The best vegetarian chili recipe we’ve ever tried. Even better, it’s easy to make, just spicy enough, and can simply be tossed in the slow cooker.
This vegetarian chili recipe is, quite simply, the best vegetarian chili recipe. It’s crazy easy to make and can even be tossed in the slow cooker and forgotten about until game time. It’s mildly spicy and terrific spooned over tortilla chips, baked sweet potatoes, cooked rice, or just plain old nothing.–Renee Schettler Rossi
*How To Ensure Your Vegetarian Chili Is Gluten-Free
One of our trusted recipe testers, Melissa Maedgen, reminded us that not all chipotle chile in adobo is gluten-free. Some brands of chipotle in adobo have wheat flour in them, so check the ingredients carefully. Maedgan recommends San Marcos brand, which does come in a 3.5-ounce can and also happens to be gluten-free. La Costeña brand is also gluten-free.
Special Equipment: 5-quart or larger slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)
Vegetarian Chili Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 3 H, 30 M
- Serves 6
- 1/3 pound dried red kidney beans
- 1/3 pound dried pinto beans
- 1/3 pound dried garbanzo beans
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 large or 4 small cloves garlic, minced (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon homemade chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 bunch scallions, bulbs and greens chopped (reserve some greens for garnish)
- One 3.5-ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (La Costeña brand and San Marcos brand are gluten-free*)
- One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juice
- 4 cups store-bought or homemade vegetable broth
- Lime wedges, for serving
- 1. Dump the beans in a large pot and cover with enough water to cover. Let the beans soak at room temperature overnight.
- 2. After you’ve soaked the beans overnight, heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Toss the onion into the pot and cook until it’s slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and just beginning to barely brown, another 3 minutes. Add the salt, cumin, chili powder, and oregano and stir to combine.
- 3. If making the chili on the stovetop, drain the beans and dump them in your Dutch oven along with the scallions, chipotles chiles in adobo sauce (you may want to first stem and seed the chiles and puree them with some of the sauce), tomatoes, and broth. Bring the chili to a boil and then reduce the heat, cover, and cook at a very gentle simmer until the beans are tender and chili has reached the desired consistency, about 3 hours.
If making the chili in a slow cooker, drain the beans and dump them in your slow cooker along with the contents of the Dutch oven, the scallions, chipotles chiles in adobo sauce (you may want to first stem and seed the chiles and puree them with some of the sauce), tomatoes, and broth. Cover and cook on low until the beans are tender and chili has reached desired consistency, at least 10 hours and up to 16 hours.
- 4. Ladle the chili into bowls, strew some scallions on top, and pass the lime wedges on the side for squeezing.
Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili Variation
- If you want to get this vegetarian chili on your table even quicker, just break out your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Follow steps 1 and 2 above and then drain the beans and dump them in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker along with the scallions, chipotles chiles in adobo sauce, tomatoes, and broth. Cover the pressure cooker with its lid and seal according to manufacturer’s directions. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and, if using a pressure cooker, allow it to depressurize but do not take off the lid. (The cooling process will decrease the pressure naturally, which ought to take about 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the pot under cold running water to release the pressure.) Once the pot has fully depressurized, remove the lid and ladle the chili into bowls, strew some scallions on top, and pass the lime wedges on the side for squeezing.