Meet the best vegetarian chili recipe I’ve tasted! Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and fire-roasted tomatoes give it a delicious smoky kick.
Once the temperature starts dropping, I start craving comfort food. Lasagna, Mac and Cheese, Eggplant Parmesan, you name it. But while I love love love all of those things, some nights I want to get my comfort food fix with as little work as possible. That’s where this easy vegetarian chili recipe comes in.
Like any good veggie chili, it’s hearty, warming, smoky, and spicy. Made with a short list of pantry ingredients, it packs in a hefty amount of veggies, but it’s so yummy that even a meat lover will fall for it (just ask Jack!). To make it, you only need to do a few minutes of hands-on prep. Then, let it simmer away on its own – you can check back in 30 minutes later to dish up a delicious vegetarian chili dinner.
Easy and satisfying, this is a great recipe for busy weeknights, game day, or any time you’re craving something cozy. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Chili Recipe Ingredients
My vegetarian chili recipe is filled with the chili essentials: onion, garlic, red bell pepper, pinto and kidney beans, lime, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. For a colorful twist, I add in corn kernels. Fresh or frozen corn works equally well, adding pops of yellow and a little crunch.
Then, instead of stirring in regular diced tomatoes, I add fire roasted diced tomatoes. A pantry staple in my kitchen, fire roasted tomatoes are my first pick anytime I use diced tomatoes in a recipe. They have the same concentrated tomato flavor, but they also add an irresistible smokiness to whatever you’re making, which is really delicious in this chili recipe.
Finally, in lieu of chili powder, I use canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. They’re super smoky, spicy, and savory, which makes for one darn good bowl of veggie chili. If you’ve never used them before, you can find them in the Mexican section of most grocery stores. Use any leftovers in my favorite chipotle sauce, BBQ sandwiches, or vegan nachos!
Once you prep your ingredients, making this recipe is easy! Just sauté the onion, garlic, and peppers, stir in the remaining ingredients, and simmer until the chili thickens to your desired consistency. Finish it off with a big squeeze of lime, and dig in!
Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days (they get more flavorful with time!), or freeze them for even longer.
Vegetarian Chili Serving Suggestions
My favorite part of making vegetarian chili is loading it up with toppings! I especially love this recipe with a dollop of Greek yogurt to cool the heat from the smoky chipotles. I like to finish it with pickled onions, sliced chiles, and cilantro. Feel free to get creative with your toppings – shredded cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, avocado, guacamole, or charred corn kernels would all be great.
Enjoy a bowl of this chili on its own, or pair it with tortilla chips, cornbread, or a baked sweet potato for a heartier meal. Or, for a fun game day snack, top it onto sweet potato wedges to make sweet potato chili fries!
Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe Variations
I love this recipe as written, but if you’re particular about your chili, change it up to suit your preferences! Here are a few easy variations:
- Use your favorite beans. I’ve been known to make this recipe with everything ranging from black beans to chickpeas, and it always comes out great. Use your favorite beans (or whatever you have in your pantry) instead of the pinto and/or kidney beans.
- Add extra veggies. Do you love a veggie-heavy chili? Add a stalk of celery or carrots to the pot along with the onion.
- Spice to your level. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can vary in spice level, so if you’re sensitive to spice, start with less than the recipe calls for. You can always add more!
How do you like your vegetarian chili? Let me know in the comments!
If you love this vegetarian chili recipe…
Easy Vegetarian Chili
Author: Jeanine Donofrio
Recipe type: Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 (14-ounce) can red beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup water or broth
- 3 chipotle peppers from canned chipotles in adobo, diced, plus 3 tablespoons sauce*
- 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, plus wedges for serving
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, a few pinches of salt and pepper, and stir. Cook until the onion is translucent, 5 minutes, then add the garlic and red pepper. Stir and cook until soft, 5 to 8 minutes, turning the heat down as needed.
- Add the tomatoes, beans, water, chipotles, adobo sauce, corn, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chili has thickened.
- Stir in the lime juice and season to taste. Serve with desired toppings.
*Chipotle peppers vary in spice level. If you’re sensitive to spice, start with less. If you love spice, add more to taste. If your chili is too spicy, add more lime juice and a bit of olive oil to tone it down.