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Chunky chili with cilantro, sour cream, and cheddar cheese in a rustic bowl.

Vegetarian Chili

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 5-6 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Vegetarian Chili that’s “meaty” and satisfying – without the meat! A hearty mixture of walnuts, mushrooms, and carrots as your base, with big flavors of onion, garlic, green chiles and spices. SO GOOD.



The “Meat:”

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, washed, stems removed
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into chunks

The Chili:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 6-ounce can diced green chiles (or fresh minced jalapeños)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 23 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 12 teaspoons salt (more or less to taste)
  • 2 14-ounce cans diced or crushed tomatoes (with juices)
  • 1 14-ounce can beans of choice (optional, see notes)
  • 1 cup water


  1. Make the “meat” – pulse all ingredients in a food processor until broken down into a chunky paste-like texture. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until very soft.
  3. Add green chiles, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and soy sauce. HELLO FLAVOR.
  4. Add your “meat” to the pan – once it mixes in and starts cooking, it should start to resemble chili meat. Let the “meat” cook for 10 minutes or so to soften the vegetables. Season with salt.
  5. Add tomatoes, beans if you want, and water to get the consistency right. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes to soften the vegetables, thicken it up, and let the flavors come together.
  6. Serve with your favorite chili toppings, and there it is! VEGETARIAN CHILI! You did it.



Beans: A lot of vegetarian chili recipes are based around beans, and I wanted this recipe to be bean-optional for people who don’t like or can’t have beans. So if you want to skip the beans altogether, no problem! That being said, I like black beans in this vegetarian chili, but kidney beans, white beans, or pinto beans would all be great.

Toppings: For vegetarian chili – sour cream and cheddar or queso fresco. For vegan chili – cilantro, avocado, pickled onion or jalapeno, radishes, tortilla chips.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegetarian chili, vegan chili, chili recipe, healthy chili, vegetarian comfort food