Vegetarian Chili is the perfect way to get all the satisfaction of a favorite comforting dish, but without the extra calories or cholesterol. This vegetarian chili recipe is packed with fresh veggies for maximum nourishment. Plus, it’s super quick and easy to make, either on the stove top or in the slow cooker.
Much like a traditional chili recipe, you have a lot of options to vary this recipe to your taste. Instead of using only kidney beans, you could make vegetarian black bean chili. Or, use a variety of beans, including white, pinto, and even garbanzo beans! Serve this vegetarian chili recipe with some homemade cornbread for the perfect comfort food meal!
Vegetarian Chili is a delicious belly warming recipe and you do not have to be vegetarian to enjoy it! I have to admit, I do make The Best Chili Recipe loaded with beef and beans but I also love to have this healthy chili recipe on hand. I keep it in the fridge (or freezer) for lunches throughout the week!
How to Make Vegetarian Chili
For the best vegetarian chili, don’t overcook it. You want all those lovely veggies to be soft, but you don’t want the zucchini to get too mushy or the bell peppers to lose all their color. This is healthy vegetarian chili, so keep the vegetables looking vibrant and fresh.
It’s as easy as 1,2,3!
- Sauté the onion and celery and add in the minced garlic after they just start to get translucent.
- Stir in the chili powder and cumin, and cook for about a minute.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about half an hour.
Season to taste and serve with your favorite toppings. I love topping mine with fresh jalapenos for a kick, and a dollop of sour cream!
For Crock Pot vegetarian chili, sauté the onion and garlic and transfer to the slow cooker. Then add all the rest of the ingredients and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 6.
How to Make Vegetarian Chili Thicker
Vegetarian bean chili has a tendency to be a bit watery (afterall, the veggies are mostly water). I also find that chili thickens as it cools (and it’s always thicker the next day).
If you prefer a thicker chili, there are several methods for thickening.
- Slurry: Make a cornstarch and water slurry (equal amounts) and stir in as it the chili finishes cooking.
- Blender: Place a cup of the finished chili in a blender, and then return them to the pot. Beans are a very starchy food, and they thicken broths really well. Plus, you won’t dilute any of those fabulous flavors.
- Simmer Uncovered: And last but not least, you can simmer the chili uncovered like I do with my Instant Pot Chili!
What Goes With Chili
Chili is a filling meal. You could increase the healthfulness by serving it over brown rice or quinoa. Toppings are also a great way to give your vegetarian chili the right finishing touch. These are some of my favorite toppings for chili:
- Sour cream
- Shredded jalapeno pepper jack cheese
- Crumbled corn chips
- Chopped green onions
- Chopped cilantro
Keep your pantry stocked with beans and tomato sauce, and you’ll always have the basis for this quick and oh-so-tasty vegetarian chili!
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 1 small carrot chopped
- 1 jalapeno seeded and minced
- 1 1/2 cups zucchini thinly sliced
- 4 oz mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 green pepper chopped
- 1 can kidney beans 15 oz
- 1 can diced tomatoes with juice 28 oz
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable juice
Cook onion and garlic in a large pot in olive oil 3-4 minutes or until tender.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer covered 20 minutes.
Uncover and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes or until thickened.
Serve with your favorite toppings.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)