4.85 from 19 votes
Hearty, healthy, and delicious vegetarian chili packed with good-for-you ingredients and so filling you won't miss the meat! 
Print Recipe

Vegetarian Chili

4.85 from 19 votes
Hearty, healthy, and delicious vegetarian chili packed with good-for-you ingredients and so filling you won't miss the meat! 
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword vegetarian chili, vegetarian chili recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 264kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (reduce depending on garlic sensitivity)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (heaping cup)
  • 2 tablespoons ground chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried (NOT ground) oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: dried basil, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces EACH) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces EACH) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (4 ounces) fire-roasted diced green chiles, optional
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (vegetable broth will work)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Toppings: cheddar cheese, fat free sour cream, avocado, cilantro, chives, tortilla strips, etc.

Instructions

  • Place a large heavy-bottomed pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat. Pour in the olive oil and wait until shimmering, about 20 seconds. Add in the diced onion and stir for 3-4 minutes. Add in the diced pepper and cook these veggies, stirring occasionally, until they are all very tender, about 6-9 minutes. 
  • While the veggies are getting soft, mince the garlic and measure out all your spices, combining them into a small bowl: the chili powder, oregano, cumin, dried basil, salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, pepper, and sugar. Stir together and set aside until onion/pepper are tender.
  • Add in the garlic and all the seasonings you've already measured and set aside. Cook, stirring constantly, until the seasonings and garlic are fragrant, about 45 seconds - 1 minute. Be careful to not burn.
  • Carefully add in the UNDRAINED diced tomatoes (they might sizzle splatter up a bit) and stir. Add in the drained and rinsed black beans, drained and rinsed pinto beans, chiles (if desired), frozen corn, and vegetable stock. Add in the bay leaf.
  • Stir to combine everything. Reduce the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer, and stir occasionally, for 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove 1 and 1/2 cups of the chili and transfer to a blender. To avoid a mess, remove your blender lid's center insert and hold a kitchen towel firmly over the top. Ensure the lid is securely fashioned and blend while holding the towel. Once smooth, pour this mixture back into your chili. Stir to combine.
  • Add fresh lime and fresh cilantro as desired. Season to taste (I always add in a little bit more salt & pepper). Garnish individual bowls with everyone's favorite toppings. For us, sour cream and cheddar cheese are a must have!

Video

Recipe Notes

Spiciness: Depending on the actual spices you are using (some brands are hotter/more mild than others) you might want to scale up or down on spices in this chili. 

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 264kcal

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Nutrition facts for vegetarian chili.

This is our all time favorite vegetarian chili! Hearty, healthy, and delicious vegetarian chili packed with good-for-you ingredients like vegetables, beans, and the perfect seasoning mix. Make this chili once and repurpose it for healthy meals all week long (great meal prep!) via chelseasmessyapron.com #vegetarian #chili #mealprep #easy #quick #recipe #healthy #soup
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Recipe Rating




48 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      We are vegans, we are also oil free, sugar free, and salt free. I substituted sugar for sweet and low, half the pack, and sautéed onions and red pepper in vegetable broth. This recipe was outstanding. The only problem I had was we didn’t triple it. Used the instant pot.

  1. 5 stars
    I was skeptical but this truly is the BEST Vegetarian chili recipe out there. I added fresh parsley, chives, and green onion, and topped with avocado. I’m in HEAVEN!

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Blending a portion and adding it back in made all the difference. It was super easy and delicious! I will be making it again

  3. Thank you Chelsea for this recipe! This is some of the best chili I’ve ever made and I didn’t miss the meat at all. I adjusted the amount of sugar, chili powder, and olive oil (I used a tad bit more) & I cooked in the lime juice. This chili was absolutely delicious and I wish that I made more!

    1. 5 stars
      A family favorite! This recipe contains all the right spices and scrumptious flavors to make your taste buds holla! 5 stars for “deliciousness”

  4. I just made this for my family and it is the best vegetarian chili I have yet to make! I usually make a game day chili which my family loves! We recently went vegetarian and was having a hard time finding a hearty veggie chili that is packed with flavor! This is going on rotation! Family loved it! Thank you soooo much

  5. 5 stars
    I made this chili about 2 weeks ago and it was absolutely AMAZING. I’m making it again today. Thank you for such an awesome recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    Made this last night. Delicious!!! I only had a green pepper so I used that. Didn’t have basil on hand either but had everything else. It was a hit in our home of 6. Saving this for next chili night. Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    Wow! I’ve tried tons of chili recipes over the years and this is right up there in the top two or three. I replaced 1 TB of the chili powder with Mexican chili powder and to kick it up a notch. Perfect!

  8. 5 stars
    I love chili. I am so glad that I found your recipe when looking for a vegan version. It is delicious and satisfying. It freezes very well.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this this evening and it is super good – I added a jalapeño because I like it spicy, but other than that I followed the recipe. My husband who always wants meat in everything had two bowls of it and didn’t miss the meat at all – believe me, that was amazing. I will definitely be making this again!

  10. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight with just two changes. I did not use the optional chiles and I added a dice zucchini as the onions and red peppers cooked. This was absolutely delicious. My family loved it. It will become a new go-to recipe for me. Thank you so much!!! I have already shared this link with some foodie friends of mine.

    1. So happy to hear this will be a new go-to recipe 🙂 Thrilled it was a hit for you Nancy, thanks for the comment and review!

  11. 5 stars
    I rarely ever post comments but I could not pass up the chance to give feedback on this amazing recipe. My family has been eating plant-based meals for about 2 years now and I have to say, this is not only the best vegan chili I have ever made, but it is now one of my favorite “go to” recipes because everyone loves it My boys don’t even ask where the meat is!!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. Blessings!????

  12. 5 stars
    Great recipe. We added more tomatoes and bean because we love them. Also added maybe 2 cups of chopped fresh green beans and 2 poblanos because I had them to use up. Versatile recipe you can easily add or delete as needed. Easy to freeze for future meals. Topped ours with diced avocado, minced red onion, grew onions, vegan sour cream, vegan cheese and oyster crackers.

  13. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! It’s super tasty! I’ve tried it with different combinations of beans and it’s always great. I also like to add some veggie ground to simulate the ground beef texture and throw in whatever veggies I have to use up in my fridge.

  14. 5 stars
    Love this recipe for adding more plant-based meals to our diet. It’s a regular in the rotation because it’s tasty, quick, and easy to adjust to what we have on hand/using up leftover veggies. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m so happy this has made it into your regular dinner rotation! So glad you guys love this Vegetarian Chili. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    This was so good!!! Loved the spice that chilies added and I’ll definitely be making this again soon. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  16. 4 stars
    It was a brilliant idea to pulse some of the batch to replicate the texture of a meat chili. I halved the recipe. I omitted the corn,lime, and sugar. I added crumbled portabella mushrooms 8oz and barley 1 cup cooked. I would make again but half the salt and add the lime.

    1. I’m sorry I can’t give an exact recommendation without personally testing, but I’d probably use crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce

      1. I ended up adding a stalk of celery and leaving out the tomatoes, instead added 8oz can of tomato sauce. It was amazing!!! So good. Thank you for sharing your recipe!!

    1. I don’t have end servings measured out into cups, sorry! You’ll want to equally separate the entire chili into 6 or 8 equal parts; one part is one serving for which the macros apply to. Hope that helps! (Calories are written for 8 equal portions)

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