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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!

Anjali Shah

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili EVER!

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This is the BEST Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili ever! It’s smoky and hearty, rich and spicy. It is family-friendly, ready in 30 minutes, and will satisfy both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Made with 3 types of beans, packed with veggies, and under 300 calories per serving!

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

This Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili is a family favorite in our house. It’s super easy to make and thanks to the Instant Pot, you end up with that cooked-all-day flavor in just about 30 minutes!

I’ve made this recipe for a crowd, or just for our family (and saved the leftovers for another day) and it turns out great every time!

The smokiness in this dish comes from two secret ingredients: unsweetened cocoa powder and smoked paprika. It’s got the deep flavor of traditional meat chilis, but is much healthier, gluten-free, and vegetarian friendly (and can easily be made vegan too).

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

ingredients for instant pot vegetarian chili

How To Make Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili – Step by Step

Step 1: Turn your instant pot to the Saute function, and add your olive oil, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Saute lightly for 2-3 minutes.

ingredients sauteeing in a pot

Step 2: Add everything else into the pot (beans through paprika in the list above) and stir to combine. Close your instant pot and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.

broth added to pot

Step 3: Once the pressure cooking is done, let it natural release for 5 minutes, then quick release the rest of the pressure.

soup being cooked in a pot

Step 4: Serve warm with any toppings you like! 1 Tbsp cheese, low fat sour cream or plain greek yogurt, diced tomatoes, green onions, or tortilla chips.

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

What Makes This Vegetarian Chili Healthy?

  • Fiber and Plant Protein: Thanks to the beans, this chili packs a ton of protein and fiber into each serving. Each serving has 9g protein and 10g fiber.
  • Vitamins and Nutrients: Beans are a heart healthy food that are a great source of iron, B vitamins, protein and fiber. Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, A, Potassium, Folate and Iron.
  • Low Calorie: This Instant Pot Chili is super filling and satisfying, but each serving has only 300 calories! That means you can go back for seconds completely guilt-free!

Will Kids Enjoy This Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili?

This recipe is SUPER kid friendly! Both of my kids gobble up this dish every time I make it. I create a toppings bar for this chili and let my kids pick out their own toppings – which they love to do.

I also tend to cut the veggies smaller when serving this to little kids so that it’s easier for them to chew. For super picky eaters, you can even puree the bell peppers/veggies with the tomatoes so they don’t see it, and reduce the spices as needed!

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

Toppings for This Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

There are so many options for toppings – the possibilities are almost endless! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Sour cream or Plain Greek Yogurt (use cashew cream for a vegan substitute!)
  • Sliced green onions or fresh cilantro
  • Shredded cheese or cojita cheese (omit if you want to make this vegan!)
  • Diced tomatoes or Salsa
  • Crushed tortilla chips or crackers
  • Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Brown rice or quinoa (more as a mix-in than a topping, but still tastes great and this is one of my kids’ favorite chili add-ins!)

What to Serve with Vegetarian Chili?

This chili is so hearty it stands on its own, but if you’re looking to round out the meal even further, here are some side dishes to pair it with:

  • A fresh garden salad
  • Cornbread
  • Brown Rice or Quinoa
  • Quesadillas (when cut into strips, can be great for dipping too!)

Storage and Freezing Tips

  • To store in the fridge: This recipe will keep an an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Make sure to store any toppings separately.
  • To freeze: Let the chili cool completely, then transfer into an airtight freezer safe container. You can freeze this recipe for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat after freezing: Let the chili thaw in the fridge and then defrost in the microwave using the defrost setting, or heat gently on the stovetop.
The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

Can You Make This Vegetarian Chili On The Stovetop?

Absolutely! Here are the directions for making this on the stovetop:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all of the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the thicker your chili will be.
  4. Serve hot!

Top Tips for Making Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

  • You can add any veggies you like into this chili. Think of it as a “clean out your fridge” recipe. If you increase the quantity of veggies, just make sure to increase the quantity of spices accordingly so that it’s not bland.
  • For additional greens, add one 5oz box of chopped baby spinach into this recipe at the same time you add all of the ingredients into the instant pot!
  • When you’re making this for kids, adjust the spices accordingly.
  • If you don’t have an instant pot, you can make this chili on the stovetop.
  • If you have a newer Instant Pot, keep in mind that they tend to display the “Burn” warning much more quickly than the older versions. If you have this model, You’d add the vegetable broth and all the spices immediately after step 1 and stir to combine. Then you’d add the rest of the ingredients (beans, tomatoes, etc) and do not stir until after cooking.
The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

Check Out These Other Instant Pot Recipes!

If you have tried this instant pot vegetarian chili recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese
Print Recipe
4.75 from 4 votes

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

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 Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 15 oz Kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 can
  • 15 oz Black beans, drained and rinsed 1 can
  • 15 oz Pinto beans, drained and rinsed 1 can
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes 1 large can
  • 1 heaping tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper more or less to taste
  • A couple splashes of soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt more or less to taste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp regular paprika
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, diced tomatoes, Plain Greek Yogurt (or Low Fat Sour Cream), tortilla chips

Instructions

  • Turn your instant pot to the Saute function, and add your olive oil, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Saute lightly for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add everything else into the pot (beans through paprika in the list above) and stir to combine. Close your instant pot and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes
  • Once the pressure cooking is done, let it natural release for 5 minutes, then quick release the rest of the pressure.
  • Serve warm with any toppings you like! 1 Tbsp cheese, low fat sour cream or plain greek yogurt, diced tomatoes, green onions, or tortilla chips.

Notes

Top Tips for Making Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
  • You can add any veggies you like into this chili. Think of it as a “clean out your fridge” recipe. If you increase the quantity of veggies, just make sure to increase the quantity of spices accordingly so that it’s not bland.
  • For additional greens, add one 5oz box of chopped baby spinach into this recipe at the same time you add all of the ingredients into the instant pot!
  • When you’re making this for kids, adjust the spices accordingly.
  • If you don’t have an instant pot, you can make this chili on the stovetop.
  • If you have a newer Instant Pot, keep in mind that they tend to display the “Burn” warning much more quickly than the older versions. If you have this model, You’d add the vegetable broth and all the spices immediately after step 1 and stir to combine. Then you’d add the rest of the ingredients (beans, tomatoes, etc) and do not stir until after cooking.

To Make on the Stovetop: 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all of the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the thicker your chili will be.
  4. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 2ladles | Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.8g | Protein: 18.1g | Fat: 1.7g | Sodium: 800mg | Fiber: 20.2g | Sugar: 4.3g

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280 responses to “The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili EVER!”

  1. Hi!
    Going to try your chili this weekend with friends. Is the corriander in the recipe corriander seed (whole or ground?) or is it the leaf variety (cilantro)? Thanks much!

    • Hi Claire! Sorry for the slight delay in getting back to you. This recipe calls for ground coriander seed (it’s not the leaf variety). Hope that helps!

  2. Hello!
    I live in Russia with a meat eater. When I need a meat substitute I use buckwheat kasha. After I sauté the onions in Olive oil on low heat, I add kasha with adzhika. Adzhika is a paste that replaces cumin, red pepper, coriander. I do add cinnamon with the chocolate powder as you do. Normally chili is unheard of here, but I do make it to give her a taste of US food. After about halfway through she sometimes asks if the meal might be vegetarian. I also make Italian style meatballs with buckwheat kasha.

  3. Thank you for posting this! Quick and so tasty. I topped it with a dollop of sour cream. It made a lot, so I froze some. Great recipe. So cool that there’s a touch of cocoa in it.

    • Thanks Barb!! So happy you liked this recipe (I also love how easy and fast it is to make!) Oh and this freezes really well so I’m sure it’ll taste great when you heat it up again 🙂

  4. OMG!!! The absolute best chili recipe ever! I’ve tried a ton of recipes since becoming a vegetarian a few years ago and none compare to this one. I was cooking for folks with gluten issues so omitted the soy sauce but I added mushrooms and chopped tempeh which I sautéed with the other veggies. I also added a small can of diced tomatoes with green chilis and served with brown rice. All I can say is yummo! Everyone loved it!

    • Woohoo!! This is so wonderful to hear Andie! I’m so glad you liked this recipe – and I love the addition of the mushrooms & tempeh! I bet that gave it an even earthier flavor 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  5. I made this last night! So quick and easy! I am entering it into a chili cook-off tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it scores against the meat ones!

  6. Wow, lady, this recipe is a real winner! I don’t think that I can thank you enough. For me, I needed something vegetarian in a pinch because I was having 5 friends over and two of them don’t eat meat. Well, you came to the rescue here. Your recipe worked out PERFECTLY, mostly because of the smoky flavor; it was reminiscent of meat. The recipe was a unanimous hit. This was the best vegetarian chili that any of the company had ever had. They wanted to know my secret (unsweetened cocoa powder and soy sauce) —- but I’m not ready to tell them the real secret yet, which is that the recipe isn’t even mine!

    • Haha!! This is an awesome story — thank you so much for sharing it with me Anjelika! I’m so glad you and your friends loved this recipe! 🙂

  7. This is my favorite chili recipe! But I noticed you said that corn bread wasn’t healthy.
    I alter this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/vegan-cornbread-115929 by replacing the sugar with stevia or maple syrup and the canola with olive oil. I also use gluten-free flour and sometimes swap out flax for chia seeds (which don’t need to be ground or boiled before use).

    They’re delicious and fluffy and actually very good for you! Just thought you might like a heads up.

    • So glad you like this recipe! And yes typically, most traditional cornbread recipes aren’t healthy because of all of the butter and sugar! Thanks for the tips for lightening it up – I’ll have to try it sometime!

  8. This was really great chili! I love the chocolate for sure. The only modification I made was adding Masa Harina as well to thicken it up some. Served it at our weekly Martini Monday with sour cream, green onions, black olives, grated cheese and siracha on the side. Thanks!

    • Hi Christina!! I’m so glad you liked this recipe! Love the modifications you made and the additional toppings too! 🙂

  9. Hi- I have two friends coming over for movie night Friday- one is gluten and dairy free, the other is vegetarian so I think this is the perfect dish for Southern California fall along with scary movie night. I would like to make it in the crock pot while we are shopping and so I don’t have to cook while we watch movies. Recommendations on how to make this in the crock pot? Do I sauté veggies before putting them in the pot and then add all the other ingredients and turn on low for around 6 hours?

    So excited to try this and feed it to my meat loving boyfriend 🙂 Heading to trader joes to get the bread mix today as well as I’ve never tried it and I can’t get it off my mind since reading this post 😉

    • Hi Jessica! So yes! For the crock pot, you should definitely sauté the veggies + garlic before hand, and then put them in the pot with all of the other ingredients and simmer for as long as you want! I can’t wait to hear how you and your boyfriend (and your friends!) like this recipe! Keep me posted on how it goes! 🙂

  10. Hi, Anjali! I want to make this chili today for my fella’s birthday, and I have a question. What size are the cans of beans that you use? Thanks! I can’t wait to make it! Betsy

  11. This sounds and looks delicious! We will be having a chili cook-off with our church family in a week and a half, and I am planning to make this! Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh that’s awesome! You’ll have to let me know how this recipe fares against the other chili in the cook-off Rebecca!! Have fun and I hope you love this recipe!

  12. My extremely carnivorous husband, who has been known to go to parties and fill his plate with meat and meat alone, LOVED this. We are having a chili cook off at work next week and I was challenged to bring a veg chili to enter. This is it.

    • Wooohooo! That is so great Samantha! Especially that your meat-loving husband loved this recipe! I can’t wait to hear how the chili cook off goes — keep me posted on whether you win! 🙂

  13. I just made this tonight, since my family is trying to eat vegetarian/vegan meals at least a few times a week. I added mushrooms and it was delicious! I will make this again.

    • Awesome!! Love the addition of mushrooms — I bet it made the chili even more earthy/meaty tasting. So glad you liked the recipe! 🙂

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