Actually, the Best Vegetarian Chili Ever
This is actually THE BEST vegetarian chili recipe you’ll ever make! You won’t believe there isn’t any meat in this delicious, easy vegetarian chili made with two kinds of beans, veggies, tender sweet potato and sweet corn. Perfectly spiced, thick and hearty, and easy to make on the stovetop or in your slow cooker!
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For years and years, my healthy turkey chili has been one of the most popular recipes on Ambitious Kitchen, and for good reason. It’s cozy, hearty, flavorful and perfect for game day or weeknight dinners.
About a year ago I wanted to bring you both a vegan and vegetarian chili recipe that was just as delicious, full of feel-good veggies, plant-based protein, and of course, as crave-worthy without the meat. In an effort to eat more (and bring you more) plant-based meals, I’ve made it countless times and Tony loves it.
We love the leftovers over tortilla chips with some cheese for a game day chili nachos. Another way to enjoy it? Over roasted sweet potatoes, then top it with cheese, avocado and hot sauce. SO GOOD and an awesome way to reinvent leftovers.
Ingredients in homemade vegetarian chili
This incredible vegetarian chili recipe is made with super simple ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen and pantry. There’s no meat or dairy, making it vegan too! All you need are a few cans of beans (I love kidney beans in my chili), veggies, spices and crushed tomatoes. To make this plant based chili you’ll need:
- Veggies: we’re adding onion, carrot, bell pepper, sweet potato and corn for the perfect mix of hearty veggies.
- Garlic: always want to add garlic for delicious flavor.
- Green chiles: you’ll need a can of mild green chiles for a mild kick of spice.
- Spices: you’ll add the perfect chili spice blend, which consists of chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, garlic powder, paprika & cayenne pepper
- Crushed tomatoes: the base of the vegetarian chili is made with crushed tomatoes.
- Vegetarian broth: feel free to use vegetarian broth or water to perfectly thin out the chili a bit.
- Beans: we’re using both black beans & kidney beans for a delicious boost of plant-based protein in this chili recipe.
Delicious ways to serve vegetarian chili
My favorite thing about a warm bowl of chili is all of the delicious toppings you can add! DIY chili bar, anyone? Here are some recommendations:
- Amazing toppings: I love topping this easy vegetarian chili with tortilla chips, a squeeze of lime juice, shredded cheese, avocado, cilantro and a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt.
- Add some heat: if you like a little more heat (like I do) I recommend a few jalapeño slices, too!
- Keep it vegan & dairy free: feel free to customize your toppings to your heart’s content and use a vegan cheese + yogurt or sour cream to keep this recipe vegan.
How to make vegetarian chili from scratch
- Saute the veggies. Place oil in a large pot and place over medium high heat. Add in garlic, onion, diced carrot, red bell pepper, cubed sweet potatoes and green chiles; saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add spices. Next add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper; stir for about 30 seconds.
- Mix together & simmer. Finally add in crushed tomatoes, broth/water, black beans, kidney beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary.
- Top & serve. Garnish with anything you’d like, then devour!
How to make the best vegetarian chili in the slow cooker
This easy vegetarian chili recipe can easily be made on the stovetop or in your slow cooker, which makes it perfect for entertaining.
If you’re using your slow cooker, simply add all of your ingredients to your slow cooker, but reduce the broth/water and use only ¼ cup of broth total instead of 3/4 cup. Then cook the vegetarian chili on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until it’s nice and thick.
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. To reheat it, simply do so in the microwave with a microwave safe bowl, or feel free to reheat it on the stovetop. Add your toppings once you’re ready to serve!
- In the freezer: can you freeze vegetarian chili? YES! Follow the instructions above, but instead of placing the chili in the refrigerator just put it in your freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw the vegetarian chili overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.
What to serve with this vegetarian chili recipe
Feel free to serve this chili with tortilla chips and homemade pumpkin cornbread or my gluten free cornbread muffins. They’re both delicious for dipping! If you’re making this for game day here are a few more recipes that will pair perfectly with this recipe:
- Tortilla Chip-Crusted Baked Jalapeño Poppers
- Vegetarian Three Cheese White Bean Buffalo Dip
- The Best Guacamole You’ll Ever Eat
- Fresh & Healthy 7-Layer Dip
- Vegetarian Plantain & Black Bean Taco Cups
- Vegan Jalapeño Butternut Squash Queso
I hope you enjoy our best ever vegetarian chili recipe. If you make it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe — I really appreciate it! xo.
The Best Vegetarian Chili Ever
This is actually THE BEST vegetarian chili recipe you'll ever make! You won't believe there isn't any meat in this delicious vegetarian chili made with two kinds of beans, veggies, tender sweet potato and sweet corn. Perfectly spiced, thick and hearty, and easy to make on the stovetop or in your slow cooker!
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 (4 ounce) can mild green chiles
- 1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 1/2 tablespoons mild chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted is great)
- 3/4 cup vegetarian broth (or water, plus more if it needs more liquid)
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 heaping cup frozen sweet corn
- To garnish:
- Tortilla chips
- Lime wedge
- Sour cream/greek yogurt
Place oil in a large pot and place over medium high heat. Add in garlic, onion, diced carrot, red bell pepper, cubed sweet potatoes and green chiles; saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
Next add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper; stir for about 30 seconds.
Finally add in crushed tomatoes, broth/water, black beans, kidney beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary.
Garnish with anything you'd like. Makes 6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each.
Feel free to make this in your slow cooker. If you do, I suggest reducing the broth/water and using only ¼ cup of broth total (instead of 3/4 cup).
To keep vegan: top with your favorite vegan cheese and/or vegan greek yogurt.
See the full post for freezing & reheating instructions.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on October 20th, 2020, and republished on December 30th, 2021.
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