Vegan Main Dishes/ Vegan Recipes/ Vegan Soups, Stews, and Chilis

Classic Veggie Chili with Lots of Variations

Classic veggie chili and cornbread

This chili recipe isn’t revolutionary, but a plant-based repertoire wouldn’t be complete without it. For a classic combo, serve with Corn Kernel Cornbread and a colorful salad, combining mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, olives, and pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Recipe from Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes by Nava Atlas. ©2014, published by HarperOne, reprinted by permission. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.

Classic veggie chili and cornbread

Classic Veggie Chili with Lots of Variations

This chili recipe isn’t revolutionary, but a plant-based repertoire wouldn’t be complete without it.
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Course: Chili
Cuisine: Vegan / Healthy
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8
Author: Veg Kitchen


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 medium or large bell pepper any color, finely diced
  • 4 to 5 cups cooked or two 28-ounce cans drained and rinsed beans of your choice (see Variations)
  • 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 11/2 to 2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 1 to 2 fresh hot chili peppers see Variations, seeded and minced, or one 4- to 8-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality chili powder or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder optional; highly recommended
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt to taste

Optional toppings (any or all)

  • Lightly cooked or raw chopped onions or scallions
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Grated nondairy Cheddar-style or pepper Jack–style cheese
  • Diced ripe fresh tomatoes


  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until the onion is golden.
  • Add remaining ingredients except salt along with 1/2 cup water. Simmer gently, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season gently with salt and adjust the other seasonings.
  • If time allows, let stand for an hour or so off the heat, then heat through as needed before serving. The chili should be very dense, but if you’d like it a bit more on the soupy side, add another 1/2 to 1 cup water and continue to heat through. Ladle into bowls and pass around the garnishes.


  • Use pink, pinto, red, or black beans, varying your choices each time you make this. Using two different beans in the same pot adds to the visual appeal.
  • If using fresh chilies, for a spicier effect, use jalapeño or serrano peppers or 1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (the latter come in cans or jars and are supremely incendiary). For a milder effect, use poblanos.
  • For added texture, stir in a cup or so of cooked grain—quinoa, whole-grain couscous, or bulgur all work well. Adjust the liquid as needed.
  • Winter squash or sweet potatoes added to chili are not only delicious but also add to its visual appeal. Toward the end of cooking time, add 2 cups or so cooked diced sweet potatoes or winter squash. Butternut or sugar pumpkins are particularly good.

Nutrition information
Per serving: Calories: 265; Total fat: 4g; Protein: 15g; Carbohydrates: 47g; Fiber: 13g; Sodium: 25mg

Classic veggie chili and cornbread recipe

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