★★★★★

Vegetarian Chili

You won’t miss the meat in this hearty Vegetarian Chili. Along with classic chili ingredients like beans and southwestern spices, this chili uses walnuts to achieve the perfect taste and texture.

Meatless dinners are some of our all time favorites. For more vegetarian meal ideas, check out these Easy Vegetarian Zucchini Meatballs and this Lentil Tortilla Soup.

Hearty Vegetarian Chili recipe packed with flavor! You won't miss the meat in this vegetable chili, and the addition of walnuts gives the perfect texture and flavor!

Why this Recipe Works

Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, everyone needs a few good meat free recipes up their sleeve!

Today’s vegan chili is one of our go-to family meals. It’s so nourishing and filling that everyone at the table walks away satisfied!

  • Customize your vegetarian chili by adding all your favorite toppings.
  • It’s delicious served over baked potatoes or as a base for vegetarian Frito pie.
  • You can make this recipe on the stove top or in the Instant Pot!

Hearty Vegetarian Chili recipe packed with flavor! You won't miss the meat in this vegetable chili, and the addition of walnuts gives the perfect texture and flavor!

Ingredient Notes

Kidney and pinto beans. These are my preferred beans in this chili. However, you can swap them out for black beans, chickpeas or any beans you like.

Walnuts. Chopped walnuts add a surprising “meaty” element to the chili.

Crushed tomatoes. I use plain crushed tomatoes to control the spice level and flavor profile.

Toppings. Try this chili topped with plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream), shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onions.

Easy Instructions

Saute the vegetables.

Cook sliced zucchini, onion, green pepper and garlic in olive oil for about 3 -5 minutes. Vegetables should be soft and fragrant.

Simmer the chili.

Now, add the remaining ingredients and stir. Cover the pot and let the chili simmer for 90 minutes.

When read to eat, ladle the chili into bowls. Top with your desired garnishes and enjoy!

Instant Pot Instructions

Short on time? This vegetarian chili in the instant pot is ready in minutes.

Add all the ingredients to the Instant Pot. Lock the lid and cook on HIGH pressure for 5 minutes.

After letting the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, remove the lid, stir and serve!

Tips and Tricks

  • Topping ideas: corn chips, baked tortilla strips, pico de gallo and salsa are amazing on vegetarian chili too!
  • Storing: Transfer leftover chili to an airtight container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.
  • Stir. As the chili simmers, give it an occasional stir. This helps the ingredients combine and cook evenly.

Recipe FAQs

What side dishes are good with vegetarian chili?

You can’t go wrong with thick slices of Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread on the side! Or try whipping up a loaf of Beer Bread to serve with your chili.

Do I need whole walnuts or pieces for this recipe?

I start with whole walnuts and chop them up. You don’t want crumbs but they should be fairly small bits to achieve the right texture.

Can I swap the zucchini for yellow squash?

Yes, you can substitute yellow squash, more bell peppers or any other veggie that sounds good to you!

Is this recipe vegan?

The chili itself is vegan because it contains no meat or animal byproducts. If you add cheese and Greek yogurt, it is no longer vegan.

If you need this meal to be vegan, you can use vegan alternatives for the toppings or simply leave them off.

Can I make vegetarian chili in the slow cooker?

Yes, you can! I would saute the veggies as directed then transfer to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook on low, stirring every so often.

Hearty Vegetarian Chili recipe packed with flavor! You won't miss the meat in this vegetable chili, and the addition of walnuts gives the perfect texture and flavor!

More Delicious Recipes

Delicious, nutritious and hearty vegetarian chili is a meatless meal the whole family will love!

Yield: 6 servings

Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes

Hearty Vegetarian Chili recipe packed with flavor! You won't miss the meat in this vegetable chili, and the addition of walnuts gives the perfect texture and flavor!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 32 oz vegetable stock
  • 1 can (15 0z) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (1lb 13 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • green onion, shredded cheddar cheese, plain greek yogurt (optional), for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add zucchini, onion, green pepper, and garlic. Saute for about 3-5 minutes, until softened.
  2. Add in remaining ingredients (except garnish options). Stir and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve with desired garnishes. ENJOY!

Notes

For the Instant Pot:

  • Add stock with vegetables, seasoning, beans, paste, and nuts to the pressure cooker. Lock the lid and select HIGH PRESSURE. Add a cook time of 5 minutes.
  • Allow to naturally release for 10 minutes. Remove lid, stir and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on March 23, 2017

Comments & Reviews

  1. I have seen pictures of vegan/vegetarian power weight lifters and they don’t look like they are missing any protein to me. So I don’t think you have any worries if you do this right.

  2. I am not seeing the suggested quantity of walnuts to add to this recipe. Is it 1 cup and do you suggest whole walnuts or walnut pieces? Thanks.

  3. I could sure use a bowl of this right about now, Aimee 🙂 Love the addition of nuts in chili…a thought that had never crossed my mind but it looks absolutely wonderful!

  4. I’ve been adding nuts to everything these days – soups, salads, lots of different pestos, and desserts. I love the idea of nuts in chili. Giving this one a try very soon!

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