A veggie-loaded dish with a variety of vegetables and mixed beans, this VEGETARIAN CHILI makes the best and most delicious plant-based alternative to this classic favorite. This recipe is meal-prep friendly, and freezer-friendly, so it’s perfect to make on a weekend and save for those busy weeknights at home.
WHAT’S IN THIS VEGETARIAN CHILI?
CARROTS & CELERY
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, and vitamin A which boosts eye health, skin health and heart health. It also aids in weight management, and helps boost digestion with its high fiber content.
Celery is a highly anti-inflammatory food which also helps with digestion, lowers blood cholesterol, and blood pressure. It is known though as being part of the Dirty Dozen (a list of fruits & vegetables with a high pesticide residue), so it’s best to buy organic. If you can’t buy organic, then just make sure to rinse the stalks really well prior to cooking.
I used a mix of beans (black beans, red kidney beans, cannelini beans, pinto beans) but you can just use black beans, one other type of bean for some added color and flavor. Chickpeas could also be another option.
Legumes are high in fiber and are an excellent meat substitute for their fleshy texture. It’s best to use canned beans which are already pre-cooked, but if you are using raw beans then you need to pre-cook them by bringing a pot of water to a boil and simmering for at least 40 minutes until the beans are tender. If using canned beans, rinse it well with tap water before using.
SPICES & HERBS
This is what adds depth of flavor and lots of nutrients into this dish. The classic chili recipe would typically have chili powder but I skipped this one to make it kid-friendly. Instead, I added more of the smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and bay leaf, along with fresh coriander. Spices are highly anti-inflammatory especially ground cumin which shows promise in helping to lower blood cholesterol and improve signs of insulin resistance.
CANNED DICED TOMATOES
A staple in my pantry are canned diced or crushed tomatoes. You can definitely use fresh tomatoes, however if you don’t have much time to cook, then 100% tomatoes in a tin is the quicker option. Make sure to read the labels and there shouldn’t be any other added ingredients or preservatives.
CAN YOU FREEZE THIS VEGETARIAN CHILI?
Sure you can! I love making a big batch which can last for 3-4 meals (depending on how huge your family is). To store, just pre-portion them in freezer-friendly containers, and make sure to cool it down completely before covering with a lid. This prevents any bacteria build-up by which usually happens when you place hot food straight into the fridge. Also, be sure to leave about an inch space from the lid for expansion during freezing.
To reheat, just thaw it the night before inside the fridge or heat it straight in the oven or on the stove top. Don’t re-freeze once you’ve thawed it.
HOW TO SERVE THIS VEGETARIAN CHILI?
Your options are endless! I love pairing these with tortilla chips or some fresh avocado slices. If you want it to be more filling, then you can make a burrito bowl with brown rice, or even quinoa to go with it. Add some fresh herbs like cilantro or coriander, and a squeeze of lime for more tanginess. You can even have this as filling for your tacos or burrito wraps.
FOR MORE DELICIOUS VEGETARIAN RECIPES, TRY THESE:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- 2 carrots chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 2 cans 400 grams of diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 can 400 grams of black beans
- 1 can 400 grams of mixed beans / kidney beans, pinto beans/ cannelini beans
- 2 tbsps tomato paste
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped and more for garnish
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or juice of a lime
- slices of fresh avocado
- tortilla chips
- In a dutch oven or large casserole, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic for a minute or two. Add the celery, carrots, and red bell peppers. Let it cook for about 5-6 minutes or until slightly tender. Then add the tomato paste, ground paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and oregano and continue cooking for another minute as the spices start to smell fragrant.
- Tip the canned tomatoes, chicken stock, and beans and let it come to a soft boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, covered with a lid. Stir every 7 minutes or so to keep the bottom from sticking.
- After 25 minutes, scoop about a cup of the mixture into a blender and blend until it becomes this creamy consistency and pour it back into the casserole. You can also use a stick blender to blitz the chili for a couple times which gives this dish a thick texture. Lastly, add the chopped coriander and season with salt and pepper. Pour the red wine vinegar or lime juice and turn off heat.
- Serve warm with tortilla chips or brown rice, and a side of avocado slices.
If you loved this recipe, make sure to leave a comment below and let me know how it goes! I always love to hear about your recreations of these recipes from my blog.