Meet the best vegetarian chili recipe I've tasted! Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and fire-roasted tomatoes give it a delicious smoky kick.
This vegetarian chili is the ultimate cold weather comfort food. Once the temperature starts dropping, I start craving all sorts of cozy recipes. Lasagna, mac and cheese, eggplant Parmesan, you name it. But while I 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 30 minutes later to dish up a delicious vegetarian chili dinner.
Healthy and delicious, this is a great recipe for busy weeknights, game day, or any time you’re craving something cozy. Enjoy!
How to Make Vegetarian Chili
This vegetarian chili recipe is easy to make! It starts with these simple ingredients:
- Onion, garlic, and red bell pepper – These savory veggies build delicious flavor. For an even bigger veggie punch, toss in a chopped carrot or celery rib too!
- Fire-roasted diced tomatoes – A chili essential! I prefer fire-roasted tomatoes to regular diced ones because they add smoky depth to the chili.
- Pinto and kidney beans – Canned beans make this recipe SO simple to prepare, but you could also cook your beans from scratch. Feel free to change up the types of beans if you like. Black beans are also delicious here.
- Water or vegetable broth – It helps the chili cook down to a stewy, saucy consistency.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – These canned peppers are the star ingredient in this vegetarian chili recipe. They add AMAZING smoky, spicy flavor. For even more depth, stir in a teaspoon each of chili powder and cumin, but these spices are optional. The chipotles and adobo sauce add plenty of flavor on their own!
- Corn kernels – For color and crunch. Fresh and frozen corn both work well.
- Fresh lime juice – For bright, tangy flavor.
- And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Once you prep your ingredients, making this veggie chili is a breeze! You can find the complete recipe with measurements at the bottom of this post, but for now, here’s an overview of how it goes:
Start by sautéing the aromatics. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens, about 5 minutes. Then, add the pepper and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until it’s also soft. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Next, simmer. Add the diced tomatoes, beans, chipotles, adobo sauce, corn, water, and salt and pepper. Cover the pot and simmer for 25 minutes, until the chili thickens. Give it a good stir every 10 minutes or so.
Finally, season to taste. Add the lime juice and more salt and pepper as desired.
Top the plant-based chili with your favorite fixings, and dig in!
What to Serve with Vegetarian Chili
The toppings are half the fun of this vegetarian chili recipe! Load up your bowl with flavorful fixings such as these:
- A dollop of sour cream, vegan sour cream, or Greek yogurt
- Pickled red onions
- Sliced jalapeño or serrano chiles or pickled jalapeños
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sliced avocado or a scoop of guacamole
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!
How to Store Vegetarian Chili
This vegetarian chili keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavor improves as it sits in the fridge, so I actually like the leftovers better than the freshly cooked chili!
This recipe also freezes well for up to 3 months. Allow the veggie chili to cool to room temperature and transfer it to freezer-safe containers or jars, leaving an inch for it to expand at the top. Seal and freeze.
Allow frozen chili to thaw in the fridge before reheating it on the stove or in the microwave.
More Favorite Soup Recipes
If you love this veggie chili, try one of these delicious soups or stews next:
- Instant Pot Chili
- Black Bean Soup
- Best Lentil Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Vegetable Soup
- Creamy Potato Soup
- Carrot Ginger Soup
- Or any of these 35 Best Soup Recipes!
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, optional
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 (14-ounce) can kidney 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
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, a pinch of salt, and several grinds of pepper and stir. Cook until the onion is translucent, 5 minutes, then add the red pepper. Stir and cook until soft, 5 to 8 minutes, turning down the heat as needed.
- Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin, if using, and stir for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes, beans, water, chipotles, adobo sauce, corn, salt, and several 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.