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Healthy Vegetarian Chili Recipe

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This Vegetarian Chili recipe is utterly delicious, super healthy, and packed with vegetables, pantry staples, like beans and tomatoes– and is filled with smokey flavor!

Side view of Vegetarian Chili in a white Dutch oven with cornbread in the background

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So get out your soup pot and be ready to cook a batch of this Vegetarian Chili the next time the weather turns cold and you’re craving a bowl of warm comfort!

Or, the next time you need easy crowd food for a football game. Everyone will love this.

Side view of Vegetarian Chili in Staub Dutch Oven with Cast Iron Cornbread in the background

Vegetarian Chili Ingredients

The exact ingredient measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post– but here’s an overview of what you need to make this delicious pot of chili.

  • Olive oil for sautéing vegetables
  • Vegetables: onion, garlic, carrots, celery, bell peppers, and a jalapeno pepper (which is optional but brings delicious flavor).
  • Spices: chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, salt, and a bay leaf.
  • Pantry: diced tomatoes, black beans, and pinto beans
  • Herbs: fresh parsley or cilantro for serving and a squeeze of lime (optional).
Top view of uncooked vegetables for Vegetarian Chili in a Dutch oven

How to Make Vegetarian Chili

The ingredients in this easy vegetarian chili are super simple. But when cooked together, it creates the most delicious flavor. The smoked paprika gives it a unique, extra-savory element I absolutely love.

If you like spicy chili, be sure to add a jalapeno pepper or two, and do not discard the seeds. To keep it more mild, remove the seeds from the pepper.

Here’s how to make this pot of deliciousness (step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post):

  1. Sauté the vegetables in a bit of olive oil until softened. Season with salt as it cooks.
  2. Stir in the garlic and seasonings and cook until fragrant– about 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, beans, water, and bay leaf to the pot.
  4. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring as needed, for 30 minutes or until desired consistency.
Top view of uncooked Vegetarian Chili in a white Dutch oven with a wooden spoon
Uncooked Vegetarian Chili

I like to finish the chili with fresh chopped herbs, like parsley or cilantro, just before serving. It brightens the flavor. You can also squeeze in a bit of lime for a delicious hint of acidity that balances the flavors so well.

Closeup view of Vegetarian Chili in pot

And at my house, no chili is complete without a batch of Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread with honey butter.

How to Thicken Any Chili Recipe

This vegetarian chili recipe has the perfect consistency for me. But if you’ve ever made chili and wanted it thicker, as have we all, here are a couple of tips on how to thicken chili.

Add cornstarch or all-purpose flour: Cornstarch and all-purpose flour are common thickening agents and ingredients you likely already have on hand. The best way to thicken chili is to create a slurry of either cornstarch or all-purpose flour and water. Stir it into the chili as it cooking.

  1. Cornstarch: Whisk together 1 tablespoon cold water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Simmer in the chili for 10 minutes.
  2. All-purpose Flour: Whisk together 2 tablespoons cold water and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour. Simmer in the chili until thickened.

Other ways to thicken chili include:

  • Cooking it longer.
  • Add more vegetables which will naturally release starch into the chili and thicken it.
  • Stir in tomato paste.

NOTE: This chili recipe has not been thickened.

Chili Toppings

Chili toppings can be one of the best parts of the dish. Here are some ideas I like:

  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream, Greek yogurt, or crème fraîche
  • Diced avocado
  • Tortilla chips
  • Fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley
  • Lime wedges
Top view of cooked Vegetarian Chili in a Staub Dutch Oven
Cooked Chili with Cornbread

Leftover Chili?

If you make a batch and have leftovers, you are fortunate! Lunch and easy dinners are ready when you are. This chili keeps well for 4 days in the refrigerator.

Side view of Vegetarian Chili in a chili bowl with yogurt and shredded cheese

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Side view of Vegetarian Chili in a white Dutch oven with cornbread in the background

Healthy Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Vegetarian Chili recipe is utterly delicious, super healthy, and packed with vegetables, pantry staples, like beans and tomatoes-- and is filled with smokey flavor!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional for added heat)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (15 ounces) cans diced tomatoes with juices
  • 2 (15 ounces) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounces) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped onions, bell peppers, jalapeno (if using), carrots, and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softening, and the onion is translucent; about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano and cook until fragrant; about 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes with their juices, black and pinto beans, water, and bay leaf. Stir to combine and bring the chili to a simmer. Maintain a simmer and cook, stirring as needed, for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in fresh parsley or cilantro, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with favorite toppings. Squeeze a bit of lime into chili before serving for a pleasing balance of acidity.

Notes

If you love this recipe: You might also love my Healthy 20-Minute Chili and Healthy Beef Chili recipe.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 517mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 8gSugar: 9gProtein: 7g

31Daily.com occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although 31Daily.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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