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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

The Best Vegetarian Chili EVER!

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My husband has always been a bit skeptical of vegetarian chilis.

The classic response from him when I make a vegetarian chili recipe is: *taste* *pause* “this is pretty good. but it’s not chili.”

My theory is that he responds this way because he used to eat meat (he turned vegetarian at age 15) and probably never got used to the non-meat flavor in veggie chili. I think most veggie chilis don’t have that smoky, thick, meaty consistency, which also makes it hard for chili-lovers to get on board.

making the very best vegetarian chili. quick easy healthy recipes, healthy food for picky eaters kids, healthy delicious food recipes, healthy meal ideas for kids, healthy food recipes for

BUT: This recipe blew my husband, the veggie-chili-skeptic, away. He no longer responded with “this isn’t chili,” but instead said “this is really good!” He even went back for seconds. It’s got the deep flavor of traditional meat chilis, but is much healthier and vegetarian friendly.

The smokiness in this dish came from a recipe I found on Kath Eats. The secret is adding a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder to the recipe, and honestly it makes a big difference. I made quite a few modifications to Kath’s recipe, and added a few other ingredients to enhance the smokiness (like smoked paprika – so good!)

making the very best vegetarian chili. quick easy healthy recipes, healthy food for picky eaters kids, healthy delicious food recipes, healthy meal ideas for kids, healthy food recipes for

I also served my chili with fun toppings like Greek Yogurt (tastes just like sour cream!), shredded cheese, green onions, diced tomatoes, and crushed tortilla chips.

Oh and did I mention, this is SUPER kid friendly too? Layla gobbles up this dish every time I make it, and she will be happy eating it for dinner for literally four days in a row. This recipe freezes really well too – so sometimes I’ll make a double batch and freeze half for an easy weeknight dinner when I’m in a rush!

Kitchen Tools I Used for This Recipe: 

The Ingredients

  • (1) 15oz can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed (if you like a chunkier chili, use 2 cans here)
  • (1) 15oz can Black beans, drained and rinsed
  • (1) 15oz can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp Ghirardelli cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp (or a bit less) cayenne pepper
  • A couple splashes of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp regular paprika
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, diced tomatoes, o% Greek Yogurt (or Low Fat/Fat Free Sour Cream), tortilla chips

making the very best vegetarian chili. quick easy healthy recipes, healthy food for picky eaters kids, healthy delicious food recipes, healthy meal ideas for kids, healthy food recipes for

The Directions

Step 1: Chop the garlic, onion, and bell peppers. Saute lightly over medium high heat in 1-2 tsp olive oil. Meanwhile, wash the beans until all of the canning liquid is gone. 

making the very best vegetarian chili. quick easy healthy recipes, healthy food for picky eaters kids, healthy delicious food recipes, healthy meal ideas for kids, healthy food recipes for

making the very best vegetarian chili. quick easy healthy recipes, healthy food for picky eaters kids, healthy delicious food recipes, healthy meal ideas for kids, healthy food recipes for

Step 2: Once the veggies have sauteed for about 5 minutes, add everything else into the pot (tomatoes, beans, spices, etc.). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min or longer as needed.

making the very best vegetarian chili. quick easy healthy recipes, healthy food for picky eaters kids, healthy delicious food recipes, healthy meal ideas for kids, healthy food recipes for

Step 3: Once the chili is done cooking, you can top it with anything you like: 1 Tbsp cheese, fat free sour cream or 0% greek yogurt, or tortilla chips.

The nutritional info for this chili is pretty great. This recipe makes 12 ladles of soup, and each ladle has ~150 calories, 9g protein and 10g fiber. So you could go back for seconds and even thirds, completely guilt-free! And I promise, you will feel totally full and satisfied after (the meat eaters will love it too!)

making the very best vegetarian chili. quick easy healthy recipes, healthy food for picky eaters kids, healthy delicious food recipes, healthy meal ideas for kids, healthy food recipes for

Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

The Best Vegetarian Chili EVER!

This recipe blew my husband, the veggie-chili-skeptic, away. He no longer responded with “this isn’t chili,” but instead said “this is really good!” He even went back for seconds. It’s got the deep flavor of traditional meat chilis, but is much healthier and vegetarian friendly.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 300kcal

Ingredients

  • 15 oz Kidney beans, drained and rinsed (if you like a chunkier chili, use 2 cans here) 1 can
  • 15 oz Black beans, drained and rinsed 1 can
  • 15 oz Pinto beans, drained and rinsed 1 can
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes 1 large can
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Ghirardelli cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp or a bit less cayenne pepper
  • A couple splashes of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp regular paprika
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, diced tomatoes, o% Greek Yogurt (or Low Fat/Fat Free Sour Cream), tortilla chips

Instructions

  • Chop the garlic, onion, and bell peppers. Saute lightly over medium high heat in 1-2 tsp olive oil. Meanwhile, wash the beans until all of the canning liquid is gone.
  • Once the veggies have sauteed for about 5 minutes, add everything else into the pot (tomatoes, beans, spices, etc.). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min or longer as needed.
  • Once the chili is done cooking, you can top it with anything you like: 1 Tbsp cheese, fat free sour cream or 0% greek yogurt, diced tomatoes, green onions, or tortilla chips.

Notes

Adapted from KathEats.com

Nutrition

Serving: 2ladles | Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.8g | Protein: 18.1g | Fat: 1.7g | Sodium: 800mg | Fiber: 20.2g | Sugar: 4.3g
making the very best vegetarian chili. quick easy healthy recipes, healthy food for picky eaters kids, healthy delicious food recipes, healthy meal ideas for kids, healthy food recipes for

Posted In…

Entrees ·

From healthy versions of favorites to cozy curries, these main courses are sure to bring some new recipes to your family’s table.

279 responses to “The Best Vegetarian Chili EVER!”

  1. Hi! I have been using this recipe for a couple years now and it is hands down the BEST vegetarian chili EVER!! I do have one question you may or may not know…. I just got an instant pot and I’m wondering if this recipe will convert well? Any suggestions?5 stars

    • Hooray!! I’m so happy to hear that! For the instant pot, I’d saute the veggies and spices together first on low for about 5 minutes, then add in the beans/broth/etc. And then I’d probably pressure cook it for only 3-5 minutes if you’re using canned beans, natural release for 5 minutes and then manual release, so they don’t get too soft! Hope that helps!

  2. We love this chili. I was at a Wholefoods cooking class in Fremont when you presented this recipe and we are still cooking it up in 2018!

  3. Anjali,
    Our family (both vegetarians and non) all loved this Chili – so much so that there were no leftovers! We will definitely make this again.

    • Woohoo!! That’s so wonderful to hear Brenda!! 🙂 This chili freezes really well so if you want you can always make a double batch next time and freeze half for a rainy day! 🙂

    • Thanks Dev!! I agree the chocolate gives it that extra deep, smoky quality – similar to a mole sauce! So glad you liked it!!

  4. Hi,
    I myself am a vegan and this recipe is absolutely awesome. It’s spicy and delicious. Not a fan of corn though!

    • That’s great! For the corn – you can always substitute it for something else (another veggie that you do like!)

    • Yay!! I can’t wait for you to try this recipe Jessica – it’s one of our favorites 🙂 I’m sure you will love it!

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