Vegan chili in a bowl
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4.84 from 6 votes

Vegetarian Chili

This easy vegetarian chili recipe is so hearty and rich, even meat lovers will love it! This is also a vegan chili recipe.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Vegan Chili, Vegetarian Chili
Servings: 6 servings (approximately)
Calories: 212kcal
Author: Jennifer Farley


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 ounces shiitake mushroom caps, finely chopped (1 1/2 scant cups chopped, see notes)
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • 2 medium yellow onions (2 1/2 - 3 cups)
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce + 2 tablespoons sauce from the can
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained (see notes)
  • Optional accompaniments: diced red onions or shallots, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, sour cream, sliced avocado, diced or thinly sliced jalapeno or serrano pepper, lime wedges


  • In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan (do not use a non-stick pan), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Have a cup of water nearby. Add the mushrooms and brown for 5 minutes, increasing the heat if needed. If bits of mushroom stick to the bottom of the pan and start browning, periodically add a splash of water and use a spatula to scrape up the brown bits and stir them into the mushrooms.
  • Once the mushrooms are browned, turn the heat to low and add the remaining olive oil. Add the onions along with a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Turn the heat up to medium and add the celery and bell peppers. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring, then add the tomato paste. Let the tomato paste cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring only occasionally, so that it forms a brown glaze on the bottom of the pan along with the vegetables. Splash water into the pan a few times when the glaze forms, stirring it back into the vegetables.
  • Stir in the garlic, cumin, and chili powder, cooking for 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, chipotle chilis, adobo sauce, and beans. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the ingredients to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and cover. Cook for at least 30 minutes or up to one hour.
  • Serve hot with optional accompaniments. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months (I like freezing it in individual portions).


Other mushrooms may be substituted for the shiitakes. You can use all pinto or all black beans; I just like having a mix.
The glazing/deglazing steps might seem cumbersome, but they add tons of flavor to the chili! Browning the ingredients along with the added mushrooms creates a depth and savoriness that’s often lacking in vegetarian chilis.
Since I've tagged this as a vegan recipe, please note that not all of the suggested accompaniments are vegan. 
Recipe Pairings: I recommend serving this chili with my buttermilk biscuits or pretzel buns!


Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 85mg | Potassium: 282mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1195IU | Vitamin C: 30.1mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1.1mg