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Vegetarian Chili: the delicious, easy recipe for a meat-free comfort dish

Total time: 70 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
By Cookist

If you're in the mood to make a hearty, comforting plant-based meal, there's nothing like a simple homemade vegetarian chili. This mouthwatering, easy-to-make vegetarian chili is bursting with a spicy, smoky flavor thanks to a combination of delicious spices, chili peppers, vegetables, and garlic. It's made with three types of beans and fire-roasted tomatoes, so it's an incredibly hearty dish that will satisfy both your taste buds and your hunger.

Homemade vegetarian chili is a killer dish to serve for large gatherings, game day, or when you want a cozy weeknight dinner. Serve it with a side of rice, potatoes, tortilla chips, or some crusty bread.

Homemade Vegetarian Chili Ingredients

Vegetarian chili is made with a trio of black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans cooked with fire-roasted tomatoes (for the perfect hint of smokiness), bell peppers, onions, and carrots.

Garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and cumin add loads of flavor to the dish, while minced jalapeno brings the heat.

It's typically served with some sour cream, cilantro, and cheese.

How to Make Vegetarian Chili

You won't believe how simple it is to make the best vegetarian chili you'll ever taste. Start by sauteing the onions, bell pepper, and carrots until they become soft. Mix in the garlic and jalapeno and cook them until fragrant.

Next, add the tomato paste to coat the veggies. Stir in tomatoes, beans, vegetable broth, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Let the chili come to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook it for half an hour. Serve your chili with a garnish of cilantro, cheese, and sour cream, and enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili Topping Ideas

This easy-to-make vegetarian chili is usually served with a dollop of sour cream, some freshly chopped cilantro, and grated cheddar cheese.

You can use parsley instead of cilantro, if you prefer, or do a mix of cheeses. Gouda, queso fresco, Swiss, mozzarella, and Jack are all tasty options.

For a pop of brightness, try adding a spritz of lime juice.

For extra crunch, sprinkle some chopped spring onions over the top.

What to Serve with Vegetarian Chili

Serve your chili over rice, French fries, potato wedges, baked potatoes, or nachos.

You can also serve it with a side of breadsticks, garlic knots, dinner rolls, or some crusty bread so you can mop your bowl clean!

Vegetarian Chili Variations

To make a vegan, dairy-free chili, use vegan cheese instead of regular cheese.

Add other vegetables for an even heartier chili. Eggplant, zucchini, squash, potatoes, broccoli, sweet potato, and pumpkin are all delicious.

You can also make your chili in a slow cooker. Cook it on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.

Tips for Making the Best Vegetarian Chili

If your chili isn't as thick as you'd like it to be, you can add a cornstarch slurry made from a 1:1 ratio of cornstarch and water, or mix in some flour.

For a spicier chili, add extra cayenne or chili powder to the dish.

For a smokier flavor, try adding some smoked paprika or ancho chili powder.

How to Store and Reheat Homemade Vegetarian Chili

Keep your chili in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. For long-term storage, freeze for up to 3 months.

To reheat, place the chili in a pot and heat it over medium until completely warmed through.

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Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp
medium yellow onion, chopped
Red bell pepper, chopped
carrots, peeled and finely chopped
Garlic, minced
3 cloves
jalapeño, finely chopped
Tomato paste
1 tbsp
pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5-oz can
black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5-oz can
kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5-oz can
fire-roasted tomatoes
1 28-oz can
Vegetable broth
3 cups
Chili powder
2 tbsp
Ground cumin
1 tbsp
Dried oregano
2 tsp
salt and pepper to taste
grated cheddar, for serving
sour cream, for serving
cilantro, for serving


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions.

Stir in the garlic.

Add in the bell pepper.

Add in the carrots for 5 minutes, or until soft.

Mix in the tomato paste. Stir in the jalapeno. Cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

Pour in the tomatoes.


Add in the pinto beans.

Stir in the black and kidney beans.

Add in the cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper.

Pour in the vegetable broth.

Let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.

Garnish with cheese

Add the cilantro.

Add the sour cream. Serve and enjoy!


If you're concerned about your salt intake, use low-sodium vegetable broth to make your chili.

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