This Vegetarian Chili is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BUSH’S® Beans. All opinions are 100% mine.
Fall leaves, a crisp breeze, and Cozy Vegetarian Chili to the rescue! We’re putting a veggie spin on our favorite classic chili, and guys I promise, you won’t miss the meat here. We’ve filled this hearty chili with carrots, red bell peppers, celery, chopped walnuts (for a meaty texture), and medley of chili beans for the ultimate cozy chili to warm you from the inside out. Top with shredded cheddar cheese (the sharpest you can find), sliced green onions, and if you’re like us, salty corn chips for texture.
It seems to be a reoccurring theme when the orange, yellow and red leaves blanket our once-upon-a-time green grass, the kids are at their happiest and there’s some form of chili brewing on the stove. While we are not a meat-free family by any means, we do try to lean towards more plant-based options when we can. Today’s Easy Vegetarian chili is the perfect way to sneak some vegetables and fiber-filled beans into my family’s bellies.
Our version of vegetarian chili of course packs in tons of veggies with red bell peppers, celery, and carrots. We also throw in some finely chopped walnuts for a little extra heartiness and meat-like texture. However, the star of the show is without a doubt the BUSH’S® Chili Beans, that not only add heartiness to the chili, but so much flavor.
Ingredients in Easy Vegetarian Chili
The veggies. Whatever veggies you love, throw them in. We went with a combination of red bell pepper, diced carrot, and celery. And course, plenty of garlic. You could also use chopped up mushrooms, any other type of bell pepper, zucchini, or squash.
Walnuts. This may seem like odd ingredients to add to a vegetarian chili, but after you finely chop them and simmer them in the chili, they take on a really lovely softer texture that mimics meat a little bit. I love the extra texture they add.
BUSH’S® Chili Beans. For this particular recipe, we’re using BUSH’S® Mixed Chili Beans: Pinto & Kidney Beans and BUSH’S® Chili Beans: Black Beans in a Mild Chili Sauce. We ALWAYS use a form of BUSH’S® Chili Beans in our chilis. Not only are they premium beans, but they add SO much flavor to chili and stews without having to add in a ton of extra spices. The Mixed variety is slow simmered with garlic, onion, and spices. It’s mild, but full of flavor. The black beans have a little bit more of a zippiness to them with tomatoes, mild chili peppers and onions as the base flavor. The combination of the two adds just the right amount of spice and flavor without being too aggressive.
Tomatoes. Similar to capitalizing on the innate spices and flavors the beans have in them, we also use canned tomatoes stewed in green chiles and garlic to infuse even more flavor into the chili. Of course, if you just have regular tomatoes on hand, those will work as well.
Tomato paste. I always like to add a little bit of tomato paste to almost all of my stews and chilis that have any sort of tomato in them. Tomato paste is super concentrated, so it adds a lot of tomato flavor without adding any extra liquid.
Spices. Because the Chili Beans already have quite a bit of flavor and spices in them, all we need to do is add just a touch of extra chili powder and cumin. I also like to add in a pinch or two of chipotle chili powder for an extra kick of heat.
Ketchup. This is one of those ingredients that may seem weird to add, but trust me, you need it!
Chicken broth. I like a really hearty and thick chili, but if you prefer it a little more soup-like in texture, you can add a little bit of chicken broth.
Let’s Make Easy Vegetarian Chili
Chop the walnuts. Add the walnuts to a food processor. Pulse until they resemble the size of rice granules. Set aside.
Sauté the veggies. Add a little bit of olive oil to a large pot. Turn the heat on medium, and once the oil is hot, add the carrots, celery, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Add in the walnuts. Continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Add everything else! This chili is SO easy. After you sauté the veggies, simply add in the beans, tomatoes, spices, salt, ketchup, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. If you think it needs a little bit more liquid, add 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Continue to simmer until the veggies and walnuts are soft. Another 10-15 minutes.
Can I make this ahead of time?
YES! In fact, Easy Vegetarian Chili just gets better and better! To make ahead of time, cook from start to finish. Cool completely in the pot you cooked it in. Cover and store in the fridge for 1-2 days. Pull it out when you’re ready to serve, bring up to a boil and reduce to a simmer until warm all the way through. Serve as directed.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Swap out red bell peppers for green, yellow or red bell peppers.
- If you can’t find stewed canned tomatoes, use regular diced tomatoes.
- For a little sweetness, add a touch of honey.
- Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, or Monterrey jack.
- Other garnishes would be corn chips, cornbread croutons, chopped walnuts.
- Don’t drain the BUSH’S Chili Beans! You’ll appreciate the added flavor.
Other favorite Stews and Chilis
- Our Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup is a favorite!
- Sweet Potato Chicken Chili is a cult favorite with readers!
- For something with a little Italian flair, check out our Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup diced carrtos
- 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1 can BUSH'S® Mixed Chili Beans: Pinto & Kidney Beans
- 1 can BUSH'S® Chili Beans: Black Beans in a Mild Chili Sauce
- 14 oz can stewed tomatoes with green chiles
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
- shredded cheese, sour cream, green onion, corn chips, and pepper jack cheese for topping
- Dutch oven or large pot
- Add walnuts to the bottom of a food processor. Pulse until they resemble granules of rice. Set aside.
- Heat a large pot to a medium heat. Add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery bell pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until slightly softened. Add the walnuts. Sauté another 3-4 minutes until softened.
- Pour in both cans of beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, tomato paste, ketchup, chipotle chili powder, and remaining salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. If needed add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chicken stock to reach desired consistency. Simmer another 10-15 minutes until the veggies and walnut are soft. Season taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, green onion, and sour cream.