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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Sauté the onion in the Instant Pot until soft, then add the potatoes, pepper, garlic, and spices. Cook until fragrant.
- 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.
- Cover, seal, and cook on manual (HIGH) pressure for 8 minutes. Immediately release the pressure, then open the Instant Pot.
- 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.
What Goes Well with Vegetarian Chili?
- Salad. If you want to serve this chili with a fresh, tasty salad, this Anytime Arugula Salad or Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons would be delicious.
- Bread. Mexican Cornbread is the ideal side dish for dunking.
- Veggies. For a healthy, easy side dish, try this Roasted Frozen Broccoli or Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
More Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes
If you love easy and fast vegetarian Instant Pot recipes, here are a few more ideas:
- Instant Pot Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Carrot Soup with Ginger
- Instant Pot Lentil Curry
- Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot French Onion Soup
- Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
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
- 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
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Shredded cheese
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Nonfat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 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!
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