“Chili” and “chilly” weather get along so famously, the twin pronunciation could scarcely be a coincidence. This homemade Vegetarian Chili made with sweet potato, beans, and a thick, deeply spiced tomato broth will warm you to your core on even the dampest day.
Although this chili is meatless, don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s wimpy or weak.
Filled with plant-based protein and fiber, alive with smoky spices, and so thick your spoon can practically stand up straight in your bowl, this award-worthy chili will please even the staunchest of carnivores.
One of my favorite things about chili is how many different, delicious personalities it can take.
Truly, there’s a chili for every need and mood.
- Instant Pot Chili is perfect for when you want things fast and hands-free.
- Instant Pot Paleo Chili and Whole30 Chili are for those who like their chili without beans.
- Healthy Turkey Chili has become a reader stovetop go-to.
- Crockpot White Chicken Chili is ideal for those who prefer less spice.
- This Green Chili Recipe is my favorite all-day chili recipe.
- The Blue Ribbon Chili in The Well Plated Cookbook is my best-ever and has won you all multiple chili-cook offs!
But what about when you need a go-to chili that appeals to different dietary needs (gluten free, vegetarian, vegan), tastes great leftover, feeds a crowd, AND doesn’t require any special appliances?
That’s where this chili comes in!
It’s hands down THE BEST vegetarian chili I’ve had and one of my favorite (meat or meatless) chili recipes to date.
How to Make Vegetarian Chili from Scratch
Say goodbye to vegetarian chili that’s canned! Homemade vegetarian chili is simple to make and will blow the store bought stuff away.
My best secret ingredients for chili are cinnamon, chipotle chili powder, red wine vinegar, and a touch of honey. Each plays a special role in making this chili unforgettable.
- Bell Peppers. A mixture of green and red bell peppers add beautiful color, fresh flavor, and nutritional value to the chili.
- Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables to add to meatless chili. They make it filling and add wonderful texture. Plus, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and fiber.
- Chili Powder + Cumin. Classic chili spices that add hallmark flavor and depth.
- Chipotle Chile Powder. Adds a delightful smokiness.
- Cinnamon. Adding cinnamon is a trick I discovered when developing the chili for my cookbook. It adds a rich warmth that makes the chili especially memorable.
- Fire-Roasted Tomatoes. To give the chili that simmered-all-day flavor.
- Beans. I used a combination of black beans and pinto beans. Both add a scrumptious creamy texture and heartiness to the chili.
- Red Wine Vinegar. Adds vibrancy and pop! You can’t taste it specifically, but it’s truly transformative. Taste the chili before and after; you’ll be surprised.
- Honey. Balances the acidity of the tomatoes and makes the chili more well-rounded. To make vegan chili, use granulated sugar or maple syrup instead.
- Sauté the vegetables.
- Add the spices.
- Add the tomatoes, beans, and broth. Let simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat. Puree a couple of cups of the chili in a blender then return it to the pot. THIS IS KEY!
- Stir in the vinegar and honey. Serve with desired toppings and DIG IN!
Blending a portion of the chili makes it ultra thick and helps marry the flavors. It’s an easy step that is 1,000% worth the effort.
Topping Your Vegetarian Chili
- Avocado. Creamy avocado slices are a scrumptious addition to your bowl of chili.
- Cheese. A crowd-pleasing, classic chili topping. To make the chili vegan, you can skip the cheese and load up on other hearty toppings.
- Tortilla Chips. Crunchy, salty, and oh so delicious! If you need to make this chili gluten free, be sure to use gluten free tortilla chips.
- Greek Yogurt. Instead of sour cream, we love to add a dollop of cool and tangy nonfat plain Greek yogurt to our chili.
- Cilantro. A beautiful, fresh green topping.
- To Store. Refrigerate chili in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftover chili in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Plan Tip
Chop all the vegetables up to 1 day in advance and refrigerate.
Leftover chili served over a bed of whole wheat spaghetti noodles makes for a hearty and Cincinnati Chili-style meal. Or, take a note from this One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese, and mix leftovers into your favorite mac and cheese. Leftovers would also be delicious served over a slice of Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. Perfect for making a big pot of chili.
- Ladle. My go-to for serving soups and chilis.
- Extra Large Cutting Board. The ideal size for cutting all the veggies.
The next time you are looking for a hearty plant-based main, a cool-weather warm up, or a stellar healthy meal that will delight your taste buds and your belly alike, give this vegetarian chili a spin. It’s the lift I’m loving lately, and I think you’ll adore it too!
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 red bell peppers chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and ¼-inch diced (about 1 pound)
- 4 cloves garlic minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons chipotle chile powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 (15-ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
- 2 (15-ounce) cans low sodium black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 can pinto beans rinsed and drained (15 ounces)
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth or water
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- For serving: crushed tortilla chips avocado, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, cheese
- In a large Dutch oven or similar large, sturdy pot, heat the olive oil over medium. Once it is hot, add the onion, red bell peppers, green bell pepper, and sweet potato. Cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chile powder, salt, and cinnamon. Cook and stir until very fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, and vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Continue cooking for 30 minutes, stirring periodically and adjusting the heat as needed so that you maintain a gentle simmer.
- Remove from the heat. Transfer 2 cups of the chili to a blender and puree (be careful, as hot chili will splatter!), then stir the blended portion back into the chili. (You also can puree the chili slightly with an immersion blender; be sure to leave it very chunky. The blending is just meant to thicken it up and it improves the flavor too.)
- Stir in the vinegar and honey. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Enjoy hot with desired toppings.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate chili in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftover chili in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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