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Horizontal image a wooden bowl filled with a chunky red soup topped with shredded cheese and herbs with a wooden spoon on top of a white and red towel next to herbs, peppers, and a bowl of shredded cheese.

The Best Vegetarian Chili

  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings (about 1 cup per serving) 1x


Turn the tables on traditional chili with this veggie-centric recipe featuring poblano peppers, hearty beans, zucchini, and fresh cilantro.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium poblano pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup lager beer (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 14-ounce can kidney (or pinto) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo, rough chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder blend
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  1. In a large heavy saucepan or a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, zucchini, and poblano peppers and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the mixture is very fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and beer, scraping up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pot. 
  3. Stir in the kidney beans, black beans, chipotle pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
  4. Cover the pot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer until the chili has thickened slightly, about 1 hour.
  5. Just before serving, season to taste with additional salt and stir in 2 tablespoons of the cilantro.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream or yogurt and lime juice. 
  7. Divide the chili among bowls and evenly garnish with the cheddar cheese, citrus crema, and remaining cilantro.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Category: Chili
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: vegetarian, chili, bean, meatless