“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.

A bowl of hearty vegetarian chili

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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.

Chili Aplenty!

Truly, there’s a chili for every need and mood.

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.

A bowl of hearty and healthy chili

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.


The Ingredients

  • 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.

Substitution Tip

You can substitute sherry vinegar for red wine vinegar. I recommend avoiding other kinds of vinegar such as balsamic or white vinegar, since they can be too strong.

  • 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.

The Directions

Chopped vegetables in a pot
  1. Sauté the vegetables.
Vegetables and spices in a pot
  1. Add the spices.
Tomatoes, beans, and vegetables in a pot
  1. Add the tomatoes, beans, and broth. Let simmer, stirring occasionally.
Pureed beans in a blender
  1. Remove from the heat. Puree a couple of cups of the chili in a blender then return it to the pot. THIS IS KEY!
  2. Stir in the vinegar and honey. Serve with desired toppings and DIG IN!

Tip!

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.
Vegetarian chili served in two bowls

Storage Tips

  • 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.

Vegetarian chili in a pot

Leftover Ideas

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.

What to Serve with Chili

A bowl of vegetarian chili with avocado

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

High-Quality Dutch Oven

A heavy-duty, long-lasting Dutch oven like this one is a must-have in your kitchen. It’s versatile and will quickly become a favorite cooking tool.

A bowl of hearty vegetarian chili

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

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!

A bowl of hearty vegetarian chili

Vegetarian Chili

5 from 3 votes
This thick, hearty vegetarian chili is award winning quality! Packed with sweet potato, beans, and veggies, it's healthy and extra filling.

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 1 hr 5 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 359kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 16gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPotassium: 1088mgFiber: 19gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 13160IUVitamin C: 77mgCalcium: 171mgIron: 6mg

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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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10 Comments

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  1. I make lots of recipes and this was by far one of the best and most flavorful. It was easy to make and was even better the next day. I used Ancho Chili Pepper powder from Penzey’s instead of Chipotle Chili powder and it was the perfect spice. Will absolutely be making this again and if you are thinking about it, just do it!5 stars

  2. I made this last night. We’re trying to have fewer meals with meat. Well I gotta tell you. This was so delicious I may never make chili with meat again!5 stars

  3. This was dinner last night and everyone loved it! The taste is amazing, I like that it does not have that heavy tomato presence. The spices are perfect, and it tastes great the next day…..if you happen to have any left over.

    Keep them coming Erin, so good!5 stars

  4. Would you ever consider including serving size for your recipes? For example, 1 serving= 1 cup. This could help with nutritional information

    1. Hi Mary! Some of my recipes do offer the exact amount per serving size, but for this recipe, I think you could try eyeballing it into 6 equal portions. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

        1. Hi Barb! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so you’d be experimenting. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!