- Food: Vegetarian Chili (Gluten-free)
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-type: Food Blog
It has been bitterly cold outside for days. All I want to eat right now is warm, comforting food like this vegetarian chili. It’s a personal favorite of mine, and leftovers are even delicious the next day.
Because it’s a substantial meatless alternative that carnivores will like, this chili is ideal for watching football games with a crowd. Plus, if you choose your toppings wisely, it can be vegan and gluten-free. This chili is sure to please.
This dish was first published four years ago. It’s also been your favorite chili recipe since then (four-hundred reviews and counting).
When you told me it won your chili competition, I was ecstatic, and I enjoy hearing that it’s become a family favorite. Hooray!
What’s the Best Vegetarian Chili Recipe?
While the chili recipe’s ingredients are simple, the flavor is anything else. When you start with aromatics like onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, simple ingredients may taste extraordinary.
For a flavorful, smoky taste, I used traditional chili spices and smoked paprika. Delicious plant-based protein and heaviness come from canned beans and tomatoes.
Blending a tiny bit of the chili gives it the appearance and flavor of a chili that has been boiling all morning, but it only takes about 30 minutes. That’s a tip I picked up from my lentil soup, which is also a great option for cold days.
The chili is made even more vivid and fresh by finishing it with a dash of sherry vinegar (or lime juice) and fresh cilantro. The vinegar adds acidity and depth to the dish, and it makes all the difference.
As written, this chili is dairy-free and vegan. Vegan toppings like sliced avocado and tortilla chips can help you keep it that way.
Here’s a whole list of possibilities:
- cheddar cheese, grated
- crème fraîche or sour cream
- Avocado, sliced or diced
- Chips made with tortillas (crumbled if desired)
- a little more cilantro
- slices of lime
The leftovers from this chili stores well in the refrigerator for four days. Simply reheat your chili in a bowl and serve.
This chili is also delicious as a protein-packed topping for nachos, baked potatoes, or oven-baked fries. Chili can be stuffed into burritos or quesadillas. What’s to stop you?
|Time to Prepare: 20 minutes
Time to prepare: 40 minutes
1-hour total time
Approximately 4 to 6 servings of Chili (one time)
This easy vegetarian chili’s smokey, rich taste comes from pantry staples, vegetables, and spices! It also makes excellent leftovers. This recipe makes enough chili for 4 big or 6 moderate portions.
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 teaspoon salt, split 4 garlic cloves, crushed or minced 1 medium red onion, diced 1 large red bell pepper,
- chopped 2 medium carrots, chopped 2 ribs celery, chopped
- chile powder (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano 12 tablespoons smoked paprika*
- 1 big can (28 ounces) of chopped tomatoes** (with juices) or 2 small cans (15 ounces each)
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) of washed and drained black beans
- 1 can (15 ounces) washed and drained pinto beans
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 leaf of bay
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sherry, red wine, or lime juice, to taste
- Chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, sour cream or crème fraîche, shredded cheddar cheese, and other garnishes can be added.
Instructions For Vegetarian Chili
- Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot, and celery, as well as 14 tsp of salt. Stir to combine and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the veggies are soft and the onion is transparent.
- Combine the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano in a large mixing bowl. Cook for 1 minute, stirring regularly, until aromatic.
- Combine the chopped tomatoes with their juices, the drained black and pinto beans, vegetable broth, and bay leaf in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine, then reduce to a low heat to bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and decreasing heat as needed to maintain a medium simmer.
- Remove the bay leaf and remove the chili from the heat. Transfer 12 cups of the chili to a blender, including some of the liquid portion, for the best texture and flavor. Secure the top and blend until smooth (careful of the hot steam), then return the mixed mixture to the pot. (Alternatively, you may use an immersion blender or a potato masher to mash the chili until it reaches a thicker, more chili-like consistency.)
- Stir in the chopped cilantro, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Season with salt to taste—I used another 14 tsp at this point. Divide the mixture into individual bowls and top with desired toppings. This chili will keep for approximately 4 days in the refrigerator, or you may freeze it for longer storage.
- MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE/VEGAN: As written, this chili recipe is vegan. Make sure to use vegan or dairy-free toppings like avocado and tortilla chips.
- SPICE: If you are sensitive to spice or are using particularly robust spices (I’ve heard that chili powder purchased outside of the United States may be rather spicy), you may want to reduce the amount of spice used in this recipe. Start with half of the specified amounts and adjust to taste. Having said that, I prefer spicy food and thought this chili to be well-balanced in its current form.
- NOTE ON CANNED TOMATOES: Muir Glen brand has the greatest flavor and their cans are BPA-free!