You’ll fall in love after the first bite of The Best Vegetarian Chili. The aroma and flavors will summon you to devour every last drop of this delicious meal. It’s hearty and packed with protein that the entire family is going to enjoy.
I feel like you can never have too many options when it comes to chili! It’s great to serve with other foods like on top of rice or spaghetti (I’m looking at you Cincinnati), or you can enjoy a big hot bowl on a cold day. The best part is that this recipe is completely vegetarian (or vegan if you don’t top it with cheese), and you won’t even miss the meat! I promise!
- Avocado Oil – Cooking with avocado oil is a heaven send because it has a high smoke point. This means that you don’t’ have to worry about smoking up your kitchen, the nutrients degrading, and releasing harmful byproducts, as you do with other oils. Plus, it’s a great source of vitamin E.
- Onion – Chop up any variety of your favorite onion, and it will go perfectly with this dish. I typically use white, but any would work. They are loaded with potassium, vitamin C, folate, and more.
- Bay Leaves – You aren’t going to want to miss out on how well the bay leaves enhance this vegetarian chili.
- Seasonings – I recommend using a combination of spices and seasonings. Cumin, ground oregano, salt, black pepper, and chili powder are so amazingly good with the other ingredients. You can adjust them as you see fit.
- Bell Peppers – Using both red and green bell peppers in this homemade chili enhances the vibrant colors and adds to the way it tastes. Red peppers are usually sweeter, and it’s perfect in this dish!
- Zucchini- Adding another vegetable boosts the nutrition and heartiness of the chili.
- Chipotle Pepper – To add a little bit of spice, a chipotle pepper is a great idea. If you don’t like the heat, you can always omit it.
- Fire-Roasted Tomatoes – Make sure to get the tomatoes with the green chiles. The fire-roasted is going to give you an incredible smokey flavor that’s hard to beat.
- Tomato Paste – Using tomato paste is a great way to sneak in some nutrients without even trying. It has potassium, thiamin, magnesium, niacin, and vitamin C.
- Beans – This is where my vegetarian chili recipe really stands out. I use 3 different kinds of beans to get that satisfying result every time. Beans are so good for you! They have zinc, iron, folate, fiber, protein, and so much more.
- Toppings – While the toppings are totally optional, I wanted to share some yummy ideas with you. Shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, and avocados are my favorite, but you can really add anything you like. If you don’t use the cheese, this is actually a vegan chili!
HOW TO MAKE VEGETARIAN CHILI
1. Start by heating the avocado oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Once hot, add in the onions and add the bay leaves, oregano, salt, and pepper. Allow it to cook for 2 minutes or until the onions are tender.
2. Next up, add in the bell peppers, zucchini, chipotle pepper, and garlic. Let it cook, occasionally stirring for 5 minutes.
3. Pour in the tomatoes and the tomato paste. Sprinkle with chili powder and add in all of the beans. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once the chili has begun to boil, lower the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. It’s going to smell heavenly!
4. Serve with your favorite toppings, crusty bread, and enjoy!
FAQS ABOUT EASY VEGETARIAN CHILI
HOW LONG IS MEATLESS CHILI GOOD FOR?
Typically, this easy chili will last around 4-5 days in the fridge. Be sure to give it plenty of time to cool down after cooking. Then put it into a food container. Make sure it’s airtight and refrigerate.
If you can’t eat the chili within 5 days of cooking it, you are better off to freeze the rest. I recommend pouring the vegetarian chili in a plastic freezer bag and removing any air. Then let it lay flat for a few hours in the freezer until it’s frozen. Then you can easily move it around in the freezer to make more room. Don’t forget to label it, so you know what’s in the bag. It will last around 3 months.
HOW DO YOU REHEAT CHILI?
There are a couple of methods that work for heating up the vegetarian chili. If it’s frozen, you should thaw it overnight in the fridge.
Microwave Method: Place the chili in a microwave-safe bowl, and cover with a paper towel. Heat for 1 minute, stir and repeat until the chili is hot all the way through. The cooking time is going to be affected depending on how much you are warming at once.
Stove-Top Method: Pour the chili, not a pot, and turn the heat to low-medium. Stir occasionally and heat until it’s the temperature you want. Don’t heat it too fast, or you will risk burning it to the bottom of the pan. Low and slow is the best way for this method.
IS THIS CHILI RECIPE GLUTEN-FREE?
Yes, this is a fantastic gluten-free chili recipe that you will want time and time again.
While you are at it, check out some more of my popular chili recipes: Crockpot Vegan Chili, Slow Cooker Turkey Barbecue Chili and Quick & Easy Chicken Pumpkin Chili are all lovely options to fill up on.
If you try this recipe, please leave a star rating in the comments! It’s SO helpful for other readers to see which recipes have been tried and true. I appreciate you. I’d also love to stay connected on Instagram (tag me if you make a recipe to be featured!) and Facebook.Print
The Best Vegetarian Chili
This spicy Vegetarian Chili is thick, hearty, and full of flavor.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: recipes
- Method: stoptop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons ground oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large zucchini, sliced and cut into quarters
- 1 chipotle pepper, chopped (optional)* (NOTE 1)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 (28 ounce) cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles* (NOTE 2)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans
- Optional topping ideas: shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, avocado
- Heat the avocado oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir until onion is tender, about 2 minutes.
- Add the green and red bell peppers, zucchini, chipotle pepper, and garlic and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and season with chili powder. Stir in the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Note 1: The chipotle pepper (I used canned with adobe sauce) adds spice. You can remove it if you’d like this less spicy. Removing the seeds will also lessen the heat.
Note 2: If you prefer a chili that isn’t as thick, add another can of diced tomatoes.
Keywords: best vegetarian chili