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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Ann Arbor, MI!); 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 See what I'm eating this week

The Best Vegetarian Chili EVER!

vegetarian chili recipe

My husband has always been a bit skeptical of vegetarian chilis.

The classic response from him when I make a vegetarian chili recipe is: *taste* *pause* “this is pretty good. but it’s not chili.”

My theory is that he responds this way because he used to eat meat (he turned vegetarian at age 15) and probably never got used to the non-meat flavor in veggie chili. I think most veggie chilis don’t have that smoky, thick, meaty consistency, which also makes it hard for chili-lovers to get on board.

vegetarian chili recipe

BUT: 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.

The smokiness in this dish came from a recipe I found on Kath Eats. The secret is adding a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder to the recipe, and honestly it makes a big difference. I made quite a few modifications to Kath’s recipe, and added a few other ingredients to enhance the smokiness (like smoked paprika – so good!)

vegetarian chili recipe

I also served my chili with fun toppings like Greek Yogurt (tastes just like sour cream!), shredded cheese, green onions, diced tomatoes, and crushed tortilla chips.

Oh and did I mention, this is SUPER kid friendly too? Layla gobbles up this dish every time I make it, and she will be happy eating it for dinner for literally four days in a row. This recipe freezes really well too – so sometimes I’ll make a double batch and freeze half for an easy weeknight dinner when I’m in a rush!

The Ingredients

  • (1) 15oz can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed (if you like a chunkier chili, use 2 cans here)
  • (1) 15oz can Black beans, drained and rinsed
  • (1) 15oz can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp Ghirardelli cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp (or a bit less) cayenne pepper
  • A couple splashes of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp regular paprika
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, diced tomatoes, o% Greek Yogurt (or Low Fat/Fat Free Sour Cream), tortilla chips

The Directions

Step 1: Chop the garlic, onion, and bell peppers. Saute lightly over medium high heat in 1-2 tsp olive oil. Meanwhile, wash the beans until all of the canning liquid is gone. 

Step 2: Once the veggies have sauteed for about 5 minutes, add everything else into the pot (tomatoes, beans, spices, etc.). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min or longer as needed.

Step 3: Once the chili is done cooking, you can top it with anything you like: 1 Tbsp cheese, fat free sour cream or 0% greek yogurt, or tortilla chips.

The nutritional info for this chili is pretty great. This recipe makes 12 ladles of soup, and each ladle has ~150 calories, 9g protein and 10g fiber. So you could go back for seconds and even thirds, completely guilt-free! And I promise, you will feel totally full and satisfied after (the meat eaters will love it too!)

vegetarian chili recipe

The Best Vegetarian Chili EVER!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 ladles of chili, or 6 servings

Serving Size: 2 ladles

Calories per serving: 300

Fat per serving: 1.7g

Nutritional Information Per Serving (2 ladles of chili, 1/6 of the recipe): 300 Calories, 1.7g Fat, 800mg Sodium, 61.8g Carbs, 20.2g Fiber, 4.3g Sugar, 18.1g Protein

Ingredients

  • (1) 15oz can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed (if you like a chunkier chili, use 2 cans here)
  • (1) 15oz can Black beans, drained and rinsed
  • (1) 15oz can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp Ghirardelli cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp (or a bit less) cayenne pepper
  • A couple splashes of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp regular paprika
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, diced tomatoes, o% Greek Yogurt (or Low Fat/Fat Free Sour Cream), tortilla chips

Instructions

  1. Chop the garlic, onion, and bell peppers. Saute lightly over medium high heat in 1-2 tsp olive oil. Meanwhile, wash the beans until all of the canning liquid is gone.
  2. Once the veggies have sauteed for about 5 minutes, add everything else into the pot (tomatoes, beans, spices, etc.). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min or longer as needed.
  3. Once the chili is done cooking, you can top it with anything you like: 1 Tbsp cheese, fat free sour cream or 0% greek yogurt, diced tomatoes, green onions, or tortilla chips.

Notes

Adapted from KathEats.com

https://www.pickyeaterblog.com/the-best-vegetarian-chili-ever/

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279 responses to “The Best Vegetarian Chili EVER!”

      • Quorn is actually a brand name for a meat substitute. It’s made from a member of the fungi family (like mushrooms and truffles) and is a high-quality meat-free protein that’s naturally low in fat, with very few calories. In UK, you can get sausages, mince meat, burgers etc. all made from quorn . I use the quorn mincemeat to make chilli or even cottage pie. I have seen similar products in USA with different brands but can’t remember the name. Check it out on Google. My kids love it but I can’t eat it as it looks too much like the real thing!!

        Mina

            • I actually didn’t end up trying this because I started avoiding meat substitutes altogether in an attempt to eat more whole foods and less processed foods. But Quorn is one of the less processed meat alternatives out there (e.g. it doesn’t have soy protein isolate in it) – so that is good!

              • Just a quick update: Quorn is currently being sued for their products containing “mold” that has caused illness and in rare cases, death, for people who have had an allergic reaction to the mold in their products! The mold in Quorn is from mycoprotein, which is part of the mold/fungus family. You can read the details here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/01/29/there-could-be-mold-in-your-vegan-meat.html — it’s unclear whether Quorn is actually harmful because of the mycoprotein or if it’s just mislabeled and that it needs to have a clearer allergy label on the packaging. But either way, I wouldn’t recommend Quorn because while it is less processed than many meat alternative brands, it is still pretty processed. Here is an example of the ingredients list for their veggie bacon product: Mycoprotein (49%), Rehydrated Egg White, Canola Oil, Salt. Contains 2% or less of Vegetable Glycerin, Natural Flavors from non-Meat Sources, Smoke Flavor, Paprika Extract (color), Guar Gum, Carob Gum, Maize Maltodextrin, Potato Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Potassium Chloride, Tapioca Dextrin, Gum Arabic, Coconut Oil, Modified Maize Starch, Sugar, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Modified Tapioca Starch, Calcium Lactate, Silicon Dioxide, Malt Extract. Ascorbic Acid. Hope that helps!

  1. That looks amazing! I saw it on KERF and considered trying it, now with a second endorsement I’m sold on it! I am often looking for recipes that will make both my omnivore husband and my vegetarian mother-in-law happy. This one looks like a winner!

  2. That looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve never thought of using different varieties of beans before. Like you though, I would also omit the okra (not a fan) and the red pepper seems like a perfect substitute.

  3. I made this chili over the weekend… a double portion (so 2x of everything) and it turned out AMAZING! I loved all the substitute ingredients– really think it made a huge difference, since I love onions and red peppers.

  4. I found this recipe from a search engine… I just made it (following your adjustments) and it is DELICIOUS!!!!! Definitely a keeper. Thanks so much!

    • Yes – you definitely can! I think the flavors would taste great after being slow cooked for a while.

    • Nice! Yeah I used to make it without the cocoa/soy sauce too – but I found that these two ingredients make the recipe super super smoky (which my husband loves 🙂 )

  5. Yum, this looks like the perfect thing to make for dinner tonight…we woke up to new snow! I have a yummy sweet potato cornbread recipe I will have to share.

  6. I’ve been toying with different chili recipes for years and have always liked but never loved any of the results. This recipe is definitely next on my quest for the perfect chili. Thanks for sharing it!

  7. I just made this chili recipe – trusting that it would be the best vegetarian chili recipe ever as I have made other recipes of yours and you have not failed me yet! I have made many veggie chili recipes in the past and have been disappointed like your husband…. I’ve even made my own tried and true chili recipe with the veggie ground meat and it just didn’t cut it. I must say, this IS absolutely the best vegetarian chili recipe ever! You don’t miss the meat at all!

    • Wooohoooo!!!!! That is SO great to hear – I’m so happy you loved it! I really think it’s the smokiness of the chili that makes it so delicious. My hubby is happy you agree with him 🙂

  8. Absolutely delicious veggie chili! My fiancé (a meat-loving guy who didn’t think it was possible to enjoy a vegetarian chili) LOVES this stuff. Yesterday, I entered it in my company’s chili cook off in the veg catagory & got my butt kicked by an Emeril recipe (avail at foodtv.com). However, I brought a bowl of the winning chili home & the fiancé took 2 bites, gave the Emeril chili back to me & fixed himself a big bowl of this chili instead. Moral of the story: One chili will never please all of the people all of the time.

    • Yay!! I’m soo glad you liked it – what a great story too – totally agree – you can’t make everyone happy all the time! 🙂

  9. I made this last week. It was the best chili I’ve ever tasted!!!! I added quorn to it for an extra shot of protein and texture. It was amazing!

    • That’s awesome!! I bet the husband would like the addition of quorn or soy crumbles too. So glad you liked it!!

  10. Thanks for this great recipe! I had been looking for a vegetarian chili recipe that includes cocoa powder, but many of the recipes I found called for a bunch of other weird ingredients. I made this last night, and it was easy to make and tasted great! I’ll definitely be repeating this recipe.

    • Woohoo! So glad to hear that – I absolutely love the cocoa powder in this recipe, I think it makes a world of difference. Hope this becomes a staple in your kitchen like it is in mine! 🙂

  11. I’ve gave this a shot (of course, I skipped the items I don’t like, or ones I didn’t have at hand), and it turned out great! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Sweet! And yes – I’m so glad you modified it to suit your tastes – how did your hubby like it?

  12. I just made this last night and it was AMAZING!!! Definitely the best chili I’ve ever made! Thank you for sharing this recipe! 🙂

  13. This chili is currently simmering on my stove. It looks amazing and smells amazing! Thanks for the recipe!!! I look forward to trying many more!

  14. My hubby cringed at the mention of veggie chili for dinner tonight, however after the first spoonful he was sold on it. He even agreed to 15 meat free days. The chili was very satisfying and it was great with avocado slices, a very small amount of thinly shredded mozzarella, and a few tri-colored tortilla strips, no cornbread needed!!! Yummy!

    • Oh my gosh, that is so great!! 15 meat free days straight?? That’s awesome – you have to let me know how it goes. Love the toppings you added as well – the avocado sounds wonderful and I bet it added a great cooling element to the chili. 🙂

  15. Can’t wait to try this recipe this Sunday in my crock pot. Bringing to my son and daughter-in-law’s home(they are new to the vegetarian way of eating…for about six months) for his birthday dinner. The problem being that his dad and brother and future daughter-in-law, all meat eaters will be there, too. They love spicy meaty chili. I am sure they will love it after one bite! Never used soy crumbles and wondering if it would ruin your recipe? Are they gummy when cooked? Have heard aboutusing the cocoa before while watching a televised chili cook-off, but have never used it. I will be sure to let you know how it goes! Wish I had the previous woman’s recipe for the sweet potato cornbread, but I will whip up a batch of cornbread to take with us.

    • This is a great recipe to share with meat-lovers — I’ve made this for super meat eaters and they have always enjoyed this recipe! You can definitely try soy crumbles in this, I don’t think it will ruin the recipe at all. I didn’t add them only because I’m not a huge fan of soy crumbles in general – mainly because of the soy protein isolate – but they will definitely give the chili a meaty consistency 🙂 The cocoa makes it nice and smokey as well – which makes it feel like a true chili! Let me know how your family ended up liking it!!

  16. I made this last night it was SO good. my boyfriend even took some to work..will defintly be making some again soon 🙂 thanks for the reciepe

  17. I just made this twice in a row (first batch lasted 3 days by myself, hoping this second batch lasts longer!)

    I made a few additions. I made a double batch each time.

    I added a 28oz can of diced tomatoes (drained)
    a good bit (3 or 4 tablespoons) of sriracha
    3/4 of a 2 pound bag of corn
    I didn’t measure spices but I used a lot. I Just added until it tasted right (a fair bit)
    3 each green and red peppers, and 1.5 big red onions.

    The first time I made it I put in a full box of Elbow noodles, second time I made 2 cups of brown rice (was nowhere near enough for that much chili!

    That was about it, but even following this recipe it was VERY good (I’d say it was better than my moms meat version (Just don’t tell her that)!

    • LOVE the additions you made – especially the brown rice – because I’m sure that added great texture and it makes the chili a complete protein (because of the beans + rice!) I’m so honored that you liked it better than your mom’s version! That is amazing 🙂 And I also love that you make double batches – you are just like me – I could eat this for leftovers for days at a time!!

  18. Just made this last night after looking for vegan chili recipes. I have only been on the vegetarian thing 4 weeks. This was a light at the end of the tunnel kind of discovery for me. Thanks for sharing.

    Quick question not sure does anyone know how many calories are in say a cup of this recipe.

    • Oh yay!! I am so happy to hear that – and congrats for being vegetarian for 4 weeks straight! I would estimate that each cup of this chili has about 150-200 calories, but that’s just an estimate – I’m not 100% sure. It shouldn’t be too much more than 200 calories for a cup though, since it’s mostly beans and veggies. Hope that helps!

  19. This looks so fantastic!!!! I just finished writing my grocery list to make it for dinner tonight!
    Thank you for your awesome rendition of veggie chili!! Have a great new year!

    • Yaay thanks Alisha! I’m sure you will love this recipe – how did it turn out? Happy new year! 🙂

  20. Hi! Thanks for the recipe… I plan on making it this weekend, but can you make it one day ahead and keep it in the fridge and just reheat it?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Zai! Yes absolutely – you can make this a day ahead and eat it for 1-3 days after and it tastes great! Let me know how you liked this recipe!

  21. Our church is having a vegetarian chili cook off at the end of this month so I googled best vegetarian chili recipe and yours came up. Looks good and I hope I win. Thanks.

    • Oh awesome!! I cannot wait to hear how my chili recipe holds up in the cook off – you’ll have to let me know how it goes! Good luck! 🙂

  22. This looks wonderful! I didn’t see anywhere what the amount of servings is…any estimate? I’m wanting to make this for a group tonight. 🙂

    • Thanks Lorin! I’d say this makes 8 very healthy servings, and 10 servings if you want smaller portions. Hope that helps! Let me know how everyone likes it!

  23. Just how many people know the secret of adding unsweetened cocoa powder to chili? I made it exactly as you said, but I added a bit more of the cocoa, as I normally would when making a veggie or meat version of chili.(Most people say, “Yuck…chocolate in chili?”) Your recipe is a winner…Very,very good.

    • Thank you so much Bee!! I’m totally with you on the cocoa powder – it really just gives the chili that something extra and a great smoky flavor. So happy you liked this recipe!

    • I’d say this makes about 6 very healthy servings (each serving being about 2 heaping ladles of the chili). Hope that helps!

  24. Anjali

    Thank you so, so very much for this awesome recipe! Finally, I have a awesome chili recipe for myself, a definite keeper. I hosted a dinner party this past Saturday, I prepared meat chili for the meat eaters and veggie chili for me. I made yummy corn bread too. Can you believe the meat eaters where eating MY chili.

    Thank you again for sharing and modifying this recipe.

    Cheers,
    Stacie

    • Hi Stacie! Thank you so much for letting me know – that’s such great news! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe 🙂 Love that the meat eaters were enjoying your chili too!

  25. This was awesome made it tonight! I added Chinese broccoli as it was on sale and figured we can always use more greens! Will be making this again!

    • Oooh I love the idea of adding Chinese broccoli!! You can basically add any veggies to this chili so feel free to pack them in next time 🙂 So glad you liked this recipe!

  26. Making this tonight, I just tasted it, and it is fantastic!! I will garnish it with cilantro and avocado! Thanks for the recipe!!

  27. This title does NOT lie! This really is the best vegetarian chili EVER!Trust me, I have tried dozens (literally) of recipes. They always turn out bland, don’t have enough of “this” or “that”. Seems like I always had to use a ridiculous (and unhealthy) amount of salt and seasoning just to make it palatable. Not this recipe! It is so delicious. I barely added any salt to it. I made it just as the recipe states, and it turned out perfectly. So grateful to finally find a keeper for veggie chili. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and finally ending my search for the perfect veggie chili.

    • Hooorayyy!! I’m so, so glad this recipe ended your search for the perfect veggie chili 🙂 Thank you so much for letting me know!!

  28. I’m giving up meat for Lent and I made this chili as a hearty way to kick of my Ash Wednesday & 40 days without meat. It was delicious!! I am a huge carnivore and after the first couple of bites I didn’t notice the absence of meat. Thank you for sharing this, I know I will be making it a couple more times before Easter lol

  29. It is 1:30 am, I have this chili simmering away in a crock pot right now, and it is taking all of my will-power to keep from sneaking into the kitchen and scooping myself out a bowl! The only change I made to your recipe is substituting the canned beans with Rancho Gordo’s “Good Mother Stallard” “Purple Runner” and “Goats Eye” heirloom beans.
    You, being from California, could most likely find them at your local farmers market. It may take a few additional hours of prep time (waiting for the beans to soak) but it is WELL worth it. Once you try Fresh heirloom beans, you’ll never want to eat canned (or the super old dried bean variety that is sitting on the supermarket shelf) again! Cooking them is a cinch, I just sauteed up some onion, garlic, and celery, then tossed the beans-and their soaking water- into the crock-pot for about 3 hours, or until they are nearly soft, then added all the rest of the ingredients. Perfect! Thanks for sharing your recipe, I can’t wait for lunch.

    No seriously, I can’t. Going to tip-toe into the kitchen…

    • Hahaha! This was the greatest description ever – thanks for sharing it with me Kathryn 🙂 I feel like this chili would make the perfect midnight snack too. Love the idea of trying the fresh heirloom beans – I’ve never cooked with them before but you’ve inspired me to give it a shot! Thanks for the tip!

  30. This looks lovely, will definitely be trying it!:)
    Do you have a rough idea of the fat content in a serving for 1 person? And also how do you think turkey mince would fit into this?

    • I’d say this recipe is super low in fat – maybe just 2-3 grams of fat per serving (max) – but that doesn’t count the cornbread or any toppings you might add to the chili. I think turkey would totally work in this chili – just add it in along with the beans and cook it through! Enjoy!

  31. What a wonderful recipe, I tried it today and it came out perfect. Added a small yellow squash and zucchini, diced, for added texture. It’s all in those spices, delicious!

  32. So, I must say that I did try this chilli with a couple of modifications of my own. I skipped out on the chocolate, (I’m very open minded, but not fond of mole!), and when I sauteed the veggies, I sauteed them in just a bit of cooking wine.

    I also added a bit more liquid to mine, and thickened it up with masa harina! If you have never tried this before, you must, it adds a whole new flavour to the chilli and this amazing consistency. I’d say that my modifications were mild enough to say that this is the best chilli I’ve ever eaten! (And to have been a once-meat-eater gone vegetarian/vegan hybrid, you know that’s an epic compliment!!) I do not exaggerate when I say that I don’t ever want to eat chilli another way again.

    • Oh my gosh thank you so much Amanda!! I’m sooo happy you enjoyed this recipe – and the additions / modifications you made sound fantastic! I’ve never tried masa harina before so I’m super excited to try that out soon. Thanks again! 🙂

      • Definitely try it, you will love it!

        I forgot to mention, I added almost a table spoon of Asian chilli paste too! And ate it over rice.

        • Thanks for the inspiration Amanda! Asian chili paste – absolutely brilliant! Eating it with rice is actually really great – especially if you use brown rice – because then you’ll end up with a complete protein (beans + rice = complete protein 🙂 ). Love it!

  33. I’m trying to convince the hubs to go vegetarian with me and this was my first attempt at a vegetarian adaptation. So good!! It got an A+ and I can’t wait to make it again! Great recipe…passed it along to my mom too!

    • Hooorayy!! It’s so great to hear that you and your husband enjoyed this chili!! I hope this helps him to ease into a vegetarian diet 🙂 Thanks for letting me know Rebecca!

  34. This is a fantastic recipe. When I first came across it, I was really impressed at how much better it sounded than the other vegie chili recipes I saw. We have made it several times now and it is definitely one of our favorite recipes. My hubby, who is not totally vegetarian, says this is his favorite chili and requests it on a ergular basis. Thanks so much for sharing.

  35. I have recently had to cut meat, out of my diet due to the burning effect it has on my right side, as of late. Anyway, I’m desperate for great vegetarian recipes and was thrilled to find this one. Instead of having pain and nausea after eating, I devoured several bowls. I hope there are more as good as this or I’m going to be eating a ton of chil!

    • That is so great!! I’m so glad this recipe was satisfying and easy to digest for you as well 🙂 I can’t wait to hear how you like the other recipes on my site – I promise there are many more recipes that are as good as this one!

  36. I just stumbled across this recipe yesterday – and it is in the crockpot now!! Thanks for putting up a recipe for a healthy veggie chili!!

  37. You weren’t kidding..this is the best! This has become an almost weekly dinner for us. With all the kids evening sporting events this is perfect to prepare earlier in the day (and heat up later) or slow cook in the slowcooker. My meat loving husband loves this…which is a huge score because he is not easy to please and my kids (3 years old, 5years old, 7 years old and 8 years old) all love it! Please keep the great recipes coming.

    • Oh hooray!! That is so wonderful Babs! I’m so glad this recipe works for your whole family 🙂 If you have leftovers, it’s also a great topping for nachos or a filling for burritos for another quick, weeknight dinner!

  38. I want to use dry beans in place of canned (actually, I want to use dried kidney beans, and probably canned for the black and pinto beans). Can you advise how I should go about doing so for this recipe, i.e. how to prepare the dry kidney beans so they can be switched in for the canned? I have a general idea on the basics–soak overnight, boiled for 10 mins. to remove toxicity, then cooked until ready–but never done this before, esp. for your wonderful sounding recipe.

    • Hi Sam! So basically, what you need to do is cook the dried beans and then (after they are cooked) measure them out so you are using the same amount of beans as this recipe calls for (about 40 oz of beans). For the kidney beans, first sort through them to pick out any old/shriveled beans, stones or debris. Then rinse them well in cold, running water. Then soak them: cover with cool water, set aside at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. Drain well. If it’s warm in your kitchen, soak the beans in the fridge to avoid fermentation). To cook, put the beans into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender when mashed or pierced with a fork. It’ll take about 1-2 hours depending on the beans.

      Hope that helps! Let me know how it turns out!

    • I’d say one ladle is about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup! Hope that helps, and I hope you like the recipe! 🙂

  39. Just discovered your blog yesterday…the chili was fantastic! I threw in a bunch of smoked paprika and ground coriander… yummy! Planning on trying the black bean and quinoa griddle cakes tonight… guess I’m hooked! Keep up the great work… we all need to try to adopt a more plant based diet, right?

    • The griddle cakes were wonderful, but I had trouble with the cakes falling apart when I turned and plated them… Had some crumbley leftovers that I piled up in a sauce pan and poured scrambled eggs over for brunch today… wow! The eggs bound everything together into an omelet sort of affair… so good!

      • Hi John! Aw I’m sorry the cakes didn’t hold together for you, but I am glad that you enjoyed the flavors and were able to use them in your eggs! What a great idea 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  40. Making this yet again today!! It was sooo helpful to have this in my fridge to chow down on when I would get home super late from work. Such a healthy, filling dinner with some avocado and light sour cream on it!

    • Hehe that’s awesome Kim! I actually made this recipe over this past weekend – ate it for leftovers on Sunday night, used it as a topping for nachos on Monday night, and used it as a filling for a burrito on Tuesday night! 🙂

  41. Hello, I just made this and my children and i absolutely LOVE it. I’m shocked that my kids love it as much as I do. Thank you so much for sharing. Don’t miss the meat at all.

    • Yay!! That is wonderful! So happy to hear that you and your kids loved this recipe 🙂 Thanks Cyndi!

  42. Thanks so much for the recipe- it really was delicious. I added carrots and I think they were a good addition.

    • Yay!! So glad you liked it, and I love the addition of the carrots! I bet it gave it great texture 🙂

  43. Thank u soo much! Def crowd pleaser. Not to mention it is the best veg chili I ever made (that tasted close to the ‘real’ thing.. Lol). Coco was the missing link!!!

    • Awesome!! And yes! Cocoa is definitely one of the “secrets” to making this chili great. It adds such a wonderful smoky quality to the sauce — I love it! So glad you enjoyed this recipe!

  44. 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! 🙂

  45. 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! 🙂

  46. 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!

  47. 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

  48. 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! 🙂

  49. 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! 🙂

  50. 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!

  51. 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! 🙂

  52. 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!

  53. 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!

  54. 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 🙂

  55. 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.

  56. 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!

  57. Well, I made it with ground corriander seed. It was terrific! Everyone loved it! Thanks for sharing your recipe. This one is a keeper!

    • Hooray! I’m glad you ended up picking the right spice 🙂 So glad you liked this recipe, thanks for letting me know Claire!

  58. WOW! This really is the best vegetarian chili ever. I am always skeptical of self titled best Evers! You are not exaggerating. I am a 54 year old who is used to searching for recipes in my many printed cookbooks which I have collected over the years. So glad that I decided to also look online. Cannot wait to try more of your recipes. I grew up eating chili over rice. My healthier solution was to serve this great, chunky chili over Trader Joes tricolor quinoa! Delish! Btw….what on earth did we do before Trader Joes came into our lives…..oh yeah, I remember. We went to the “co-op”!!

    • Awwww yay!! Thank you so much Barbara — I am so happy to hear that you loved this recipe 🙂 And yes! Chili over rice or quinoa is absolutely delicious — sometimes I serve it that way too 🙂 Trader Joe’s is amazing I agree!

  59. I’m going to try this this week. Lately meat’s been turning my nose up so I prefer to cook without it. (My poor husband who makes poor food choices most of the time…the only raw vegetable he eats is carrots and they’re better for you if you steam them for 4 or 5 minutes. If it were his choice, he’d skip them all together all the time. I don’t know if he’ll like this (I some how doubt it) but it looks like something nice I can freeze in portions and eat for lunches.

    Hey, what’s the recipe for your corn bread??

    Hannah M.

  60. I made it the first time without coriander and smoked paprika and it was just okay. I couldn’t find those 2 ingredients until today. I will try making it again, but what type of smoked paprika did you use? I thought there would only be one smoked paprika but they had sweet, bittersweet, and hot smoked paprika. I bought sweet, but now I am thinking I should have bought hot.

    • Hi Turah — hmm I used spicely organic’s smoked paprika — they only have one kind as far as I know. Make sure you are using ground coriander seed too (not fresh coriander leaves). Feel free to increase the amount of spice (heat-wise) in the recipe too if you like your food really spicy! I’d recommend increasing the amount of cayenne if that’s the case. Let me know how it turns out the second time around!

  61. I will be honest when I saw the cocoa powder and soy sauce I was very skeptical, but seeing that the recipe had good reviews I decided to give it a try and I am glad that I did. This made for a delicious meal! I made a few changes (gluten free tamari sauce instead of soy, decreased the cayenne for my 4 y.o., and added carrots and sweet potatoes). We ate it for dinner tonight w/my gluten free cornbread. Thanks again!

    • Haha yes I can see how the cocoa powder and soy sauce would seem weird! But I’m glad you gave this recipe a try and liked it Danielle! Love the idea of adding carrots and sweet potatoes too — that must have been delicious 🙂 Thanks for letting me know how it turned out!

  62. Hello! This recipe looks amazing…going to whip it up for tonight’s dinner. As I’m counting calories I’m hoping you can tell me how many cups a “ladle” would be. I’m guessing probably 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup but would appreciate if you could kindly share this. Thanks!

    • Hi Laura! Thanks so much! I’m sure you will love this recipe 🙂 I think each ladle is probably about 3/4 of a cup – but I can’t be too sure since I haven’t measured it exactly. However, if you divide up the chili into 6 equal bowls that should give you the right portion size per person. Hope that helps!! Let me know how it turns out!

  63. Hi, just wanted to say thanks for this awesome recipe! I have been on a chili kick and after having a good vegan chili and an ok vegetarian chili from two local restaurants this past week, I thought I’d try making a pot of chili myself. Found your recipe and I do agree it is the “Best Vegetarian Chili EVER!” I added a jalapeno for a little extra kick. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes! Thanks!!

    • Oh yay!! So happy to hear that Shelly! Adding jalapeño sounds delicious as well 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  64. Wow – this is the best vegetarian chili ever! My chili usually turns out…OK…but this was AMAZING! This will be the only chili recipe I ever use – thank you so much for sharing it! I can’t wait to try out some of your other recipes.

    Thanks!
    Bonnie

  65. Hey I want to make this tomorrow but I was hoping to use a crockpot, how long should I let it cook for? I’m not super familiar with crockpot cooking. (:

    • Hi Danielle! You can actually just put everything in the crockpot and let it simmer for as long as you want (on low). At a minimum it will need about 30 minutes to cook through. Hope that helps!

  66. Hi! I just wanted to say that I found this recipe about a year ago here. I was nervous about making Vegetarian Chili. This is my favorite dish to make at home. We have it for dinner at least twice a month. My kids, husband, dad and friends love it. I’ve used it as examples in a Power Point Presentation for my Biology Class and shared samples with the class. I’m planning on making it tomorrow for my mother in law that is visiting from Mexico.
    Thank you for this amazing recipe.

    • Hi Cyn! Omg! That is so wonderful to hear 🙂 Love that you made it for your biology class too — how cool! Thanks so much for letting me know!

  67. Hi Anjali, what is the true yield? How many cups, vs. servings? If I made it in a crock pot, what size crockpot should I use? Thanks.

    • Hi Dave! This should make about 12 cups of chili (one ladle-full being one cup). So if you use a crock pot, make sure you use one that can fit 12 cups! Hope that helps!

      • Hi Anjali! Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say that your chili recipe was the first of many that I’ve used from you… It’s become my “go-to” chili recipe…made it so many times I don’t even have to refer to the instructions anymore! Thanks so much and keep up the good work!

  68. Hi Anjali! I have used this chili recipe a couple of times already and the family loves it! My wife (who doesn’t like chili) really likes the way it turns out and is the one requesting for me to make more! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  69. Can this recipe be adapted for the slow cooker?? If so do you still saute the veggies or do you put in slow cooker as is???

  70. This was delicious! It was even a hit with my daughter who hates chili. I sauteed the vegetables then cooked everything in the slow cooker on low all day. Thanks for the great recipe!

  71. This is DELICIOUS! I added dark chocolate instead of the cocoa because I love to see it melt. Tastes great immediately and even better the next day. Love your recipes – THANK-YOU!

    • Ooooh love the idea of the dark chocolate – I’m sure that was delicious! So glad you liked this recipe, thanks for letting me know!

  72. This is a crowd pleaser! I doubled the recipe for 8 adults and 8 kids, and everyone loved it. I will definitely make this again.

  73. This is my go-to recipe for chili. I discovered it last fall and made it at least every other week! I generally don’t add the cocoa or the soy sauce & modify it to be slightly less spicy. I also use canned corn instead of frozen, as well as sub tomato juice when I don’t have veggie broth on hand. My favorite mod is adding vegetarian mycoprotein (Quorn grounds). I did this last year & fed it to a large group of guys. I didn’t tell them that there wasn’t any meat in it until afterward. They said it was the best chili they ever had and couldn’t believe it was vegetarian! The Quorn grounds add fabulous texture indistinguishable from ground beef & boost the protein content! I make my own modifications here & there, but this is an AMAZING recipe whether you follow the instructions exactly or feel comfortable enough to make it to your own taste!

    When I make cornbread to go with, I generally use good ol’ Jiffy corn muffin mix & add some no salt added canned corn & tablespoon or so of sugar.

    Thanks so much for this recipe, Anjali! You’ve forever raised my family’s standards on Chili 😉

    • Thank you so much for sharing all of this Chelsea! I love the modifications you made – and you’re absolutely right – this recipe can totally be tweaked to suit anyone’s tastes and preferences 🙂 Thanks again – so glad you liked this recipe!!

  74. I’ve made this a couple of times now and it is awesome. Only had 1 can of beans on hand but that was plenty. I added some texture and nutrition by chopping up a couple of veggie patties I wasn’t crazy about and throwing them in there. I also added some sliced mushrooms and even my carnivore husband enjoyed it served with a sprinkling of cheese, chopped avocado and sour cream, It’s going in my permanent collection. Thank you.

    • That is so great to hear! Great idea to throw some veggie burger patties in for some texture too. Thanks for letting me know Sky!

  75. Really Great! Showed up to a Thanksgiving get together with one picky vegetarian, and after all the leftovers were in Tupperware, the meat- eater guys kept going back for more chilli! It was a big hit, and my new favorite recipe!- Also, I doubled it, but not the onion- and I used one can of diced tomatoes along with one can of crushed. Thank you so much for the recipe- I will be e-mailing this link to everyone I know!

    • Aww that is so great to hear Rose! Thank you for letting me know! I love making a double batch of this recipe too — sometimes I’ll even freeze the leftovers and they still taste great when we eat them!

  76. I found this recipe a few years ago and have since made it numerous times. It is absolutely fabulous, and I figured it was time to thank you for the post because everyone I make it for raves about it! I’m fairly certain there isn’t a soul out there who wouldn’t eat this chili.

    • Thank you so much Mary — I love that you’ve made this so many times at home! It’s so great to hear the positive feedback, so I appreciate you coming back here to let me know 🙂 Thanks again!

  77. I added a poblano and a couple serranos, as I can get them at the Puerto Rican grocery around the corner for a song. Great recipe.

  78. This is without a doubt,the BEST!!!!! recipe. Thank you so much for posting this. I made this for a superbowl party and the entire meat eating crowd loved it. Thanks again for such a flavorful vegan recipe..

  79. I have never seen cocoa powder in a chili recipe, but I could see it working. Have you tried cinnamon or bay leaves? I’ve tried them before in other vegetarian chili attempts and liked them.

    • Hi Brianna! I haven’t actually tried cinnamon or bay leaves in this recipe – but I’m sure those would taste great. I’d definitely encourage you to try the cocoa powder though – it really makes this recipe great!

  80. This is a good recipe. I doubled the cumin, smoked paprika, and salt to enhance the flavor. It definitely could use more spiciness, so next time I’ll try adding fresh jalapenos and maybe double the chili powder and add some crushed red pepper. But otherwise a really good recipe.

    • Thanks Mona! Glad you liked this recipe. Regarding the spiciness level — everyone’s tastes are different so definitely add more spice if you need to! The heat of this recipe was perfect for us but I don’t generally love super super hot/spicy food 🙂

  81. This is phenomenal! I just finished a bowl and can’t wait for future meal times 🙂 The spice level was JUST RIGHT and with some yogurt it was great.

    • Hooray!! That is so wonderful to hear, thanks for letting me know Amna! Love that you served it with yogurt too – it’s a great substitution for sour cream (which traditionally goes on chili)!

  82. Wow, this looks like a great recipe. I usually make a turkey chili but never use all these different ingredients. I’ll definitely be mixing in some of your ingredients for my next batch.

    What tool do you use to get the nutritional values? MenuCalc?

    Jose Martinez

  83. Thanks so much for this recipe! I’ve been looking for a good vegetarian chili recipe, and this is definitely the winner. I made it in the winter and LOVED it, then froze the leftovers. The other day I reheated some, and it was just as good as the first time around!

    My favorite parts are the three types of beans (I love beans! Am I allowed to say that? Haha) and the slight spicy kick. It’s perfect! I did make one substitution based on what I had on hand: I used one 15 oz can crushed tomatoes + canned tomato paste w/ water added.

    • Awww thanks Casey!! I freeze this recipe all the time – I agree it reheats really well! 🙂 Haha I love that you love beans — I do too! They are one of my favorite ingredients because they’re hearty, healthy, full of fiber and protein and veggie friendly. Love the substitution idea too! Thanks for letting me know!

  84. I was so excited to find this recipe yesterday – I’m always on the look out for a good Vegetarian chili because there are so few. I made this and the cornbread today and it was amazing! The hubby loved it too! I think my can of crushed tomatoes was a little too tangy so I add 1/2 tspn more of the cocoa and that fixed that problem! And let me just say, thank you for introducing me to Trader Joe’s Cornbread! It was so delicious and the perfect pairing with this chili. I topped with avocado pieces and a little cheddar cheese. I’m going to try this in the slow cooker next time. I have finally found a veg chili recipe keeper!

    • So happy to hear that Paaru!! I’m glad you and your husband enjoyed this chili and the cornbread so much! 🙂

  85. Made this tonight and it really hits the spot!!!! Wanted to use up some tins in my pantry and this did just that and I now have 3 weeks worth of chilli in the freezer! Result

    • Woohoo! That’s awesome Phil – so happy to hear that! I love freezing this recipe – it defrosts great – you won’t even be able to tell it was frozen 🙂 Enjoy!

  86. This is our go to chili. I make it often, and I always get positive comments from all ( vegetarians and meat eaters alike. I use what ever beans we have available and I used canned corn because it is usually available. Don’t like green peppers so I use all red or yellow, sometimes I even add another vegetable. It is sincerely ALWAYS a hit. Thank you for this recipe.

    • Awww yay!!! That’s so awesome to hear Chris!! Yeah you can totally mix up the veggies in this based on your preference and it should still always work 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  87. I’m making this chili right now. I just tasted my first bite and WOW! So flavorful! I didn’t have any green or red peppers on hand so those didn’t make it in. I don’t have frozen corn either…so I figured I’d use canned-but then I found there was none in my cabinets! So I used a can of mixed veggies that had corn in it. I drained and rinsed it so that the liquid wouldn’t interfere with the flavor. Despite my changes it is yummy! I can’t wait to make it again with the peppers!

    • Glad this recipe worked so well for you Joy!! I’m sure you’ll love it with the peppers in it too. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

  88. Try adding Light Life Smart Ground, leave it chunky. Use way more cocoa and ancho chili powder if you really want to rock it.

    • Thanks for the tip Rick! But actually, I wouldn’t recommend using Light Life Smart Ground because it’s a very highly processed, soy protein based “fake meat.” Take a look at the ingredients: Water, textured soy protein concentrate, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, wheat), less than 2% of: chicory extract (inulin), natural flavor (from plant sources), salt, barley malt extract, caramel color, evaporated cane syrup, barley malt, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, molasses, yeast extract, dried garlic, dried onions. The textured soy protein concentrate, hydrolyzed soy protein are problematic as ingredients to eat on a regular basis (I have more details on why here). But love the idea of using more cocoa and ancho chili to give it more heat! Hope that helps!

  89. Hi there, just wondering – when you say chilli powder, are you referring to actual ground chillis or the chilli powder blend which contains chilli, oregano, cumin, etc.

      • Finally got around to trying the recipe. It really was the best vegetarian chilli that I’ve ever had! Thank you! I think I might add some more cumin next time though. I’d also like it a bit more spicy. What do you suggest I increase for this? More cayenne? Thanks again.

        • Yay!! So happy to hear that Joe! And yes absolutely – if you want more spice (like hot – pepper spice) – then add more cayenne and chili powder too. Hope that helps! So glad you liked this recipe!

  90. I’ve tried others, but this has become my favorite chili recipe, hands down. Delicious and healthy. Even the meat eaters in my life love it. Over rice, over pasta or right out of the pot with a big spoon! 🙂
    For something really different, try adding a bit of peanut butter. It adds some fat and a few calories, but it goes really well with the already great flavor of this chili. About 1tsp or so per serving.
    Thanks Anjali!

    • Yay!! So happy to hear that Tom! Really interesting idea about the peanut butter – I’ll have to try that next time! 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  91. I’ve been making this chili for the last few years, it’s always a hit! I want to make a freezer meal for a friend who’s getting ready to have a baby. Am I OK to freeze the ingredients uncooked (to be put in the crockpot later) or should I cook everything and then freeze? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Amber! Yay! So happy to hear this recipe has worked out so well for you! If you’re going to freeze this, I’d recommend cooking everything together and then freezing it (vs. just freezing the uncooked ingredients). It’ll taste a lot better if you cook it and then freeze. Hope that helps and congrats to your friend!

    • Yay!! I can’t wait for you to try this recipe Jessica – it’s one of our favorites 🙂 I’m sure you will love it!

    • That’s great! For the corn – you can always substitute it for something else (another veggie that you do like!)

    • Thanks Dev!! I agree the chocolate gives it that extra deep, smoky quality – similar to a mole sauce! So glad you liked it!!

  92. Anjali,
    Our family (both vegetarians and non) all loved this Chili – so much so that there were no leftovers! We will definitely make this again.

    • Woohoo!! That’s so wonderful to hear Brenda!! 🙂 This chili freezes really well so if you want you can always make a double batch next time and freeze half for a rainy day! 🙂

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