Vegetarian Chili

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This is our all-time favorite Vegetarian Chili! It’s hearty, healthy, and delicious, 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!).

Other favorite vegetarian meals: Quinoa Black Bean Salad, Bruschetta Pasta, and Vegetarian Tacos.

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!

Vegetarian Chili seasoning mix You’re probably wondering, without the meat, what actually is in Vegetarian Chili. I’ll break down the ingredients below and then share how to make this recipe!

What’s in  Vegetarian Chili?

  • Lots of veggies: (obviously right?!) While this chili can really handle just about any veggie, I wanted to 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 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 chili requires delicious toppings! We love topping this chili with cheese, sour cream, and fresh lime. Other options: avocado, cilantro, tortilla strips.

Overhead photo of the onion and red peppers being sautéed for Vegetarian Chili.

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

Adding tomatoes and beans to Vegetarian Chili

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 chili last?

Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, Vegetarian Chili will last up to 5 days. It does separate a bit when being stored in the fridge, so 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 meal: Mix all ingredients and place in (a couple of) freezer-safe bags.  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 or containers and freezing. Freeze the bags flat to make defrosting easier. Thaw in the fridge and warm through slowly in a pot over medium-low heat. Do not stir vigorously as you reheat.

Beans and corn being added to the Vegetarian Chili.

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 they should work fine.)

Vegetarian Chili in the Slow Cooker:

  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 quarts or larger) 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 sauté function of your Instant Pot, follow directions in the recipe card to sauté 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 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 it to HIGH pressure using the manual setting. Decrease the time to 7 minutes. It will take about 10-15 minutes for the pot to come to pressure and then the time starts counting down.
  5. Once the 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!

Vegetarian Chili

Serving ideas for Vegetarian Chili:

  • Baked potatoes: Add a few spoonfuls of this chili plus some cheese, green onions, and sour cream.
  • 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 a salad base and dressing 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 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

4.99 from 63 votes
Hearty, healthy, and delicious Vegetarian Chili is packed with good-for-you ingredients and so filling you won't miss the meat! 
Print Recipe

Vegetarian Chili

4.99 from 63 votes
Hearty, healthy, and delicious Vegetarian Chili is packed with good-for-you ingredients and so filling you won't miss the meat! 
Course Main Course, Soup, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword vegetarian chili, vegetarian chili recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 415kcal


  • 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.


  • 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 the 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. 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 must-haves!


Recipe Notes

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

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 1022mg | Fiber: 22g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2104IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 6mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


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.


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 #vegetarian #chili #mealprep #easy #quick #recipe #healthy #soup


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4.99 from 63 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


    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 agree. Im not sure artificial sugar would be for me with this recipe. Not to mention its so chemical.

      1. Hey!
        I wanted to mention that, adding a carrot (whole or in big pieces) is also known to cut the acidity in sauces, if you don’t want to add any sugars or sweetners 🙂

      2. 5 stars
        Chelsea, my chili came out so good! My church we are on a21 day Fast n I remember last year I made a vegetarian chili it wasn’t as good as this. I save this recipe this time. Thanks Happy Cooking
        VB 2024

  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
        Very good recipe. The spice mix is right on this – actually has a bit of heat and is very flavorful. You can sub in whatever beans you like.

    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.

    1. Yay! Thrilled to hear you’ve enjoyed this recipe and the veggie ground sounds like such a great idea! 🙂

  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)

  17. 5 stars
    Had my brother and his vegetarian fiance over for dinner last night and made this and it was an absolute hit with everyone and very filling! The meat was not missed by any of the meat eaters at the table! Served it with some jalapeño cornbread and a simple salad and everyone was very satisfied! I sent them home with leftovers and my boyfriend and I finished off the rest of the pot for dinner to tonight! Will definitely be making this again and doubling the recipe!

  18. 5 stars
    Excellent. The only thing I did differently was one can of black beans and added a can of vegetarian baked beans. Also didn’t use garlic – made with garlic infused olive oil and a little bit of green onion instead of yellow due to my son being sensitive. Made with Nora Cooks vegan cornbread. Great idea to blend some of the chili to thicken up. This gave it the perfect texture.

  19. This recipe looks amazing. I need to eat healthier and this looks like a great choice. I was hesitant about the number of servings as I am only cooking for one. When I went to print the recipe I was so happy to see that I could reduced the number of servings. I set it at 3, which made the measurements workable for us non-metric people. I can’t wait to try it.

  20. 5 stars
    This is my absolute favorite vegetarian chili recipe! It’s always so tasty and delicious. Haven’t made it in months (could not find fire roasted diced tomatoes). Tonight, we celebrate with this great dish!

  21. 5 stars
    Best chili ever!!! We are a lactose free, gluten free and nut free household (allergies 😔) and this is perfect for us. I add some baked cubes of sweet potatoes and my family loves it. Thank you so much.

  22. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I have made twice previously. Shared with a friend in the UK, who also loved it, and I’m now simmering and stirring it as I write this comment. Preparing it for a pandemic Super Bowl party (of two) … my wife and I will enjoy it while watching the game. But this also means we will have awesome leftovers to look forward to during the week. I concur that cheddar cheese and sour cream are mandatory toppings! Thank you for sharing.

  23. 5 stars
    I made this chili and my meat lovin husband LOVED IT! I loved it too and will definitely make it again. Adding some barley to it gave it a bit more thickness but it could have gone without it.

  24. 5 stars
    This has got to be the best vegetarian chili I have ever had! I added some zucchini to it (because I love it with red peppers.) I especially love the pureeing the 1 1/2 cups. That makes it so hearty! The spices were perfect. This is my new chili recipe. I already made it twice and got nothing but compliments!

  25. 5 stars
    Fabulous recipe! I made this last night and my family loved it! Yum! So satisfying and great to know that it’s as healthful as it is delicious!

  26. I know you need ads to make money but there is way too much simultaneous visually yelling video on this site. I copied the recipe to a plain text file.

  27. this recipe has become a winter staple in our house. We have been making it for 3ish years now and look forward to it during the first cold days of the season. Highly, highly recommend!

  28. 5 stars
    I’ve tried many vegetarian chili recipes and this is my favorite! The flavor combination is just perfect.

  29. 5 stars
    I’ve never taken the time to comment or rate a recipe before but I’ve made this chili SO many times since I found the recipe last year! Thanks so much for posting this recipe & im so glad I found it!

  30. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I’ve made it a couple times and it always gets rave reviews. Once cooked on the stove I transfer it to a crockpot to keep warm.

  31. 5 stars
    Hi Chelsea, First of all..this recipe is “AMAZING”. I am a registered dietitian and I just have a question for your serving size. What size are you basing the nutrition label off of is that one cup or less? I am just looking to figure out portion size for diabetic clients. (Thank you!)

    1. Hey Jamie, I am thrilled to hear you love this Vegetarian Chili. I wish I had an exact measurement, my calories are based off of if you split the chili into 8 even bowls! Sorry I can’t be more help! It is one of our favorite, healthy dinners though! Thanks! 🙂

  32. 5 stars
    This is the best vegetarian chili I ever had! I’ve made it a few times, now I added extra vegetables and only added half of the cayenne. I let it sit for 2 days and it was even better than it was after it was freshly made.

  33. I didn’t add the diced chilis and only used 1 tablespoon of chili powder and used regular diced tomatoes, and for me it was still too spicy. Maybe I’m just not a’chili’ person..

  34. 5 stars
    Made this with vegan ground “turkey” that I cooked along with the onions, added cornbread biscuits on top and baked at 425 until the biscuits were done (rather than simmering for 30 min), and didn’t bother with the blending; and honestly, this was the BEST chili I’ve ever had. The flavor is incredible, the spice level was perfect for me but would be very easy to adjust for other palettes, and it was just really quick and easy to make. I’ll never use another chili recipe after finding this one.

    1. Sorry Brenda, I’ve never tested this recipe in the Instant Pot. I’m not entirely sure if it would work or if it would end up being to thick that it wouldn’t come to pressure.

  35. 5 stars
    This was AMAZING! The spices were perfect and by far the best chili I’ve ever had! Every recipe I have made of yours has been delicious and loved by my family and friends! Thanks to you, they think I’m an excellent cook!

  36. 5 stars
    I never make chili but the neighborhood was having a chili cook-off so I used your recipe
    plus a little sugar and I won second place!

  37. 5 stars
    This is my go to vegetarian chili. I’ve made this chili 5 or 6 times. Every time I make it I get rave reviews and I send them to your page. I just made a triple batch tonight for a party tomorrow! The only thing I change is I leave out the sugar- trying to cut out sugar where I can- and I think it still holds up. I love blending 1/2, it creates a fantastic depth. Thank you for a great recipe!

  38. 5 stars
    This is the chili recipe that got my husband to not miss meat chili! (Although i will still make it at times) Fantastic, definitely recommend. In addition I substitute one can of beans with chili beans and i add a can of tomato paste.

    1. I am so thrilled to hear this! And those subs sound delish! So glad you guys are enjoying this Vegetarian Chili! 🙂

  39. 5 stars
    I made this soup with all kidney beans because that’s what I had on hand. I served this with feta, red onion, Greek yogurt and cilantro. It was delicious. The seasoning was spot on and I didn’t need to add any other spices or sauces. Great recipe!

  40. 5 stars
    Wow! Even my toddler loved this chili, it’s delicious! I didn’t blend halfway through and I also added jalapeño along with extra spices to make it hotter. Will be making again soon!

  41. 5 stars
    Spices were absolutely perfect. Saw no reason to put anything in a blender. Great the way it was. I did add 1 tsp. of cocoa powder. Great recipe.

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