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bowl of vegetarian chili garnished with shredded cheese and chopped scallions

My Favorite Vegetarian Chili

  • Author: Lisa
  • Total Time: 52 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x


An all around excellent vegetarian chili, with great flavor and texture and just the right amount of heat.

Adapted from a recipe in The Frog Commissary Cookbook



For The Veggies

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (1 1/2 - 2 large)
  • 3 cups chopped mushrooms (15-16 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (4-5 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper (1 large)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic

For The Spices

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (mix different types for added depth of flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Other ingredients

  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1-3 cups tomato juice (Start with 1. Add more at the end to thin, if necessary)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup bulgar wheat (substitute 1 cup quinoa for gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce* Note for strict vegetarians: some brands of Worcestershire sauce contain anchovies. If you omit the Worcestershire sauce, the chili will still be delicious.
  • 1/2 teaspoon tabasco sauce
  • 2 15-ounce cans undrained red kidney beans
  • 3 tablespoons canned chopped green chiles

Suggested Garnishes

  • yogurt or sour cream
  • chopped scallions
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • chopped cilantro
  • cubed avocado


  1. Have all of the ingredients ready: chopped veggies in one bowl, spices measured out in a small bowl, cans opened.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the chopped veggies: onions, mushrooms, carrots, green pepper, celery and garlic, and the spices: cumin, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring, for 4-6 minutes, just to soften the veggies a bit and toast the spices a bit.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, using only 1 cup of the tomato juice to start. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, uncovered. Add additional tomato juice if you want to thin the chili. Season to taste with salt and fresh pepper. Serve with assorted toppings.


  • How To Save Time: Use your food processor to chop all the vegetables.
  • How To add even more great flavor: use 2 or 3 different types of chili powder.
  • How to Freeze and reheat This Chili: Freeze chili in an airtight container. It will last for at least 4 months in the freezer. Defrost before reheating or transfer frozen chili to a large heavy pot with a lid. Add 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat, until defrosted and heated through.
  • How To Make This Vegan: Omit the Worcestershire Sauce or find a brand that doesn't contain anchovies.
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 22 mins
  • Category: Soup, lunch, dinner
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegetarian chili recipe, best vegetarian chili