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How to make the best Vegetarian Chili (vegan)

This is our favorite vegetarian chili recipe. It is packed with veggies, has just the right amount of beans and is perfectly seasoned. We’re incorporating more vegetarian recipes into the menu around here and this veggie chili is a welcome addition.

Cooler weather ushers in comfort food and this chili recipe is comfort food that is also good for you.

vegetarian chili with toppings

Lately, we’ve been making more vegetarian recipes for dinner. If you are a longtime vegetarian, or like us, trying to eat more vegetables and less meat, I hope this recipe becomes a favorite of yours too.

Vegetarian chili

I’m no stranger to chili, it’s one of our favorite meals. From simple turkey chili – a staple for game nights, to pumpkin chili that’s perfect for fall, that magic combination of beans, tomatoes and aromatics is never far away.

The recipe, as written, is actually a vegan veggie chili – it’s the toppings that move it into the vegetarian category. You can easily use vegan cheese and other vegan toppings for this chili.

vegetarian chili in white bowls with herbs, sour cream and avocado

This bean and vegetable concoction tastes like it simmered all day, when in fact, it was only on the stove for roughly 45 minutes.

One thing that I do not like in meatless versions is feeling like it’s not hearty enough. At that point, it feels more like a soup and less like the thick bowl of chili that it should be.

This, my friends, is most decidedly thick and hearty.

How to make veggie chili

This pantry chili is a blend of fresh vegetables and canned goods for convenience.

With many of us cooking from our well stocked pantries, this vegetable chili comes together in no time. A handful of fresh ingredients and a few pantry staples is all you need for this nutrient-dense dinner.

Well, that and a really big pot.

veggie chili with sour cream and avocado in white bowls


  • Vegetable broth/stock – homemade or store-bought, whatever you have is fine.
  • Corn – I used canned, you can also use frozen.
  • Bell peppers – use whatever color of bell pepper you like best.
  • Black beans – canned or cooked dry beans
  • Celery – if you hate it, leave it out.
  • Diced tomatoes with their juice
  • Green chiles – either a can or if you’re like me and have a bunch of Hatch chiles stashed in the freezer, use them.
  • Onion – use what you have
  • Garlic – 3 fat cloves were perfect for me
  • Carrots – lend a bit of sweetness to the chili
  • Pinto beans – canned or cooked dry beans. (I really like Rancho Gordo for dried beans)
  • Tomato paste – lends a good depth of flavor
  • Spices – cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper and bay leaf
ingredients for vegetarian chili


The first step is sautéing the carrots, onion, peppers, garlic, and celery in olive oil.

sautéing vegetables for chili

Add tomato paste and spices to the softened vegetables and give it a good stir to coat everything. Sauté for a few minutes to cook the tomato paste.

spices for chili with vegetables

Add vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, beans and corn. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and chili has thickened.

vegetables and beans ready to cook in red pot

To give it even more body, you can purée a cup or two of the chili and add it back in to the pot.

Leftover chili ideas

This hearty meatless chili recipe makes a little over 4 quarts, enough to feed a crowd. There are only two of us, but chili is one of those meals that is even better the next day, so I always end up with a big batch.

I have never managed to make a small pot of chili. If you have, I congratulate you!

meal prep

• top nachos with leftover chili

• Pile chili on top of macaroni or top a baked potato

vegan chili in white bowls with avocado

Chili toppers

The sky is the limit, really. But, there are a few standards that I’m sure we can all agree on.

• Sour cream – If you’ve made your chili a bit too spicy, this can help to cool it. Vegans can opt for a dairy-free sour cream.

• Cheese – Any kind that makes you happy is best. I typically go for a block of colby jack or sharp cheddar.

• Avocado – the creaminess of avocado is delightful with the spiciness of the broth.

• Scallions – Fresh, green onions with their mild flavor are really delicious toppers to almost anything.

• Cilantro – I know this herb falls in to the “love it or hate it” category. If you’re in the hate it camp, substitute with Italian parsley for a bit of fresh herby goodness.

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Vegetarian Chili

Cheryl Bennett
5 from 1 vote
Servings 4 .5 quarts
Calories 235 kcal


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 bell peppers diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 stalks celery diced
  • 1/2 cup diced green chilies 4 oz., drained
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp. salt or to taste
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper or to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth – store bought or homemade
  • 2 – 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can pinto beans drained and rinsed, or cooked dried beans
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed, or cooked dried beans
  • 1 can 15 oz. sweet corn


  • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add onion, bell peppers, green chilies, celery, carrots and garlic. Sauté for 6 – 8 minutes until slightly softened.
  • Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Pour in vegetable broth and add diced tomatoes with their juice, pinto beans, black beans and corn. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and simmer for 35 – 45 minutes, until chili has thickened and vegetables are tender.


Serving: 1pintCalories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 11gFat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 1580mgFiber: 11gSugar: 16g
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