Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe (vegan chili!) (2024)

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This Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe is our family's go-to, one-pot meal. It's full of vegetables, made with pantry staple ingredients, and is so easy to make. It's a delicious vegan chili that everyone raves about!

Photos updated in 2020. Same delicious chili recipe.

Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe (vegan chili!) (1)

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Enter this Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe …

Check out our video for how to make vegetarian chili:

Vegetarian Chili Toppings

Vegan Chili Toppings

Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipes

Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe (vegan chili!)

I love sitting down to a big bowl of hearty vegetarian chili on a cool evening. I actually prefer vegetarian chili to a meat-based chili, even though I can no longer refer to myself as a vegetarian.

When I was 20 years old, I decided to stop eating meat. During those 14 years, I became really attached to my meat-free comfort foods. Vegetarian chili is at the top of my list followed very closely by Thai coconut curries and Indian curries.

There's just something about a one-pot meal where all the flavors meld together to become so much more than they could have been on their own.

Enter this Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe …

I've been making this homemade chili for so many years that it's become second nature to make it. Honestly, it felt a little funny measuring the ingredients so I could share the recipe with you.

There is one thing you need to know: I wasn't joking about this being an easy chili recipe. Even though I have all the ingredients listed in proper measurements, feel free to eyeball and make substitutions. This is one chili that you cannot mess up.

And if you love your crockpot, I've made a Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Recipe. It's basically this recipe with a few tweaks to make it work in a slow cooker.

Check out our video for how to make vegetarian chili:

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See how crazy easy it is to make vegan chili?

The one thing you need to know about this (or any) vegetarian chili recipe, is that you want to salt it well. Salt helps bring out the flavor as well as create a feeling of depth that can sometimes be lacking in vegetarian recipes. Don't be shy with the salt shaker.

I absolutely LOVE sitting down to a bowl of this chili because it's not only delicious, it's so healthy for you, too. There are so many veggies in here that you have to feel good eating it.

Usually, we'll eat it on its own or with a little cheese on top. But once in a while, we'll get fancy and make some cornbread. Our favorite is still theseCheesy Chili Zucchini Cornbread Muffins with Chili Honey Butter. If you haven't tried them yet, I highly recommend you do! We also love this chili with our Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread.

Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe (vegan chili!) (3)

I always make my chili super spicy, but you don't have to. That's the thing about this chili, you really don't ‘have to' do anything. It's essentially just a bunch of veggies, some beans, and some spices. You can add more or less of any the veggies or spices, or leave some out entirely. You can switch up the beans by adding a different kind or a few different kinds of beans. This chili recipe is extremely flexible and can be used as a guide for making many different vegetarian chili recipes.

The only thing I wouldn't leave out of the chili is the corn. But then again, I just love the crunchy sweet bits in each bite. If corn is not your thing (do people who don't like corn exist?) then just leave it out 🙂

Vegetarian Chili Toppings

While it's delicious on its own, we love this chili with some toppings. They make it feel extra special. Our favorites are:

  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Corn chips (bonus if they're nacho flavored!)
  • Sliced green onions

Vegan Chili Toppings

Don't worry vegans, we've got you covered!

  • Diced avocado (amazing!)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • A sprinkle of nutritional yeast for some healthy cheesy flavor
  • Pickled red onions. This is the recipe that I LOVE!
  • Corn chips (but skip the nacho flavored ones)
Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe (vegan chili!) (4)

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Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe (vegan chili!) (9)

Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe (vegan chili!)

Prep: 15 minutes mins

Cook: 40 minutes mins

Total: 55 minutes mins

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This easy vegetarian chili recipe is our family's go-to, one-pot dinner. It's full of vegetables, made with pantry staple ingredients, and is so easy to make. It's a delicious vegan chili that everyone raves about!

6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 1-3 tablespoons chili powder (more will be spicier)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ – 2 teaspoons chili flakes (the more chili flakes the spicier it will be)
  • 2 medium bell peppers (diced)
  • 2 medium carrots (diced)
  • 3 medium celery stalks (diced)
  • 2 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes and their juice (use your hands to roughly crush the tomatoes)
  • 2 15-ounce cans of beans (drained and rinsed (we like kidney and white beans))
  • 2 cups frozen corn (you could use fresh but frozen is easy and works great)
  • Sea salt (to taste (we like about 2 teaspoons))
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro, diced avocados, or green onion


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and chili flakes and stir.

    2 tablespoons cooking oil, 1 large onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1-3 tablespoons chili powder, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, ¼ – 2 teaspoons chili flakes

  • Add the peppers, carrots, and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they just start to soften. Add the tomatoes and their juice and bring to a simmer. Once the chili begins to simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low. You want the chili to be at a low simmer with the lid off.

    2 medium bell peppers, 2 medium carrots, 3 medium celery stalks, 2 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes and their juice

  • Continue to cook the chili, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add beans and corn and let the chili return to a simmer. Cook for 5 more minutes or until the corn and beans have heated through. Season generously with sea salt.

    2 15-ounce cans of beans, 2 cups frozen corn, Sea salt

  • Serve on its own or topped with one (or all!) of the delicious toppings. Enjoy!

    Optional toppings: sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro, diced avocados, or green onion




Serving: 1 serving = ⅙ of the recipe, Calories: 333kcal (17%), Carbohydrates: 59g (20%), Protein: 13g (26%), Fat: 8g (12%), Saturated Fat: 1g (6%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1637mg (71%), Potassium: 1674mg (48%), Fiber: 14g (58%), Sugar: 24g (27%), Vitamin A: 5793IU (116%), Vitamin C: 83mg (101%), Calcium: 175mg (18%), Iron: 8mg (44%)

© Author Kristen Stevens

We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.

For more inspiration, check out all of our chili recipes!

Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe (vegan chili!) (2024)


What is vegan chili made of? ›

This Vegan Chili is a moderately-spiced, tomato-y stew loaded with chunks of celery, onion, green bell pepper, and carrot. Spices like ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic, and cayenne pepper add some body to the chili, while kidney beans and pinto beans give a hearty and creamy texture.

What is the secret to making good chili? ›

Rumi Spice's top tips for making chili:
  1. Brown the Meat.
  2. Don't Forget Vegetables.
  3. Elevate with Extra Flavor.
  4. Only Add Flavorful Liquids.
  5. Opt for Dried Beans.
  6. Season Early and Often.
  7. Add Some Acidity at the End.
  8. Top It Off.

What can I substitute for meat in chili? ›

Here are just a few ideas.....
  • An extra can of beans (pinto, kidney, or black)
  • Seitan.
  • Bulgur.
  • Portobella Mushrooms.
  • My Cauliflower Taco Crumbles.
  • Butler Soy Curls.
  • Any of the new burger crumble products in the store.
Jan 15, 2023

How long does homemade vegan chili last in the fridge? ›

How to store and reheat vegetarian chili. In the refrigerator: this plant-based chili will stay good in your fridge for about 1 week. Once your chili is completely cooled, just place it in an airtight container (or multiple, if you'd like to meal prep it) without the additional toppings and place it in the fridge.

How do you thicken vegan chili? ›

You can use polenta, arrowroot powder (a gluten-free vegetable root flour), or masa harina as a thickening agent if you don't have cornmeal. In Latin American cooking, chefs use masa harina—a type of cornflour—to make tamales and tortillas.

What is a vegetarian substitute for ground beef in chili? ›

bulgur or quinoa - inexpensive and usually easy to find in the bulk bins at the grocery store, bulgur adds even more of a ground meat texture to vegan chili. Use quinoa for a gluten-free option. spices - the most important ingredients in any chili recipe!

What not to put in chili? ›

Beans and non-vegetable fillers such as rice and pasta are not allowed." If that sounds a bit uptight, the ICS's Homestyle Chili competition defines chili as: "any kind of meat, or combination of meats, and/or vegetables cooked with beans, chili peppers, various spices, and other ingredients.

What adds the most flavor to chili? ›

If you want more of a smoky flavor, add cumin, Spanish paprika, ancho chili powder, or a combination. If you are looking for more heat, add cayenne, crushed red pepper, or Hungarian paprika. If it's too spicy add a little brown sugar and some sweet paprika.

Why do you put vinegar in chili? ›

With only about 1 tablespoon per pot added toward the end of the cooking process, the vinegar will make the flavors more vibrant without overwhelming the dish with its biting tang. Through just a splash, everything becomes a little brighter, and the chili's flavors are more balanced.

Is vegetarian chili good for you? ›

Health benefits

As a Dietitian, I love a one bowl meal that has complex carbs, protein, plenty of veggies, and healthy fat all in one. This chili is packed with plant protein and filling fiber from beans and veggies, making it crazy hearty. Regular consumption of beans can help lower cardiovascular risk.

What is my homemade chili missing? ›

Sometimes after a long simmer, your chili will taste wonderful be maybe missing one little thing you can't figure out. Try a tad bit of vinegar or a squeeze of lime! The acidity in vinegar & limes bring a good roundness to the pot and binds all the flavors together.

What are the best beans for chili? ›

The best beans for chili are pinto, kidney, and black beans, like in this easy and tasty recipe. This 3-bean chili freezes great for meals later in the week. If you prefer thinner chili, add an extra can of tomato sauce. The green chiles are not hot and add a wonderful flavor, so don't be afraid to use them.

Can vegetarian chili be left out overnight? ›

The USDA says food that has been left out of the fridge for more than two hours should be thrown away. At room temperature, bacteria grows incredibly fast and can make you sick. Reheating something that has been sitting at room temperature for longer than two hours won't be safe from bacteria.

Does celery go in chili? ›

Combine tomatoes, onion, celery, carrot, tomato paste, steak sauce, bell peppers, wine, and red pepper flakes in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Do you drain beans for chili? ›

However, canned beans are soaked in a canning liquid that can throw off your dish's seasoning and texture, so it's best to drain and rinse your beans before pouring them into your pot of chili. Canning liquid can also water down and dilute the flavors of your chili.

What chilli sauce is vegan? ›

Many brands, including Cholula, Frank's RedHot, Tabasco, Tapatío, and most Sriracha brands are vegan.

Is plant based chili good for you? ›

High in Nutrients: One of the main benefits of vegan chili is that it is packed with nutrients. Beans, which are a staple ingredient in vegan chili, are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

Can vegans eat chilli sauce? ›

Yes, all you heat-lovers on a plant-based diet will be happy to hear that hot sauce is generally vegan-friendly.

What is no bean chili made of? ›

Easy No Bean Chili

Ground beef, onions or shallots, and garlic are browned then simmered with tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, beef stock, and green chilis, plus herbs, spices, and seasonings for just 20 minutes. If you love classic chili, you will LOVE this easy no bean recipe.


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