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Vegetarian Chili

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overhead shot of a bowl of Vegetarian Chili topped with sour cream and shredded cheese then placed on a plate of tortilla chips
This flavorful and hearty vegetarian chili boasts rich, hearty flavors with the perfect blend of spices, veggies, tomatoes, and beans. Your family will love this quick and easy dinner idea!
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Table of Contents
  1. Vegetarian Chili Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Vegetarian Chili Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This delicious vegetarian chili is a simple and quick spin on grandma’s old-fashioned chili recipe with all the flavor but none of the meat! Plenty of veggies, spices, and beans are featured in this homemade comfort food favorite that is ready in just half an hour and perfect for a cold day.

Two more delicious vegetarian recipes that we like are broccoli and cheddar potato skins and sticky sesame cauliflower.

overhead shot of a bowl of Vegetarian Chili topped with sour cream and shredded cheese then placed on a plate of tortilla chips

Vegetarian Chili Ingredients

Vegetarian Chili raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, small diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, small diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup canned yellow corn, drained (or thawed from frozen)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (10-ounce) can original Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (16-ounce) can mild chili beans in sauce (do not drain)
  • Optional garnish – sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, corn chips

PRO TIP:

This is a very quick and easy vegetarian chili that you can adjust the vegetables to your liking. You can also adjust the types of beans used as well. I do however highly suggest keeping the chili beans in the sauce because they add great flavor and a thickness to the chili broth that would be lacking if you omitted them.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

VEGGIES: You could add celery, carrots, parsnip, sweet potato, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli florets, green bell peppers, or scallions to this meatless chili. If you love spicy food, you could add diced jalapeño peppers or green chile peppers. 

BEANS: You could also add different beans including garbanzo beans, pinto beans, lima beans, cannellini, white beans, or great Northern.

GRAINS: You could add quinoa, farro, barley, lentils, or rice to this delicious chili. 

SPICE: This vegetarian chili has a nice heat level from the original Rotel tomatoes & green chilies along with the chili beans. You can either decrease the amount of heat by using a mild version of the Rotel or even substituting them all together for a can of regular diced tomatoes. You can also increase the heat level by substituting a hot version of the Rotel or even adding red pepper flakes according to your desired level of heat.

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How To Make This Vegetarian Chili Recipe

STEP ONE: In a large stockpot, on medium-high heat, sauté the onions, diced red bell peppers, and garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until tender.

Vegetarian Chili process shot of vegetables being cooked in a pot

STEP TWO: Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf. Mix to coat all the vegetables in the spices and sauté for another minute.

Vegetarian Chili process shot of seasonings added to the vegetables

STEP THREE: Add the vegetable broth, tomato sauce, corn, Rotel tomatoes, drained kidney beans, drained black beans, and the chili beans with sauce to the stockpot. Stir to combine.

PRO TIP:

We recommend draining the liquid from the kidney beans because it can be a ‘not so nice’ liquid depending on the brand used. This is a standard suggestion when using canned beans. The chili beans are fine in the liquid because it is a flavored sauce.

Vegetarian Chili process shot of ingredients being added to the pot

STEP FOUR: Bring the vegetarian chili mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

STEP FIVE: Once the chili has cooked, remove the bay leaf and turn off the heat.

STEP SIX: Remove 1 cup of the chili and puree it on medium speed in a blender, or food processor, until creamy and smooth making sure to follow your blender’s instructions for blending hot liquids. Add the pureed chili back into the pot and stir to incorporate it fully. This makes your chili rich and thick. You can omit this step if desired.

PRO TIP:

This vegetarian chili would be great garnished with your favorite toppings including a dollop of sour cream, green onions, a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, and a handful of corn chips. All of these or just one will make a great addition to your bowl of veggie chili.

How To Serve

Top your veggie chili with cheese, sour cream, and avocado. You could also serve it with fresh limes, cilantro, or green onion. Serve this easy vegetarian chili recipe with tortilla chips, saltine crackers, cheese biscuits, and homemade cornbread on the side. My grandma’s beer bread is another mealtime favorite! 

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: This hearty chili can be served immediately or it can be made ahead and stored, in a covered container, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Make sure you allow it to cool completely on the counter before putting it into the refrigerator.

IN THE FREEZER: It’s a great option to freeze in an airtight container for 2 to 3 months. I love using reusable plastic containers or pouring the chili into a freezer-safe bag so it can freeze flat for easy storage and extra space inside the freezer. 

REHEATING: If you are reheating your chili from the refrigerator, you can place all of it back into a large stockpot and warm up on medium-low heat. You may want to add an additional ½ to 1 cup vegetable broth to loosen up the chili if needed. You can also heat up single servings as well.

close up shot of a pot of Vegetarian Chili with a wooden spoon

Hearty, filling, and flavorful, this easy homemade vegetarian chili is a delicious option when you’re craving comfort food. Like the traditional counterpart, this veggie-packed version boasts veggies, beans, and spices for a tasty and simple dinner. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use different kinds of beans in this recipe?

This great recipe is flexible enough to allow you to substitute any type of beans you’d like.

How do I store leftover chili?

Veggie chili can be stored in the fridge for up to four days and in the freezer for three months in an airtight container or freezer bag.

Can I make this recipe in the slow cooker?

After sautéeing the onion, garlic, and red pepper, you can add all the ingredients to your crockpot and simmer for 2-3 hours until everything is heated and softened.

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overhead shot of a bowl of Vegetarian Chili topped with sour cream and shredded cheese then placed on a plate of tortilla chips

Vegetarian Chili

5 from 1 vote
This flavorful and hearty vegetarian chili boasts rich, hearty flavors with the perfect blend of spices, veggies, tomatoes, and beans. Your family will love this quick and easy dinner idea!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup small onion, diced
  • 1 cup small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup canned yellow corn, drained (or thawed from frozen)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 10 ounces original Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 15 ounces kidney beans, drained
  • 16 ounces black beans, drained
  • 16 ounces mild chili beans in sauce, do not drain
  • sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, corn chips optional garnish

Instructions
 

  • In a large stockpot, on medium-high heat, sauté the onions, red bell pepper, and garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until tender.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf. Mix to coat all the vegetables in the spices and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the vegetable broth, tomato sauce, corn, Rotel tomatoes, drained kidney beans, drained black beans, and the chili beans with sauce to the stockpot. Stir to combine.
  • Bring the vegetarian chili mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Once the chili has cooked, remove the bay leaf and turn off the heat.
  • Remove 1 cup of the chili and puree it on medium speed in a blender, or food processor, until creamy and smooth making sure to follow your blender's instructions for blending hot liquids. Add the pureed chili back into the pot and stir to incorporate it fully. This makes your chili rich and thick. You can omit this step if desired.

Notes

  • This is a very quick and easy vegetarian chili that you can adjust the vegetables to your liking. You can also adjust the types of beans used as well. I do however highly suggest keeping the chili beans in the sauce because they add great flavor and a thickness to the chili broth that would be lacking if you omitted them.
  • We recommend draining the liquid from the kidney beans because it can be a ‘not so nice’ liquid depending on the brand used. This is a standard suggestion when using canned beans. The chili beans are fine in the liquid because it is a flavored sauce.
  • This vegetarian chili would be great garnished with your favorite toppings including a dollop of sour cream, green onions, a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, and a handful of corn chips. All of these or just one will make a great addition to your bowl of veggie chili.

Nutrition

Sodium: 476mg | Calcium: 25mg | Vitamin C: 26mg | Vitamin A: 1375IU | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 2g | Potassium: 155mg | Calories: 71kcal | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Fat: 4g | Protein: 1g | Carbohydrates: 8g | Iron: 1mg
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