Quick Vegetarian Chili Recipe

 Quick Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Chili is a favorite lunch of mine throughout the fall and winter, but I find it a little heavy sometimes, even when it’s made with ground chicken instead of beef. This meatless version is super quick to make and doesn’t skimp on taste.

In fact, many of my taste testers didn’t even seem to notice the absence of meat, and my vegetarian friends love it too.

I like to make it ahead of time and let the flavors blend for a day or two in the fridge before serving; it freezes beautifully as well.


  •  2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  1 medium onion, finely chopped
  •  1 stalk celery, diced
  •  1 green bell pepper, chopped
  •  2 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 large carrot, shredded
  •  1 medium zucchini, shredded
  •  ½ cup frozen corn niblets
  •  One 15-ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  •  One 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, with juice
  •  One 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
  •  ½ cup water
  •  1 teaspoon chipotle powder, or to taste
  •  1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  1 teaspoon dried basil
  •  1 teaspoon dried oregano
  •  ½ teaspoon salt
  •  ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  Garnishes: grated cheddar, sour cream, lime wedges


Heat the oil over medium heat in a very large saucepan or small stockpot.

Add the onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, carrot, zucchini, and corn. Sauté, stirring often, until the vegetables just begin to soften (3–5 minutes). 

While the vegetables are cooking, drain the canned kidney beans and rinse them thoroughly under cold water. Pour them into a broad, shallow dish and mash lightly with a potato masher.

This not only gives the chili a smoother consistency, but it’s also a great way to “hide” the beans from picky eaters!

Once the vegetables have softened, add the mashed kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and all seasonings to the pot.

Cover the pot and increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.

Let the chili simmer for 20 minutes. Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings to suit your preferences.

Garnish each serving with grated cheese and sour cream as desired; serve with lime wedges.


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