Vegetarian Chili


See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.


This Vegetarian Chili is thick and hearty, with plenty of flavor, healthy veggies and beans. It’s easy to make and perfect for warming up on a chilly day!

chili topped with sour cream, cheese and avocado with crackers on the side

My love for chili runs deep. There’s nothing more inviting than a kitchen filled with the savory aromas of a pot of chili simmering on the stove.

With today’s recipe, instead of making chili with beef, turkey or chicken, we’re filling our bowls with nutritious vegetables and beans for the ultimate hearty and healthy chili.

This vegetarian chili is full-flavored and so satisfying. Like my Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili, Vegetarian Chili Mac and Instant Pot Lentil Chili, this homemade chili recipe is one of our favorite vegetarian recipes.

This delicious chili recipe is easy to make. The ingredients are simple, yet they come together to create a meal that’s both nourishing and crave-worthy.

Vegetarian Chili Recipe Ingredients

ingredients for vegetarian chili

Here are the ingredients that I use in my best vegetarian chili recipe. You can switch up the veggies and other ingredients in the recipe to use what you have in your kitchen. I’ve given some suggestions below. 

  • Olive Oil: The vegetables are sautéed in olive oil, creating a delicious base layer of flavor. 
  • Red Onion & Garlic: I love the flavor of red onion in this vegetarian chili. Yellow onion also works well. 
  • Carrots & Bell Pepper: It is important to chop the carrots into very small pieces, so that they will become tender as the chili cooks. The carrot pieces should be no larger than 1/4-inch. I find that using one red and one yellow bell pepper brings beautiful color to the chili, but you can use a green bell pepper or orange bell pepper.
  • Vegetable Broth: I recommend using a low sodium vegetable broth so that you can control the amount of salt in the finished dish.
  • Spices & Seasonings: I’ve seasoned this vegetarian chili with chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, salt and pepper. The chili is just a little spicy as written. For a milder chili, reduce the amount of chili powder. For a spicier chili, add a small amount of cayenne pepper, to taste. Be careful as a little cayenne goes a long way. You could also add smoked paprika for a delicious smoky flavor. 
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste adds rich tomato flavor and also helps to thicken the chili. 
  • Diced Tomatoes: For extra flavor, try using fire roasted diced tomatoes. 
  • Black Beans & Kidney Beans: Pinto beans also work well in this recipe.
  • Frozen Corn: You do not need to thaw the frozen corn before adding it to the chili. You can substitute canned corn if you prefer.

How to Make Vegetarian Chili

Here’s an overview of the steps to making this recipe. You’ll find the full ingredients and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other pot.
  2. Add the onion, carrots and bell peppers. Sauté until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. red onion, carrots and bell peppers in a dutch oven pot
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot: vegetable broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, beans, corn and the seasonings. Stir. adding spices to pot with other ingredients
  4. Simmer the chili over low heat, stirring it occasionally, until the carrots are tender. This will take between 35-45 minutes. If the chili reaches your desired thickness before the carrots are tender, cover the pot for the remaining cook time.

What to Serve with Vegetarian Chili

The best part of making chili is that you get to top your bowl with your favorite toppings! Some classic chili toppings include sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheese (such as cheddar cheese or Monterey jack), avocado, fresh cilantro, crumbled tortilla chips and chopped red onion. 

On the side, I like to serve cornbread or more tortilla chips for scooping. If you want to add a salad to the meal, this kale avocado salad and green salad are both good options.

two bowls of chili with toppings next to pot of chili

Is this Chili Vegan?

This is a vegan chili recipe. Be sure to serve your chili with vegan-friendly toppings to keep the meal vegan. This vegetarian chili is also gluten-free.

Other Vegetables to Use in Veggie Chili

This vegetarian chili recipe is easily adaptable to other veggies that you may have in your kitchen. Firmer vegetables, such as sweet potato and butternut squash, should be chopped into 1/2-inch pieces and added at the beginning of the cook time. Mushrooms are a meatless addition to vegetarian chili that can bring a meaty texture and flavor. They should be sautéed along with the bell peppers, carrots and onion.

Quick-cooking vegetables, such as zucchini and yellow squash, should be chopped into 1/2-inch pieces and added during the last 15 minutes of cook time so that they do not get mushy.

Can you Make this Vegetarian Chili in the Slow Cooker?

If you would like to try this recipe in the slow cooker, here is what I would recommend. For the best flavor, sauté the vegetables and garlic on the stove as directed in the recipe before adding all of the ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, or until the carrots are tender. If the chili is too thick, you can add some additional broth.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

  • This vegetarian chili will last for about 4 days in the fridge. Let the chili cool before refrigerating it, put it in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking, and store it in an airtight container.
  • Chili also freezes well. You can keep chili in an airtight container in the freezer for about 3 months.
  • Reheat chili in a pot on the stove, covered, until simmering hot. Individual servings of chili can also be reheated in the microwave. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

vegetarian chili in a serving bowl topped with sour cream, cheese and avocado

More Chili Recipes:

Best Vegetarian Chili

This Vegetarian Chili is thick and hearty, with plenty of flavor, healthy veggies and beans. It's easy to make, then add your favorite chili toppings and enjoy!
Course Main Course, Vegetarian
Cuisine Tex-Mex
Keyword vegan chili recipe, vegetarian chili
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Servings 6 servings
Calories 221kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion (chopped small, or yellow onion)
  • 2 medium carrots (chopped into small (¼-inch) pieces)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped small)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (chopped small)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • cups low sodium vegetable broth ((one 14.5 ounce can))
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 15 ounce cans black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 15 ounce can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • Optional Toppings: avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, etc.

Instructions 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, carrots and bell peppers and saute until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the pot: vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans and corn. Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Let the chili simmer on the stove for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender. If after about 30 minutes the chili has reached your desired thickness, cover it and continue simmering until the carrots are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve with toppings as desired.

Notes

  • This chili is mildly spicy when made with 2 tablespoons chili powder. If you are sensitive to spice or your chili powder is very spicy you can reduce the amount. If you want your chili extra spicy you can add a small amount of cayenne pepper, to taste.
  • This recipe is easily adaptable to use other veggies that you may have in your kitchen. Firmer vegetables, such as sweet potato and butternut squash, should be chopped into 1/2-inch pieces and added at the beginning of the cook time. Chopped mushrooms should be sautéed with the other veggies before simmering the chili. Quick-cooking vegetables, such as zucchini and yellow squash, should be chopped into 1/2-inch pieces and added during the last 15 minutes of cook time.
  • Storage: This vegetarian chili will last for about 4 days in the refrigerator. Chili can also be stored in the freezer for about 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 952mg | Potassium: 994mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 5421IU | Vitamin C: 81mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 5mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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