While this time of year can seem gray, cold, and dark, this Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili is the exact opposite! It’s made with convenient canned beans, fresh sweet potato, quinoa, and a rainbow of southwest spices. It’s bold, colorful, and spirit-boosting, and thanks to the Instant Pot, it cooks in minutes instead of hours.

Instant Pot vegetarian chili with black beans, quinoa, and sweet potatoes in a bowl

If a single recipe concept could be extended to an entire food group, chili would have my top vote. With all of its delicious potential and recipe variations, from Crock Pot White Chicken Chili to Healthy Turkey Chili to Paleo Chili (another Instant Pot chili recipe), it’s a meal I never grow tired of creating or eating.

Chili can feed a crowd if you need it to and tastes fabulous leftover if you don’t.

It’s also perfectly poised to serve as a vehicle for a) your daily serving of veg and b) TOPPINGS.

Although this is a recipe for Instant Pot vegetarian chili, it is plenty hearty enough to stand on its own as a full meal, whether or not you routinely eat meat (just like this Vegetarian Chili recipe).

Depending upon your topping selections, this is actually an easy vegan chili (just leave off the dairy), BUT its robust blend of spices and hearty texture will satisfy the more carnivorous members of your family too.

A bowl of hearty and cozy chili made with sweet potato and quinoa

Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili—An All in One Healthy Meal

The base of this vegan chili recipe is one of my personal favorite chili recipes of all time and the one I made most often, my Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili. It’s deeply satisfying and strikes an ideal balance between spicy and sweet,

As I discovered when I first made Instant Pot Chili (<—this recipe is an excellent option if you are looking for easy Instant Pot chili recipe with veggies but absolutely must have meat too), an added benefit of making chili in the Instant Pot or a similar electric pressure cooker is the fact that thanks to the sauté function, 100% of the recipe comes together in one pot.

You don’t need cook any of the aromatics or even the quinoa separately. With the Instant Pot, the recipe is truly one and done.

This is the Instant Pot I own, by the way. I’ve had it for nearly two years now, and I love it more each time I use it. It’s also dropped in price recently, so if you are on the fence, that’s a great reason to go for it!

Easy Instant Pot chili is also another great reason, just sayin’. I even have ALL of these Instant Pot recipes to get you inspired and make use of your shiny new appliance.

Is Vegetarian Chili Good for You?

This Instant Pot chili is good for you! It’s loaded with wholesome, healthy ingredients like sweet potatoes, beans, and quinoa that contain numerous health benefits.

This recipe is also low in calories, but high in protein and fiber, which makes it ideal for filling lunches and dinners. 

Here are just a few of the health benefits of this chili and its ingredients:

  • High in Fiber, Vitamins, and Minerals. Thanks to the sweet potatoes, red peppers, onions, quinoa, red beans, chili powder, and tomato sauce.
  • Rich in Antioxidants. Credit to the onions, sweet potatoes, and red peppers.
  • Packed with Protein. The quinoa drives the protein levels in this chili. Beans offer added protein as well. For even more protein, top your chili with Greek yogurt.
A pressure cooker filled with ingredients for a hearty, cozy, and healthy dinner

How to Make Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

The best vegetarian chili is made of a combination of fresh ingredients like onions, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers, and pantry staples like spices, quinoa, and beans. 

Instant Pot vegetarian chili takes 8 minutes of pressure cooking, plus the 10 minutes you’ll need for the Instant Pot to come to pressure. At the end, your quinoa will be perfectly cooked, the sweet potatoes tender, and chili ready for its finishing touches.

The Ingredients

  • Sweet Potatoes. Their natural sweetness is a heavenly pairing with classic chili spices, making these nutritional orange rockstars one of my top chili ingredients.
  • Red Bell Peppers. Another dimension of natural sweetness that goes well in chili, plus a sneaky extra serving of veg.
  • Onion + Garlic. A must for any chili recipe.
  • Spices. I used a mixture of chili powder (essential), cumin (also essential), and chipotle chili powder. The complex, cooked-all-day flavor hails from the chipotle chili powder. Chipotle gives the chili a touch of smokiness, and it’s a dream pairing with the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes.
    • If you want to make this a spicy vegetarian chili, you could up the amount of chipotle chili powder or add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Vegetable Broth. In order to make this a vegetarian chili with quinoa, I used vegetable broth for the liquid. If you aren’t concerned with it being strictly vegetarian or vegan, chicken broth will work also.
  • Tomato Sauce. For a thick texture and rich flavor, without any fuss. Use low-sodium or no-salt-added to keep the sodium levels lower and the chili from being too salty.
  • Quinoa. My secret addition to making this chili extra filling and thick. The quinoa absorbs the tomato liquid as it cooks, making it even more flavorful.
  • Beans. Use a blend of types for a multi-dimensional flavor/texture experience and wider assortment of nutrients. I used kidney beans and black beans, but feel free to swap these out for white beans or even pinto beans depending upon what you have on hand. The fiber-rich beans ensure that even though this chili is vegetarian, it’s just as satisfying as its meat counterparts. (If you’re a fan of beans in soup, try this delicious 15 Bean Soup.)
  • Sugar. To balance the acidity of the tomatoes. If you prefer to make this recipe without sugar, you can omit it.
  • Toppings. Greek yogurt, avocado, chips, cheese, cilantro, and more. When it comes to chili toppings, I will take them all, please and thank you.

The Directions

  1. Sauté the onion in the Instant Pot until soft, then add the potatoes, pepper, garlic, and spices. Cook until fragrant.
  2. Add half of the broth, stirring and scraping up any pieces stuck to the bottom. Stir in the remaining broth and quinoa. Pour in the tomato sauce, and do not stir.
  3. Cover, seal, and cook on manual (HIGH) pressure for 8 minutes. Immediately release the pressure, then open the Instant Pot.
  4. Stir in the beans and sugar. Close the lid and let it thicken. Serve hot with desired toppings, and ENJOY!

Storage and Reheating Tips

  • To Store. Vegetarian chili is good in the refrigerator for 5 days and in the freezer for 3 months. Let the leftovers cool completely, and store them in an airtight container.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm the chili in a large pot on the stove over medium heat until warmed through, adding splashes of broth or water if it is too thick. You can also reheat this chili in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Store chili in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To Make Ahead. Chop the sweet potatoes, peppers, garlic, and onions. Store them in the refrigerator until ready to cook, up to 1 day in advance. When ready to prepare, finish cooking as directed.

TIP!

If you enjoyed this Vegetarian Chili, try creating a vegetarian version of this Instant Pot Chili Recipe. Replace the turkey with additional beans, swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth, and top with your favorite vegetarian toppings.

A bowl of healthy soup packed with vegetables, quinoa, and beans

What Goes Well with Vegetarian Chili?

More Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes

If you love easy and fast vegetarian Instant Pot recipes, here are a few more ideas:

Other Vegan Soups

If you’re following a Whole30 or paleo diet, I recommend trying my Whole30 Chili.

Recommended Tools to Make Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

  • Instant Pot. The Instant Pot makes this chili quick, easy, and hands-free.
  • Sharp Knife. You’ll love using this sharp knife to chop the veggies.

Happy Chili Season!

Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

4.96 from 204 votes
Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili with quinoa, sweet potatoes and black beans. Quick, easy, healthy, and filling with the perfect blend of spices. Award-winning!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion 1/4-inch diced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and 1/2-inch diced (about 4 generous cups)
  • 2 medium red bell peppers 3/4-inch diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (8-ounce) can low-sodium or no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium dark or light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

For serving:

  • Sliced avocado
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Shredded cheese
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Nonfat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

Instructions
 

  • To a 6-quart or large Instant Pot, add the olive oil. Turn to SAUTE and let the oil heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, and kosher salt. Cook for 1 to 2 additional minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add half of the vegetable broth and stir, scraping up any stuck-on bits of food (this will prevent a burn warning). Stir in the remaining broth and the quinoa. Pour the tomato sauce on top (do not stir again).
  • Cover and seal the Instant Pot. Cook on manual (HIGH) pressure for 8 minutes. Immediately release the pressure. Carefully open the Instant Pot.
  • Turn the Instant Pot to OFF. Stir in the black beans, kidney beans, and sugar. Place the lid back on top and let stand 10 minutes to thicken. Uncover. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve hot, with any and all the toppings!

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 301kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 12gFat: 4gFiber: 12gSugar: 10g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. This was excellent! I used a full 15 oz can of diced tomatoes instead of tomato paste, and subtracted 1/2 cup of broth. I also used water instead of veggie broth. It was delicious!!!! Truly!

    Thank you!5 stars

      1. Hi Cindy, you can try another grain that cooks in the same amount of time as quinoa; I don’t have a specific suggestion since I’ve only tested the recipe with quinoa, but I think you could experiment with white rice. Also other readers have tried brown rice but had to increase the time to 15 mins. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  2. I made this vegetarian chili today and it was excellent!! What a great recipe! I thought it had just the right amount of spicy kick.5 stars

  3. This recipe is so delicious! I added a can of pinto beans as well which was perfect. I’d recommend adding half the chili powder (especially if you’re sensitive to spice) because it is very spicy! I’d also recommend adding some more tomato sauce to make it more chili-esque.5 stars

  4. On our first run at this, we used poblano peppers instead of bell and molasses instead of sugar. And… we got distracted and added a teaspoon of cayenne instead of a teaspoon of chipotle chili powder. We didn’t notice the mistake until coming back to read the recipe again for another batch because the first one turned out so good. A teaspoon of cayenne resulted in refreshingly intense heat that we loved, but we couldn’t share it with our spice-averse friends. We’ll try it with chipotle instead this time.5 stars

  5. This was delicious! Our family is getting over a cold, so I wanted something that was yummy but also easy to make. I forgot to add the quinoa so it turned out more like a thick tortilla soup. My husband doesn’t like quinoa so he was happy about my error! :) I added some broccoli hearts; it’s nice that you can add whatever veggies you have on hand. I topped with green onions and cilantro. I’ll definitely make it again.5 stars

  6. I used this recipe for a party and had rave reviews. Some people were shocked to find that it was vegetarian. I was in a hurry, so I put everything (except the beans) into the instant pot and pressure cooked it as directed. This dish might have been even better if I had sauted according to the recipe. Also, I used 1 1/2 cans of crushed fire roasted tomatoes instead of the tomato sauce and reduced the water in the broth to 1 1/4 cup. I added 1 t of paprika and 1/8 t of allspice. I could not find chipotle chili powder, so I used additional regular chili powder. To thicken the chili, I mashed some of it with a potatoe masher. I served it on a buffet with sour cream, grated cheese, and cilantro topping. What a hit! This will be my go-to vegetarian chili recipe.5 stars

  7. Solid vegan chilli. I reduced the sweet potato and used brown rice instead of quinoa (cooked for 15 minutes instead of 8)5 stars

  8. Great recipe! I never would have though to use quinoa and sweet potato, but it works! I used a normal size can of tomato sauce because that’s what I had on hand. This is definitely my new chili recipe.5 stars

  9. Love this recipe! I have made it many times following the recipe exactly. I have to feed a crowd tomorrow can I double it in a 6 quart instant pot?

    1. Hi Mike! I don’t think double would fit into the 6-quart size, but you could probably do 1.5x the recipe (just make sure you don’t go over the max fill line). I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  10. I have made this so many times since getting the same Instant Pot. It is delicious! But no matter how small I chop the sweet potatoes, they always taste raw. Help! Thanks,
    Christina

    1. Hi Christina! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! I’m not sure why that is happening, because the timing has worked well for myself (and others). Maybe try adding another minute to the cook time? Let me know how it goes!

  11. Hi. I’d like to make this tonight but only have dried beans on hand. Is it possible to substitute the canned beans for dried beans (i assume a longer cook time is necessary?) Or would I need to cook the dried beans on their own first? Sorry if this is a silly question…. I’m new to the instant pot:-)

  12. I love ALL your vegan recipes! I have this chili recipe on repeat. So easy, economical, tasty, and nourishing. I served this to camping guests often in the summer. The meat eaters love it too. My only sub is chilis in adobo for chipotle chili powder: we love the depth AND I have trouble finding the powder. I’m making a double batch today so I can freeze some for an upcoming airbnb stay. Thank you again!5 stars

  13. Absolutely delicious!! I left out the Quinoa because I didn’t have any and I forgot the sugar – but we all loved it. I served it with cornbread and it was incredible! Thank you!5 stars

  14. I made this and it was delicious. I did add tomatoes, extra can of chili beans, extra onions, red bell peppers and chili sauce. I put a little extra vegetable broth since the was a little left in the carton.my husband., a meat eater who will gag at me when I try to fed him plant based chowed down on it. I just told him I was making it meatless because the price of meat was outrageous. If he only knew what was in it he would have gagged and refused to eat it. Thank you for this wonderful dish. I’ll be sure to try more of your recipes5 stars

  15. I really want to make this but my husband can’t have tomato or papers, any recommendations for substitutes for this?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Adi! I’ve only tested the recipe as is, so not sure what a good or if any substitute could be used for the tomatoes and peppers. Maybe try making a white chili instead? If you decide to experiment with something different, let me know how it goes!

  16. Hi Erin, I’m so excited to try this recipe. If I were to double this recipe, do you think I could fit it in the large 8qt instant pot? Thanks!

    1. Hi Alli! I haven’t tried it myself but other readers have in an 8qt with great success! Hope you enjoy it!

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