I know chili in the U-S-A is all about meaty goodness. But this vegetarian chili recipe is a great one too for anyone that doesn’t eat meat or if you want a way to make vegetables taste so good you will actually eat them. Even those big beefy guys love my vegetarian chili because it has that flavor kick that will do you right!
Best Vegetarian Chili Recipe
The best vegetarian chili recipe is the kind that is so good, you will keep eating it. And eating it. And then you’ll be like, “Hey wait, there’s no meat here? That’s good!” So dig into a big bowl of it!
Vegetarian Chili Ingredients
- Red onion – Get a medium one and chop it.
- Red bell pepper – You’ll chop this one up too.
- Carrots – Yup, chop ‘em.
- Celery – Chop, chop, chop!
- Garlic – You can press or mince the cloves.
- Mild green chilies – From the can.
- Canned diced tomatoes – Keep the juices as you’ll need them.
- Beans – This vegetarian bean chili needs both black beans and pinto beans. Drain them and rinse them first.
- Vegetable broth – Yes, you can just use water, but this adds more flavor to your base.
- Jalapeno – Finely chop this and feel free to add a little less if you’re not a big spice person.
- Lime juice – Gives it that twist.
- Cilantro – Brings out the flavors for your veggie chili here.
- Vegetarian Chili Seasonings – You’ll need salt, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, pepper, bay leaves, and if you want spicy, add cayenne pepper.
- Vegetarian Chili Toppings – This chili comes out even better if you top if with avocado, tortilla strips, jalapenos, shredded cheddar, and sour cream.
Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe
All that chopping is what leads to a 20-minute prep time, but from there, it all simmers up to splendid perfection on the stovetop. This easy vegetarian chili recipe takes only about an hour total which isn’t all that bad, especially if you make a big batch to enjoy all week or for meal prep situations.
How do you Make Vegetarian Chili from Scratch?
Take a large pot and heat olive in it over medium heat until it’s nice and hot. Then add the chopped onion, red bell pepper, carrots, celery, and a ½ teaspoon of salt, cooking for about 8 minutes while stirring occasionally. When those are tender, add garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and cayenne. Stir for a minute then add the chiles, diced tomatoes with juices, drained beans, vegetable broth, and bay leaves. Keep cooking for 30 minutes so that it is at a gentle simmer. Stir often to keep the flavors going. After 30 minutes, get the bay leaves out, then use an immersion blender if desired to get the chili to a smooth texture. Add the chopped cilantro, lime juice, and the remaining salt, stir, and serve with your favorite chili toppings.
Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Vegetarian Chili Every Time
- Start fresh. If you want this vegetarian chilli to bowl you over with punchy flavor, get your veggies fresh.
- Don’t skip draining the beans. That water in the can is pretty nasty too, so make sure you not only drain but also rinse the beans well.
- Use an immersion blender. If you want a thicker, creamier texture, this will be the way to do it. Plus, if you’re serving any picky little critters, they won’t see the vegetables in there and hence won’t complain. Score!
What is vegetarian chili made of?
Vegetarian chili is made of red onion, red bell pepper, carrots, celery, garlic, green chilies, canned diced tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, vegetable broth, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, chili powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, dried oregano, cayenne, and bay leaves.
Is vegan chili good for you?
Yes, it’s very good for you and so is vegetarian chili. They put the focus on vegetables which are nutritious for everyone. If you’re not a big veggie-lover, eating this type of chili can ensure you get the vitamins and minerals you need in a tastier, more palatable way.
What is the best secret ingredient for chili?
When it comes to vegetarian chili, the best secret ingredient is the addition of lime juice. It brings all the flavors together and with the chili powder, creates a nice umami taste.
What ingredient makes chili better?
In vegetarian chili, it’s the addition of lime juice that brings all the flavors together for a harmonious taste in every bite.
How to Cook Vegetarian Chili?
Vegetarian chili is cooked just like any other chili – on the stovetop in one pot. It’s an easy way to make a delicious and hearty meal.
What beans go in chili?
In most chili, you use red kidney beans. In this vegetarian chili, you will use black beans and pinto beans.
What is a good meat substitute for chili?
You can use vegan meat substitutes, tofu, or simply keep it with veggies and beans to make your chili meatless.
Can you substitute chickpeas in chili?
Of course, you can substitute any types of beans you like. Chickpeas are an excellent way to make vegetarian chili even healthier.
How do you make chili taste better?
You have to have the right seasonings. You need chili powder to make red based chili recipes. That and a bounty of seasonings like smoked paprika, cumin, and bay leaves can really infuse flavor into this meal.
How can I thicken my vegetarian chili?
Using your immersion blender can help give it a thicker, creamier texture. It also blends the chunks of vegetables up, making their flavors incorporate better into the chili.
What goes well with Vegetarian Chili?
Cornbread or biscuits with a honey drizzle are perfect with this vegetarian chili. A Caesar salad, fries, baked potatoes, or onion rings are also good stuff that goes with this type of chili.
How to store Vegetarian Chili?
Vegetarian chili needs to be kept in the fridge. Once it cools, you can seal it off in airtight containers and put it away.
How long does Vegetarian Chili last?
In the fridge, this will last anywhere from 3 to 5 days. You can keep enjoying it throughout the week.
Can you freeze Vegetarian Chili?
Even better, you can freeze vegetarian chili so you can enjoy all that hard work another time. It makes a great heat and eat meal or something you can pull out for a party fast. You can store it there for about 3 months.
How to reheat Vegetarian Chili?
All it takes is pouring it into a pot on your stovetop and warming it up until it’s nice and hot.
Watch How To Make Vegetarian Chili (Video)
Chuck's Vegetarian Chili Recipe
- 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion (medium, chopped)
- 1 red bell pepper (cored, deveined and chopped)
- 2 carrots (medium, chopped)
- 2 celery stalks (chopped)
- 1 tsp salt (divided)
- 5 garlic cloves (pressed or minced)
- 2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, spicy!)
- 1 4oz can mild green chilies
- 1 28oz can canned diced tomatoes (with their juices)
- 1 15 oz can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 15oz cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped, plus more for garnishing)
- avocado (optional topping)
- tortilla chips or strips (optional topping)
- jalapeños (optional topping)
- shredded cheddar cheese (optional topping)
- sour cream (optional topping)
- Using a large pot or Dutch Oven, over medium heat, heat the olive oil until hot and fluid. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onion, red bell pepper, carrots, celery and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook on medium heat for about 8 minutes stirring occasionally until the onion becomes translucent and the vegetables are tender.
- Once the vegetables are tender, add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Continue stirring constantly to mix the spices evenly for about one minute.
- Next, add in the mild chiles, diced tomatoes with their juices, drained pinto beans, drained black beans, vegetable broth and bay leaves. Stir well to evenly combine all flavors and then let the chili heat to a gentle simmer. Continue cooking the chili for an additional 30 minutes while adjusting the heat as necessary to keep a gentle simmer. Stir the chili regularly to keep the flavors mixing. Once the chili has been simmering for 30 minutes, remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.
- To achieve the a smoother texture for the chili, blend briefly with an immersion blender while in the pot. This will make the chili slightly more smooth and unleash more flavors.
- Lastly, add in the chopped cilantro, lime juice and remaining 1/2 tsp salt and stir to combine evenly.
- Serve chili hot in individual bowls and topped with your favorite toppings like shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado, or tortilla chips.