This vegetarian chili recipe is loaded with so much goodness, you’ll never miss the meat! To make the best vegetarian chili, we’re using a combination of hearty, good-for-you ingredients and delicious seasonings. It’s an easy recipe that comes together with very little effort in one pot. The perfect bowl of comfort and yumminess to enjoy all season long! Slow cooker and pressure cooker instructions too!

vegetarian chili served with cornbread

loaded vegetarian chili

This wonderfully hearty vegetarian chili is packed with quinoa, sweet potatoes, black beans, kidney beans, corn and incredible flavor! It’s healthy comfort food at its finest!

If you’re a regular reader of Kim’s Cravings, you know that I’m pretty much obsessed with chili. A piping-hot bowl of chili is probably my favorite meal to enjoy during the winter months. There are so many variations and delicious ways to change it up. Plus, a chili dinner is a great excuse to enjoy crumbly corn bread! If you haven’t tried my SUPER delicious Mexican Cornbread, add that to your menu asap!

I know you guys love chili too because my dad’s award-winning beef chili is super popular and my new white chicken chili is already getting rave reviews. In fact, this quinoa chili has been a reader favorite since it was first posted in January of 2017. Since it is such a reader favorite, I thought it was time for a little facelift! We’re updating this post with more detailed explanations, helpful tips and gorgeous photos.

adding ingredients for vegetarian chili into a large pot

what’s in vegetarian chili?

This easy vegetarian chili recipe is made with nourishing ingredients that you might already have on hand. Not only is there no meat in this recipe, but there’s also no dairy, so this recipe is completely vegan too. To make vegan chili here’s what you’ll need:

  • Onion. Diced onion adds delicious savory flavor to the chili.
  • Sweet potatoes. I absolutely love sweet potato in chili! It gives the chili amazing flavor and makes this veggie chili super satisfying.
  • Seasoning mix. Cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper create the perfect blend of flavors. If you like your chili to have a little kick, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • Vegetable broth. Use more or less veggie broth, depending on how thick you like your chili.
  • Quinoa. Adds such a fun texture, soaking up all the flavors and goodness of this chili.
  • Beans. The recipe calls for black and kidney beans, but feel free to use any beans you’d like. Pinto beans or chili beans would also work great.
  • Corn. Corn adds a bit of crunch and sweetness. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned corn for this dish.
  • Cinnamon stick. My secret ingredient that makes the flavor really pop in this vegetarian chili recipe! You can leave this out, though, if you don’t have a stick of cinnamon available.

Don’t forget the toppings! We love quinoa chili topped with diced avocado, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. It would also be great with shredded cheese and a spoonful of sour cream or Greek yogurt. If I don’t make cornbread to crumble over the top, I like to crumble tortilla chips over the top. Yum!

stirring quinoa bean chili with a wooden spoon

how do you make vegetarian chili?

Making this cozy vegetarian chili recipe is such a breeze! I love that everything is cooked in one pot and the only chopping you have to do is for the onion and sweet potato. Here’s a quick rundown of the instructions:

  1. Sauté veggies. Start by sautéing the onion and then add in the sweet potato and seasonings to cook until tender.
  2. Cook all ingredients. Add in the broth and all other ingredients and bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer and continue to cook for about 30 minutes and until sweet potato is fork tender and chili is thick.
  3. Enjoy! Stir once more, remove cinnamon stick, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. At this point you can add in an extra cup of vegetable broth, if needed. Ladle into bowls and serve with your favorite toppings.

make slow cooker vegetarian chili

You can totally make this quinoa chili recipe in a slow cooker instead of on the stovetop! I love that you can just throw everything into the crockpot and let the magic happen!

  1. Add all the ingredients to your slow cooker. You can sauté the onion before adding it to the crockpot for a little extra flavor, but it isn’t necessary.
  2. Cook. Stir and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.
  3. Enjoy! Stir once more, remove cinnamon stick, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. At this point you can add in an extra cup of vegetable broth, if needed. Ladle into bowls and serve with your favorite toppings.

make vegetarian chili in an Instant Pot

Do you have a pressure cooker? Make this chili recipe in a flash using your Instant Pot!

  1. Sauté veggies. Start by sautéing the onion and sweet potato in the Instant Pot (with seasonings) until soft.
  2. Cook all ingredients. Stir in all other ingredients, cover, seal, and cook on manual (high) pressure for 8 minutes. Immediately release the pressure, then open the Instant Pot.
  3. Enjoy! Stir once more, remove cinnamon stick, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. At this point you can add in an extra cup of vegetable broth, if needed. Serve with desired toppings.

serving vegetarian chili with a ladle

is vegetarian chili good for you?

This plant-based chili is GREAT for you! It’s packed with nourishing, healthy ingredients like sweet potatoes, beans, and quinoa that contain numerous health benefits.

This vegetarian chili recipe is also low in calories and fat, but high in protein and fiber, which makes it perfect for satisfying lunches and dinners. 

Here are some of the health benefits of this chili and its ingredients:

  • High in Fiber, Vitamins, and Minerals. sweet potatoes, onions, quinoa, beans
  • Rich in Antioxidants. onions, sweet potatoes, beans, cinnamon
  • Packed with Protein. quinoa, beans, add even more protein by topping your chili with Greek yogurt

tips

This quinoa chili recipe really is so simple, but here are some tips to make sure your chili cooks up awesome every single time!

  • Rinsing quinoa. Quinoa is naturally coated with saponins, a bitter-tasting outer coating to the seed. Unless your package of quinoa specifically states that it is pre-rinsed, you’ll need to wash the saponin off your quinoa. Place the quinoa in a fine mesh seive and rinse well for a minute or so. When the water runs clear, you can proceed with the recipe.
  • Vegetarian chili is very versatile. Feel free to add the amount of spices and other ingredients that you prefer.
  • Chop the sweet potatoes into small bite-sized pieces; this ensures they’ll cook evenly and at the same rate as all of the other ingredients.
  • For turkey quinoa chili, add in some browned ground turkey. If adding in ground turkey, you may want to increase the spices as well. Also, be sure to season the ground turkey with salt and pepper.

storing & freezing vegetarian chili

This vegetarian chili recipe is perfect for meal prep or as a make ahead meal, and reheats very well. In fact, I think it’s even tastier the next day!

Leftovers. Like other chili recipes, vegetarian chili can be stored in an airtight container and kept in your fridge for up to about 5 days.

Freezing. You can freeze vegetarian chili. Once it’s completely cooled, place it in freezer-safe containers or resealable gallon-sized freezer bags. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer the chili to the fridge and store overnight. When ready to serve, reheat it on medium heat on the stovetop. You will most likely need to add more liquid to the chili because the quinoa will continue to absorb liquid.

vegetarian chili made with sweet potatoes, quinoa and beans

If you are new to quinoa, this is an excellent way to try it for the first time because it doesn’t require cooking ahead of time. Just throw everything into a large pot and your meal is ready in just over 30 minutes! This chili is warm and satisfying on a chilly day!

more cozy soup and chili recipes to try

Healthy Seafood Chowder

Copycat Panera Bread Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Healthy Turkey Chili

If you try this vegan chili recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves this recipe as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

vegetarian chili topped with lime, avocado, and fresh cilantro

how to make vegetarian chili with quinoa

vegetarian chili served with cornbread
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Best Vegetarian Chili

An easy quinoa chili that comes together in less than 1 hour! Easy, delicious, super healthy and so satisfying!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 3 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, diced (about 1 pound)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium, divided
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked (you will not need to rinse if using Bob's Red Mill quinoa)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels, frozen, canned and drained, or roasted
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Optional for serving:

  • lime juice, avocado, fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or cheese, as preferred, and plenty of corn bread

Instructions 

  • In a large pot over medium heat, sauté diced onion in about 2 teaspoons oil until translucent and soft. Add diced sweet potato and spices (all are optional). Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add 3 cups vegetable broth and bring mixture to a low boil on medium high heat, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer. Add quinoa, beans, corn and cinnamon stick; cover and cook for 30 minutes more and until the sweet potatoes are fork tender and the chili is thick. Once chili is done cooking, stir in additional cup of vegetable broth. Taste and add more seasonings as needed.
  • As with all chili and soup recipes, this is best when prepared the night before or has time to sit before serving for a few hours so the flavors can really shine.
  • Remove cinnamon stick and serve with fresh cilantro, lime juice, avocado slices, guacamole, chips, sour cream and/or cheese, as preferred.

Notes

*The quinoa will soak up the liquid of any leftover chili. Before reheating leftover chili, I would recommend adding more vegetable broth or water to thin the chili back out.
 
*See full blog post for slow cooker and pressure cooker instructions.
Storage + Freezing:
  • Make ahead. This is a great recipe for meal prep or as a make ahead meal, and reheats very well. In fact, I think it’s even tastier the next day!
  • Leftovers. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to about 5 days.
  • Freezing. You can freeze vegetarian chili. Once it’s completely cooled, place it in freezer-safe containers or resealable gallon-sized freezer bags. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer the chili to the fridge and store overnight. When ready to serve, reheat it on medium heat on the stovetop. You will most likely need to add more liquid to the chili because the quinoa will absorb the liquid.
 
Photos by Sasha at Eat Love Eats.
Serving: 1cup, Calories: 217kcal, Carbohydrates: 43.8g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 1.5g, Sodium: 672.6mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 5.8g

Did you make this recipe?

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