This vegetarian chili is filled with flavor, texture, and the perfect amount of spice. The recipe combines easy canned ingredients with some fresh ingredients that make a one pan meal (or in the slow cooker) that's perfect for the colder months. Even meat eaters loved it too!
I can't tell you how many times I've made this vegetarian chill over the past few years.
This meatless chili is one of the best dinner recipes for the cooler months. Regardless of how you eat (vegetarian, vegan, or meat), I'm confident that you will enjoy this one pot meal. Our family is not vegetarian and we LOVE this chili.
It's an everything-into-1-pot chili which makes it simply the best. There's wiggle room with the ingredients, which I mention below.
Here's Why You'll Love This Vegetarian Chili
- Easy: Toss the ingredients in one pot (or a slow cooker!) and forget about it!
- Flavorful: While there's no meat, it's filled with the traditional chili flavors with a touch of spice.
- Satisfying: It's warm and comforting on a cold day.
- Adaptable: Swap the add-ins to your liking.
- Make-Ahead: This recipe is perfect to make-ahead or freeze. So convenient!
Vegetarian Chili Ingredients
- Peppers, Onion, & Garlic: This trio creates a flavorful base for the chili.
- Sweet Potato: This helps make the chili a bit heartier. If you're not a fan of sweet potato you can sub pumpkin or omit completely. Up to you!
- Tomato Paste: This helps add a unique depth of flavor.
- Beans: There are four types of beans in this chili. I used what I had on hand but feel free to use your preferred beans.
- Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt, & Pepper: You can adjust the amounts, but don't be afraid to use these spices. Without these the chili is bland so I recommend sticking with at least what the recipe mentions.
- Diced Tomatoes: I use 3 (14-ounce) cans of diced tomatoes. I love using fire roasted but any diced tomato works. The tomato pairs perfectly with the variety of beans.
How To Make Vegetarian Chili
Making this chili might seem complicated with all the ingredients but it's not. Really, it's not! You simply put everything in the pot and cook it.
- Sauté the peppers, onion, sweet potato, and garlic together.
- Add the remaining ingredients.
- Cook for 40 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.
You Can Use Your Slow Cooker!
This is the easiest way to make the vegetarian chili. Just set it and forget it! Simply place all the ingredients in a 5-quart or larder slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Here's my favorite slow cooker that I'm obsessed with.
The Secret To Thickening The Chili
Let me fill you in on a little secret I use to thicken the chili without adding anything additional— blend 1/2 cup of the chili and then stir it back in. It adds a wonderfully creamy texture to the chili. If you don't have a blender or don't feel like it, you can skip this step but I LOVE when I do this.
The toppings for this vegetarian chili are endless, but here some of my favorite ones!
- Tortilla Chips: Either chips or strips work great!
- Shredded Cheese: I love added pepperjack for a bit more heat or cheddar is a favorite too!
- Fresh Cilantro: Adding fresh cilantro adds a nice bite.
- Fresh Green Onion: Adding a fresh mild onion adds a unique flavor.
- Avocado: I love chopping up chunks and stirring it in.
- Jalapeños: Pickled or fresh!
- Sour Cream: Adds a nice coolness.
The Best Vegetarian Chili
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 and 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion, about 1 large
- 1 green bell better, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 3 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain
- 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a 5-quart of larger pot or dutch oven.
- Once hot, add the onion, bell peppers, and sweet potato. Stir and cook for 10 minutes as the vegetables soften. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and onion powder. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients. Place the lid on top, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- If desired, remove 1/2 cup of the chili and blend on high for 30 seconds. Stir back into the chili. Serve with toppings such as cilantro, avocado, cheese, etc.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then heat in a large pot on medium heat for about 30 minutes.
- Spiciness: This chili is midly spicy. Feel free to adjust the spiciness level to your liking.
- Beans: You can use any beans that you prefer. I always have pinto, kidney, chickpeas and cannellini beans on hand so that's what I used.
- Sweet Potato: Feel free to swap with butternut squash or red potatoes.
- Slow Cooker: Place all of the ingredients in a 5 quart or larger slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.