Ultimate Vegetarian Chili

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This is everything a vegetarian chili should be with warming spices and aromatics, good-for-you vegetables, hearty beans, and whirls of comfort with every bite. It’s truly a dinner sensation loved by vegetarian and non-vegetarians alike!

A bowl of vegetarian chili next to diced avocado.

Don’t let the word vegetarian fool you, because this vegetarian chili competes with the classics (like my best ever chili, white chicken chili, or turkey chili). With the combination of diced vegetables, assorted beans, and a smoky, rich broth, you won’t even realize there’s no meat involved. Now that’s the beauty of vegetarian recipes!

Vegetarian chili is the kind of meal I love to make when I’m craving comfort food, but with a bit of reassurance that I’m eating a super healthy meal brimming with vitamins, protein, and fiber. It’ll fill you up without weighing you down. Plus, it’s a perennial meal prep idea that freezes well. Can’t beat that!

Ingredients for vegetarian chili on a table.

Vegetarian Chili Ingredients

What makes this recipe a perennial winner is that it’s a great time and money saver. Two things we love to hear right? It’s one of the easiest one-pot meals to make, and the majority of it requires simple pantry ingredients, with a handful of fresh veggies. Here’s what’s in it.

  • All the veggies: To beef up this chili, you’ll need an assortment of onion, carrots, and celery (a mirepoix mix) plus bell peppers. I’m using green and red bell peppers, but you can use any color.
  • Beans galore: As with most chili recipes, a combination of black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans is a must. But if you’re not a fan of one of these types of beans, swap it for another can of beans you love!
  • An array of spices: A blend of chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, paprika, and kosher salt gives this chili a super rich flavoring.
  • Tomato-y things: Tomato paste, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and diced green chilies really amp up the smokey, roasted flavors, while adding texture to the broth.
  • Vegetable broth: Just 2 cups are needed for this, and I’ll usually grab a low-sodium broth. It’s a naturally thick chili, but you can always add more broth (or water) for a more liquidy chili.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below

Process of making a vegetarian chili in a pot

How To Make Vegetarian Chili

Once you’ve got the veggies prepped, beans drained, and cans opened (what the French like to call “mis en place”), all you need to do is cook everything together in a large pot. That’s it! I love to use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven for meals like this, but any large pot will work.

  • Cook the veggies. In a large pot with olive oil, saute the diced onion, bell peppers, carrot and celery for 4 to 5 minutes, until the veggies are slightly soft.
  • Add the seasonings. Stir the minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, kosher salt and tomato paste with the veggies for an additional minute, until fragrant.
  • Add in the rest and simmer. This means the black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, diced green chilies, vegetable broth, and bay leaf. Stir it up, bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a medium-low heat. Let it simmer for 30 minutes uncovered, while stirring occasionally.
  • Serve it up! Remove the bay leaf, ladle the chili into bowls, and add your favorite toppings (I’ve included some ideas below!).
Scooping a lade of vegetarian chili from a pot.

Ingredient Substitutions & Changes

Feel free to tweak this vegetarian chili (and recipes in general) to your liking. If you’re not a fan of a few ingredients, or looking for other ways to give it some oomph, give these substitutions a try!

  • Want less beans? Sub one type of bean for more diced veggies! Just make sure to use the same quantity to keep the volume consistent.
  • Switch up the veggies. Mirepoix vegetables are a chili staple. But you can also use diced sweet potato or butternut squash.
  • Add some heat! This can easily be done by sauteing diced jalapenos or serrano peppers when you cook the bell peppers.
  • Want it more liquidy? Add another cup of vegetable broth (or water) to make it thinner and more brothy.
  • Want it thicker or smoother? Use an immersion blender to spot blend, or blend up a small portion in a blender and stir it back into the chili.

Fun Ways To Serve

A warm bowl of this vegetarian chili is honestly so good straight out of the pot. But you can never go wrong with toppings and garnishes. I’m talking chopped herbs (like cilantro or parsley), diced avocados, sliced green onions, chives, or even seeds like pepitas!

Here’s a few more unique ways to serve up this chili:

  • Ladle a serving over ricecauliflower rice, broccoli rice, or quinoa for a veggie or healthy carb boost!
  • Add a refreshing and simple side salad such as a massaged kale salad.
  • Serve the chili in small bowls for large parties or gatherings! They’re great for a quick and easy appetizer or side dish – especially for Super Bowl.
Bowls of vegetarian chili on a table

Storage Tips

Let me emphasize again how amazing this chili is when it comes to meal prepping. It only takes 45 minutes to make and creates a good amount of servings. If you don’t eat it all for dinner, store it for future meals!

  • To Store: Let the chili cool to room temperature before placing in an airtight container. It can be stored for up to 5 days in the fridge. 
  • To Freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months in the freezer. 
  • Reheat This: Reheating the chili is a cinch. Thaw it in the fridge overnight, then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through.

Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe Video

If you need some visual inspiration, cook along with me here in this chili video!

More Vegetarian Dinner Ideas!

Whether you’re opting for lighter meals or need to increase your veggie intake – these tasty vegetarian dinner ideas will hit the spot.

This big pot of chili will surely satisfy all your comfort food cravings. If you make it, I’d love to hear what you think in a comment below!

Vegetarian chili in a small bowl with diced avocado.

Vegetarian Chili

4.93 from 40 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

An easy vegetarian chili that's warmed with spices, loaded with good-for-you ingredients, and whirls of comfort with every bite!

Video

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the diced onion, bell peppers, carrot and celery. Stir and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.
    Sauteing vegetables in a pot for vegetarian chili.
  • Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt and tomato paste. Stir for another minute, until fragrant.
    Adding spices into a pot for vegetarian chili
  • Add the black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, diced green chilies, vegetable broth, and bay leaf. Give it a stir, increase the heat to high to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. If you prefer a more liquidy chili, add another cup of vegetable broth.
    A large pot of vegetarian chili ingredients
  • Before serving, remove the bay leaf.
    A big pot simmering vegetarian chili
  • Ladle servings into individual bowls. Top with your favorite garnishes.
    A vegetarian chili bowl next to chopped cilantro.

Nutrition

Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 680mg | Potassium: 1171mg | Fiber: 22g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 5668IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 8mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili recipe, easy chili recipe, Vegetarian Chili
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




84 Comments

  1. My current favorite chili! It was impossible to find kidney beans in Mexico so I used all black beans. Last time I added some veggie sausage. Delicious!5 stars

  2. Oh no, cooking this fantasic chili but my green pepper had some critters… Should I substitue with a potatoe? more carrots or this can of mixed vegtables? Help, lol!

  3. Loved this recipe Lisa. The green chilies gave it that extra something something. I would love to see you do a sweet potato chili recipe.5 stars

    1. Hi Darlene – happy you loved this vegetarian chili! I actually have a sweet potato stew on my calendar for the future. :)

  4. Wow! This vegetarian chili is wonderful!!! Full of flavor with the spice combination and filling. I added additional garlic, just a clove, because we love garlic!! It’s very easy to make and smells fabulous as it’s simmering! I’ll be making this again! Thank you Lisa! I love all your recipes.5 stars

  5. My favorite chili. I love this recipe. It’s hearty and filling and just delicious. I make a big batch and have it for lunches all week. Cooler temps are finally coming and I will be making this again next week!5 stars

  6. I put one tablespoon of chilli powder and I found that more than enough. Perhaps I am a wuss! And no tinned chilli cuz I can’t find that here in Australia.5 stars

  7. Awesome and delicious recipes!
    I added the jalapeno and a serrano pepper as well as a sweet potato. This is a definite keeper5 stars

  8. This was a great vegetarian chili. So easy to make. I’m not a fan of kidney beans so I just used 2 cans of black beans. Topped with avocado made it yummy too!! Had it leftover for a couple nights and just as good the next day. I also put some in the freezer and it was just as delicious after thawing and reheating. 5 stars

  9. I’ve made this a couple of times. So flavourful.  The meat chili is delicious too.  I make it with sausage.   I’m making both again today for Xmas eve.  Going to do in the slow cooker so fingers crossed they turn out. I browned the sausage first and sautéed the veggies and spices before adding to the slow cooker.  Merry Christmas Eve   PS a couple of Downshiftology cookbooks under the tree 🎄 5 stars

    1. This will last for 5 days in the fridge, and up to 3 months in the freezer! Heads up – I always have storage tips written in the post 😉

  10. This vegetarian chili is a great healthy inexpensive recipe. I also love that every recipe on Downshiftology is gluten free. My family loves this Chili recipe even the meat lovers. I’ve also tried the turkey meatballs with the maple mustard sauce and the Greek sheet pan chicken with grilled veggies last week and the family is still talking about it! This week I’m also making the turmeric chicken and rice casserole. I also enjoy having the videos. Thank you Lisa for sharing your talents and recipes!5 stars

  11. Can someone tell me about the tinned roasted and diced green chilies, please? I’m not sure we have them here (Australia). Can I substitute fresh chili which I can char on a griddle? Any suggestions as to how many to use?

    1. The canned green chili here in America is very mild, if you can’t locate them I would char fresh chili’s as you mentioned, that would add such lovely flavor to the dish.

    2. I always start with one fresh chilli until I have tested the recipe. Then if not hot enough I top up with hot sauce

  12. I tend to enjoy beans on a regular basis – plant protein, not meat, and flexible. Your recipe allows me to enjoy my beans in a whole new way. I am looking forward to preparing this recipe many times.

    The Nutrition data indicates 409 Calories, but I didn’t find the serving size.4 stars

  13. This is a super dish. I make it every week now. It covers everything!
    Also tried the cabbage soup and it is delicious. Thank you Lisa for your carefully designed recipes. They are well appreciated.5 stars

  14. Made this morning and sooo good! Very flavorful. Impressed with the amount of protein and vegetarian. Love when something is nutritious and great tasting. Definitely a repeat recipe!5 stars

  15. Hi Lisa – I usually LOVE your recipes, but found this one a little lack luster and one noted. I feel like the 2 tbsp of chili powder overshadowed the other spices and the tomatoes made the chili a little too acidic. Just my opinion and written for those who dont love too much tomato or too much chili powder!3 stars

  16. The Best Ever Chili recipe is one of my favorites. I decided to try this all vegetarian one and I could not be more pleased with it. I really like both of these chilis. I shared my first batch of the vegetable version with a friend who normally eats a beef chili. We both went back for another helping. It is everything that Lisa promised: delicious and satisfying. I noticed how easy it was to digest. I was also pleasantly surprised that it satisfied my hunger and I was not craving something to eat later in the evening. I grated some Pecorino cheese on it when I served it. That was a garnish that worked well for us. Thank you Lisa.5 stars

    1. Happy to hear both you and your friend enjoyed this vegetarian chili Paul! It really is just as filling (and delicious) as a normal beef chili :)

  17. Loved this chili! It was super easy to make and delicious. Great, easy dinner especially during these cold winters. I added in some sweet potato, too. Will definitely make again.5 stars

  18. Oh wow, I feel very hungrily after watching this blogs. Do more blogs like same. in one word it’s awesome.

  19. I added 1/3 cup Lentils to this recipe – Delicious!! The tomato paste makes a huge difference. Takes it to another level!!5 stars

  20. So good!!! I left out the chilies because I’m a wuss. Pay attention to the serving count because I have 68 oz of left overs because I’m only 1, not 6. 5 stars

  21. Left mine in my crockpot on low for 8 hours. Came home to a delicious meal. Served it with jalapeño cornbread … will make again!5 stars

    1. 10/10 from the whole family. That one vegetarian kid of mine has a really good influence on all of us. 😄 This chili will become a staple for the cold Swiss winter!5 stars

  22. I’ve made quite a few veggie chili recipes over the years and this one is the best.  Really, really good; perfectly seasoned.  I used a mix of crushed and fire roasted diced tomatoes because I like that mix.  Thank you!5 stars

  23. Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for sharing the recipe. I followed your recipe down to the letter as this was the first time, I was making veggie chilli and it looked and tasted amazing so thank you again.😊❤️5 stars

  24. I associate delicious chilis with meat, so I was skeptical to say the least. The texture of the different types of beans, plus the prominent blend of spices made this chili delicious and memorable. I didn’t miss the meat at all. 

    A tip for those who can’t tolerate too much spice, I found that using a can of mild green chiles + the recommended chili powder made a flavorful, but not too spicy chili.5 stars

    1. Thanks for your quick tip on the spice Barb! Glad you loved this vegetarian chili though – it really doesn’t make you miss the meat.

  25. I have been trying vegetarian chili recipes looking for my favorite. This is it, hands down! Very flavorful and filling. I love the three beans, and the spices are just right. This is definitely my new favorite 💓. Thank you ☺️

  26. This came out delicious! Whenever my dad makes chili he adds a dash if cinnamon…after trying yours recipe I added cinnamon and it went from good to perfection! Thank you for the inspiration for tonight’s dinner 🍽 ❤5 stars

  27. Dear Lisa, 
    This recipe tastes amazing, it’s so easy to made, one pot and you’re good to go! I left out Cumin, since I *hate* the taste of it, but it still tasted sooo good.
    Thank you so much for offering another great recipe! 
    Greeting from Germany 5 stars

  28. My whole carnivore family loved it. They are suffering thru my Veganuary challenge, and haven’t been disappointed yet.

  29. This pot of chili more than lived up to its name! Not only did It come together quickly, it was beyond delicious. I too have a freezer full of leftovers that I look forward to enjoying for days! Thank you! :)5 stars

  30. Thank you for the recipe.  Made the chili for lunch today and it was delicious.  I will have plenty of leftovers in the freezer!5 stars

  31. We lovvveeedd the chilli! I’ve tried one recipe before but it was a fail. This one had it all the flavor and the nutrients. I use your blog daily now for my meals. Thank you 🙏🏻 5 stars

  32. Made the Veggi chili on this cold and rainy day.  After making this I divide the recipe in two because my husband has to have meat. I cooked the meat separately and then added it to his half.  Mine. I added the sour cream. Yummm. Will be making this again! 5 stars

  33. My whole family loved it. I had made a lot of mediocre vegetarian chilis lately trying out different recipes but wasn’t impressed by any until this one. I’m glad my search for a great veggie chili is over! Tastes great with some cayenne and avocado! Perfection!5 stars

    1. Thrilled to hear you’ve found a winning chili recipe Isbelle! The avocado chunks really take it over the top :)

    1. Happy to hear you loved this vegetarian chili! Excited to see what your daughter’s family thinks of it.

  34. I made this recipe last night for dinner and it is so yummy and comforting. I will definitely make this again and it will go into my “favorite recipes” (along with all the other recipes from Lisa).

    Thank you for always providing recipes that are delicious. I can’t wait for your cookbook to be published.5 stars

  35. So colorful, rich in vegetables that meat isn’t even missed! How many ounces is a serving of 547Kcal? Lisa, you’re my go-to for healthy recipes. Your extra efforts in video and photography are worth it. Thanks, Jim in Wichita KS5 stars