Ultimate Vegetarian Chili

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 or white chicken 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.

Everything You Need For The Best Vegetarian Chili Recipe

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

4.90 from 28 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
An easy vegetarian chili that's warmed with spices, loaded with good-for-you ingredients, and whirls of comfort with every bite!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (or smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (15oz can) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz can) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz can) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28oz can) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (4oz can) roasted and diced green chilies, undrained
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • For garnish: chopped cilantro, diced avocado, sour cream, and/or grated cheese.

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
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61 comments on “Ultimate Vegetarian Chili”

  1. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS !!!  Loved it. 5 stars

  2. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!5 stars

  3. I have a cold and this is part of my recovery plan – thanks for recipe and prepping tips :)5 stars

  4. 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

  5. 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?

    • 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.

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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

    • 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 :)

  11. 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

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

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

  14. The nutritional information will always be per serving, not for the entire recipe.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

    • 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.

  20. 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 ☺️

  21. 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

  22. 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

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

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. 5 star this is hands down the best chili I have ever made! Thank you.

  29. 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

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

  30. Just made a double batch so I could share it with my daughter’s family who are vegan. Delicious!5 stars

  31. 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

  32. This dish looks delicious. I will try it today. The weather allows.

    I like your recipes. Thank you5 stars

  33. Can I make this in a crockpot? 

  34. 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

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