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Never Guess It’s Vegetarian Chili

Never Guess It’s Vegetarian Chili

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes

Category: soup

Yield: 4-5

Serving Size: 1 bowl

Never Guess It’s Vegetarian Chili

As summer fades and the nights get cooler. This vegetarian recipe for chili is a warm welcome to the end of your day. This chili is hearty, full of flavor and packed with nutrients to keep you warm and healthy. I have served it to all sorts of guests and have had plenty of meat eaters who could not tell that it was missing the ground beef. The addition of the liquid smoke and 'meaty' grilled vegetable burgers takes the chili flavor and texture up a notch.


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1Tbsp double concentrated tomato paste (substitute 2 Tbsp if using regular tomato paste)
  • 1 15-16oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 15-16oz can black beans
  • 1 ½ cup corn
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup scallions, chopped (white and green parts), plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 28-29oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar (add more if you prefer a slightly sweeter chili)
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 Vegetable Burgers, Grilled and chopped or broken into small pieces
  • *optional add ins (chopped): 1 cup kale, 1 cup spinach, or 1 cup mushrooms
  • (If adding fresh kale or spinach chop and stir to combine. If adding mushrooms, dice and add with vegetables at the beginning.)


  1. Add the diced onion and bell pepper to your dutch oven on a medium heated stove. (also add in chopped mushrooms if using) Sautee vegetables for a few minutes until cooked and onions are translucent.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Add in the kidney beans, black beans, corn, cilantro and scallions.
  4. Add your dry spices: cumin, garlic powder, bay leaf and chili powder and stir to mix with the cooked vegetables.
  5. Pour in the tomato sauce, vegetable stock, agave nectar (for vegan chili) or honey (vegetarian chili) and the liquid smoke.
  6. If you are adding in the chopped kale or spinach, stir in now. This is a great way to pack in some extra nutrition and flavors.
  7. Place lid on dutch oven and turn heat down to medium-low so that your chili will simmer for at least 1 hour. Stirring occasionally. (The longer the chili cooks, the better it gets as the flavors are allowed to develop, I usually cook mine for 2-3 hours before serving.)
  8. While chili is cooking place two or three vegetable burgers on a non-stick skillet or grill until cooked through and grilled on both sides. Remove and allow to cool. Cut or break into small pieces and add to chili about 10 minutes before serving. This will allow them to be incorporated but not lose their texture completely.
  9. Laddle into bowls and top with fresh chopped cilantro, fresh chopped chives and tomatoes. I top it with either my creamy cashew cream (vegan) or a vegan sour cream. You can simply use regular sour cream for the vegetarian recipe.
  10. Another great addition for some crunch is to top it with crushed tortilla chips or sliced radish. Or go all out and serve it with some fresh baked corn bread.

About The Author


Upstate New York Mother who loves to cook for her family, come up with creative projects and solutions to everyday problems and make fun memories with her daughters. Even in this crazy hectic world, she believes in celebrating the small things and taking the time to make the everyday extra special.

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