Are you tired of the same bland meals day after day? Well, it’s time to spice things up with my Vegetarian Vegan Chili recipe! This low-salt instant pot or crockpot recipe is not only healthy but easy to make too.
As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I’ve put together a recipe that you won’t forget. My vegetarian chili is packed with flavors of black beans, sweet potatoes, and frozen corn, creating an explosion of taste in every bite. Plus, it’s vegan-friendly, making it an excellent plant-based option for all those wanting to experience something new.
Whether you are working from home or trying to get dinner on the table quickly, this recipe has got you covered. It’s a quick and easy one-pot meal that will leave your taste buds dancing. So why settle for ordinary when you can indulge in extraordinary? Let’s dive right into the ingredient list and make your new favorite dish!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Picture this: it’s a cold, wintry night, and you’re snuggled up on the sofa with your loved ones. All of a sudden, the craving for something hearty and warming hits you. What do you do? You could order in, but why not make something comforting and delicious yourself with this vegetarian/vegan chili recipe?
First of all, it’s incredibly easy to make, whether you’re using an Instant Pot or a slow cooker. Just add your ingredients, press a button, and let the machine do the cooking for you. But don’t let that fool you – the depth of flavor in this chili is just as rich as if you’d slaved away over a hot stove for hours.
Secondly, this recipe is plant-based, which means it’s packed full of nutrients and goodness that your body craves. You’ll find plenty of protein from the black beans and kidney beans, fiber from the sweet potatoes and quinoa, and even vitamin C from the bell pepper.
And let’s not forget about its versatility – this chili can be customized to suit anyone’s taste preferences. Add more cayenne pepper for some extra heat, swap out black beans for pinto beans or chickpeas, or serve it up with some avocado or shredded cheese on top.
Trust me when I say that not only will you love how easy it is to make this chili, but your taste buds will thank you too. So go ahead, give it a try – you won’t regret it!
Here are the ingredients that you will need:
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (14.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (14.5 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt, to taste
- Water or vegetable broth, as needed
Note: You can also add salsa for extra flavor. Also for a vegan recipe, skip the cheese and sour cream toppings.
The Recipe How-To
Now that you have your ingredients ready, let’s jump into the fun part: making the vegetarian chili! Don’t get intimidated because this recipe is really easy to follow. Trust me, even if you’re new in the kitchen, you’ll be amazed how quick and easy it is to make this delicious chili.
Step 1: Sauté onions and garlic
To add a little depth of flavor to the chili, start by sauteing one chopped onion and four cloves of minced garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until they become fragrant and the onion turns translucent.
Step 2: Add vegetables and spices
Once the onions and garlic are cooked, it’s now time to add the vegetables. Begin by adding one chopped bell pepper, one peeled and diced sweet potato, two chopped carrots, and two chopped celery stalks. Stir everything together for a minute or two.
Now it’s time to add some spices! Add two tablespoons of cumin powder, three tablespoons of chili powder, one tablespoon of oregano, one tablespoon of smoked paprika, and half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Mix everything together until all the vegetables are coated with the spices.
Step 3: Add beans and liquids
Now it’s time to add the beans! Pour in two cans of rinsed and drained black beans and one can of pinto beans. Then add one can (14.5 ounces) of diced tomatoes with their juice followed by three cups of water.
If you want your chili to be a bit thicker, reduce the amount of water used slightly or add some tomato paste.
Step 4: Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Time
Instant Pot Method
Once you’ve added all the ingredients to your Instant Pot, secure the lid on top and turn the valve to sealing mode. Select the manual pressure cook button and set the timer to 15 minutes.
After cooking, let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes before doing quick release.
Slow Cooker Method
For those who prefer using a slow cooker, simply transfer the contents of your pot into the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.
Step 5: Mix it Up
Once your chili is done cooking, give it a good mix and taste it to check seasoning. Add some extra salt and pepper if needed.
Step 6: Serving
Serve hot with some chopped green onion, cubed avocado, salsa, cheese, and/or sour cream on top of each bowl. Optional – serve with cornbread or rice for a complete meal.
Enjoy your hearty bowl of vegetarian chili that’s perfect for any weeknight dinner!
Substitutions and Variations
It’s always important to have a few substitutions and variations up your sleeve when it comes to cooking vegetarian or vegan chili. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
– Swap out the sweet potato for butternut squash, which gives a similar texture and flavor.
– Use kidney beans instead of black beans or pinto beans for a different twist on the classic recipe.
– Try adding a can of chili beans or chili con carne for a bit of heat and extra protein.
– For a more plant-based version, add lentils instead of beans – this gives a great texture and adds an earthy flavor.
– Make it gluten-free by using quinoa instead of pasta or rice.
If you’re feeling creative, try playing around with the spices too. Add some extra cayenne pepper or smoked paprika for a smoky kick. Or, try out different varieties of chili powder – some are hotter than others!
For toppings, go beyond the usual sour cream and cheese combo. Sliced avocado or guacamole is always a winner, as are sliced green onions. Another fun idea is to serve with salsa on top rather than stirred into the chili itself.
Remember, the joy of cooking is all about experimentation and exploration. If you find some great substitutions or variations that work well for you, let us know in the comments!
Serving and Pairing
Once your vegetarian vegan chili is ready, it’s time to serve and enjoy it! This dish is so versatile that you can serve it in a variety of ways. You can ladle it into bowls and garnish with chopped green onions, fresh cilantro, or a dollop of vegan sour cream. A sprinkle of shredded vegan cheese on top would also be a great option.
If you’re looking for something heartier or more filling, you could serve this chili over rice or quinoa. The grains will absorb some of the flavors from the chili, resulting in a deliciously satisfying meal. You could also try topping your chili with sliced avocado for a creamy and nutritious addition.
Another fantastic way to enjoy this dish is by serving it alongside some tortilla chips. The crispy texture and salty taste of the chips pair perfectly with the slightly spicy flavor of the chili. If you have salsa on hand, add a spoonful to your bowl or use it for dipping your chips.
If you’re serving this dish at a party or gathering, try setting up a chili bar with various toppings and mix-ins for guests to customize their bowls. Sliced jalapeño peppers, diced red onions, and fresh lime wedges are great options for those who like their food spicy.
As for pairing options, this vegetarian vegan chili goes well with a variety of drinks. A light beer or cider would make for a refreshing contrast to the spicy flavors of the chili. If you prefer something non-alcoholic, go for some freshly squeezed orange juice or lemonade.
No matter how you choose to serve this delicious vegetarian vegan chili, make sure to savor every last bite!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Friends often ask me whether it is possible to make the vegetarian vegan chili recipe ahead of time, and whether leftovers can be stored or reheated. The answer to both questions is a resounding “Yes!”
Not only is this recipe incredibly easy to make, but it is also perfect for meal prep. You can make a big batch over the weekend and store portions in the fridge or freezer for later use. All you need to do is reheat the chili in the microwave or on the stovetop. If you find that your chili has thickened up after being chilled, simply stir in some water until it reaches your desired consistency.
If you do choose to store leftovers, I recommend using an airtight container to maintain freshness. This will help keep the chili delicious for days! I typically store my chili in small containers and freeze them for later use.
One pro tip that I always emphasize is to label your containers with the date so you know when they were prepared. Trust me, this will save you from any confusion down the line.
When it comes time to reheat your chili, there are two primary methods: stovetop or microwave. On the stovetop, heat your leftover chili over medium heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. If you are using a microwave, put your portion in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 2-3 minutes (or until hot).
And finally, if you want to freshen up your leftover chili before reheating, feel free to add some minced green onion or a dollop of sour cream on top. These toppings offer extra flavor and freshness that will bring your vegetarian vegan chili back to life!
Tips for Perfect Results
As someone who has made this vegetarian vegan chili recipe countless times, I’d love to share my top tips with you to help you achieve perfect results every time.
Firstly, don’t be afraid to experiment with spices. This recipe calls for a variety of spices including cayenne pepper, chili powder, and paprika, but feel free to adjust the quantities to suit your taste buds. If you prefer a milder chili, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper or omit it altogether. On the other hand, if you love a bit of heat, add some extra chili powder or even some diced jalapenos.
Secondly, when cooking this chili in an Instant Pot or slow cooker, I recommend sautéing the onions and garlic before adding them in. This only takes a few extra minutes but helps to enhance their flavor and gives the chili a richer taste overall.
Another helpful tip is to use a good quality salsa. While you can certainly make your own salsa from scratch (which I highly recommend if you have the time!), using a store-bought salsa can be just as delicious. Look for one that is low in salt and contains simple, wholesome ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
If you’re adding quinoa or sweet potato to your chili (both great options!), make sure to dice them into small pieces so that they cook evenly with the rest of the ingredients. It’s also important not to overcook them since they can easily turn mushy and affect the texture of the final dish.
Lastly, don’t forget to garnish your chili with some fresh toppings like avocado slices, chopped green onions or a dollop of sour cream (if not vegan). These not only add color and texture but also complement the flavors in the chili perfectly.
By following these simple tips, I have no doubt that your vegetarian vegan chili will turn out beautifully every time – enjoy!
So, there you have it – my recipe for Vegetarian Vegan Chili that’s perfect for a quick and easy meal. Not only is it incredibly tasty, but it’s also low-salt and packed with healthy ingredients that will make your body and your taste buds happy.
If you’re looking for a meatless meal or trying to incorporate more plant-based dishes into your diet, then this vegetarian chili recipe is the perfect addition to your recipe collection. And whether you choose to make it in an Instant Pot or Crockpot, you’ll find that it’s an easy way to enjoy all the flavors of classic chili without the meat.
So next time you’re craving something hearty and comforting, why not give this vegan chili a try? And with all the variations and substitutions I’ve suggested, you can customize it to your liking and dietary preferences.
Trust me, once you try this delicious Vegetarian Vegan Chili recipe, you won’t be able to go back to any other traditional meat-based chili dish.
Vegetarian Vegan Chili, Low-Salt, Instant Pot or Crockpot Recipe
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can pinquito beans, rinsed and drained (sub a different bean if you like!)
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (sub a different bean if you like!)
- 16 ounces salsa (I uses Jack's Cantina from Costco, use your favorite)
- 1 (12 ounce) package frozen corn
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 (8 ounce) package sliced mushrooms, rinsed and diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup green onion (and or or chives, optional garnish)
- 1/2 cheese, shredded (Mexican blend or your favorite cheese topping, optional garnish)
- 1/2 cup sour cream (optional mixin or garnish)
- 1 avocado, diced (optional garnish)
- 1/4 cup salsa (optional garnish)
- Place all ingredients in Instant Pot. Put on Manual, high pressure for 25 minutes. Use natural release. Or cook in crockpot on low for 6 hours.
- Garnish with optional items. I personally use green onions, chives, and a little more salsa.