Looking for a healthy AND comforting dish perfect for the cool weather months?! This Crockpot Vegetarian Chili recipe is super easy and great for even the pickiest of eaters. A great combo of beans, veggies and lentils come together for a great tasting chili, I promise you won’t miss the meat!
Honestly, I think chili is my all time favorite cool weather comfort food. I make several different versions of chili (because I am obsessed, let’s be real) and this Crockpot Vegetarian Chili is my personal favorite. This veggie chili recipe is packed with fresh vegetables, beans, lentils and of course an array of spices to yield a sort of smokey with a hint of spice flavor. This chili is perfect to just set-it-and-forget-it in the morning and come home to a delicious smelling house and dinner ready to go. Although, if slow cookers aren’t your jam, I have included stove top and Instant Pot directions for this healthy chili as well! Guys, I promise this chili is packed with flavor, is super hearty and does not taste like you are eating a bowl of rabbit food. I hope you are your family love this yummy vegetarian chili recipe!
What is Needed to Make Crockpot Vegetarian Chili
The kitchen tools you will need for this crockpot vegetarian chili recipe are:
- A Crockpot– For this vegetarian chili recipe I LOVE using my slow cooker. If you do not have a crockpot that is fine, you can make this healthy chili on the stove-top or in an Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker. All options yield super tasty chili, pinky promise!
- An Immersion Blender or Stand Mixer- To get this recipe to be more chili like and not turn into soup, you will need to blend part of the finish chili up. I like to use my immersion blender, so I can keep all the chili in the slow cooker. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer and scoop some on the chili in then transfer it back into the crockpot.
- A Can Opener
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
The ingredients you will need for this slow cooker vegetarian chili are:
- Canned Beans- I used a combination pinto, kidney and black beans for my slow cooker veggie chili. You can use this combo or use any beans you wish. Also, you can use dried beans just make sure to soak and prepare them before you add them to the crockpot.
- Lentils- I used red lentils, you can use brown or green if you prefer.
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes- I used fire roasted in my chili and think the spice adds a great flavor to this vegetarian chili. If you are not a spice fan then plain ole’ crushed tomatoes will work as well.
- Tomato Sauce
- Fresh Veggies- I love the combination of carrots, mushrooms, an onion and red pepper I used for this crockpot chili. I list some additional veggie options below if any of those just aren’t your thing.
- Spices- I know, I know there are a lot of spices for this vegetarian chili recipe. But I really think they are all necessary to make this veggie chili super bomb.
- Vegetable Broth- Instead of vegetable broth you could use water instead.
- Optional Toppers- Check out all the awesome topper suggestions below!
How to Make Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
I adore making this veggie chili in my crockpot. It is so easy to just set it and forget it and this cooking method requires the least amount of steps. Of course if you do not have a slow cooker, or you are short on time I have included stove top and Instant Pot cooking instructions as well. The crockpot option is also great for tailgates, parties or potlucks! All methods will yield tasty vegetarian chili, and it really if just what you have access to and your personal preferences.
- Roughly chop fresh vegetables (I suggest using carrots, mushrooms, onion and a red bell pepper) and measure out all of your ingredients.
- Add everything to the slow cooker, cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
- Once your chili is finished cooking, use either an immersion blender, or stand mixer to blend the chili. This step is very important and helps this veggie chili get that classic chili texture without the meat. If you skip this step the chili will be more like soup. If using a stand mixer remove 1-2 cups of chili (be sure to get some liquid) and pulse until only small chunks remain. Add this back into the crockpot and stir to combine. If using an immersion blender, just stick in on in the crockpot and pulse/stir until your vegetarian chili is slightly blended and thickened to your liking.
- Serve warm with suggested toppers, or store leftovers in fridge.
Stove Top Vegetarian Chili Instructions
- Chop fresh vegetable and measure out all of your ingredients.
- Add carrots, red pepper, mushrooms, and onion to a large pot and saute with a little oil until veggies are soft, about 4 minutes.
- Add fresh garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Place remaining ingredients to the large pot, stir and bring chili to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat, cover and let simmer for at least 30 minutes (longer will develop a deeper flavor) or until lentils are done cooking.
- Once your chili is finished cooking, use either an immersion blender, or stand mixer to blend the chili. If using a stand mixer remove 1-2 cups of chili (be sure to get some liquid) and pulse until only small chunks remain. Add this back into the large pot and stir to combine. If using an immersion blender, just stick the blender in the pot and pulse/stir until your vegetarian chili is slightly blended and thickened to your liking.
- Serve warm with toppers of choice or store leftovers in the fridge.
Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili Instructions
- Chop vegetables and measure all ingredients.
- Add carrots, red pepper, mushrooms, and onion to a large Instant Pot and turn on SAUTE. With a little oil cook fresh vegetables until soft, about 4 minutes.
- Add fresh garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Place the remaining ingredients EXCEPT THE BEANS into the Instant Pot and stir making sure to get the bottom of the pot.
- Cover and seal the Instant Pot and cook on HIGH/MANUAL for 8 minutes.
- After time has expired immediately release the pressure (quick release) and carefully open the Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot OFF and add in the beans and stir.
- Place lid back on and let stand for 5-10 minutes to thicken.
- Once your chili has sat, use either an immersion blender, or stand mixer to blend the chili. If using a stand mixer remove 1-2 cups of chili (be sure to get some liquid) and pulse until only small chunks remain. Add this back into the Instant Pot and stir to combine. If using an immersion blender, just stick the blender in the Instant Pot and pulse/stir until your vegetarian chili is slightly blended and thickened to your liking.
- Adjust seasonings as desired and serve warm with toppers of choice.
Want a more detailed look at how to make this Crockpot Vegetarian Chili? Be sure to check out the recipe video!
Love Vegetarian Recipes? Try These Next!
Healthy Vegetarian Chili Recipe Ingredient Substitutions
Chili is one of those dishes than everyone has their own personal preferences and someone in the family SWEARS their chili recipe is king (I am that person). Therefore, I have included some more ideas to make this crockpot vegetarian chili recipe your own. Of course, if you want it exactly how I make it for my family then just follow the recipe. But, if you want to become that crazy chili person in your family, here are some great ideas to mix this veggie chili recipe up and put your own spin on it. Please note, that any changes made to the recipe will change the overall flavor. I am not responsible if your chili comes out tasting funky.
So, I pride myself on making vegetarian recipes that even meat eaters can love. This slow cooker chili being one of them. My husband is a carnivore to the core and still loves this chili. But, I understand if you just need to add some meat in. Some great options include chicken breasts, or ground turkey for a lighter option. Alternatively, you could use the more traditional ground beef or pork sausage. If you are going to add meat I like to cook mine in skillet first then add it to the crockpot and cook with the rest of the ingredients. The exception being with chicken breasts, you can add those in raw, then shred them once they are cooked through. Also, you will not need to blend the chili at the end if going the meat route and you can add less veggies.
For this crockpot vegetarian chili I like to use a combination of fresh carrots, mushrooms, onion and red pepper. I think these veggies add great flavor and texture to this chili without being super in your face vegetable flavor. You can of course use this combination or add or subtract what you wish. Some other awesome veggies to incorporate into this chili recipe are corn, sweet potato, zucchini, squash, a different color pepper, jalapeno peppers for some spice or eggplant.
Chili Serving Suggestions
What is chili without some awesome toppers to pair with it?! Here are just a few of my favorite add-ons to pair with this Crockpot Vegetarian Chili. Of course, these are just some suggestions and you can add on whatever you wish! I have included both vegetarian and vegan options so everyone can find something they can enjoy.
Vegan Serving Options
- Tortilla Chips
- Fresh Cilantro
- Sliced Avocado
- Plant Based Cheese
- Oyster Crackers
Vegetarian Serving Options
- Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
- Shredded Cheese (Pepper jack is bomb with this slow cooker chili)
Leftover Chili and Freezer Storage Instructions
Storing this leftover vegetarian chili recipe is a breeze. Simply place leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. To re-warm leftovers chili place in a microwave safe bowl, cover then warm for 2 minutes or until warmed through. This healthy veggie chili is super yummy leftover and works great for meal prep or a leftover night with the family.
Also, this slow cooker chili can be frozen! To freeze cooked vegetarian chili, place in a storage bag, seal it removing the air and let cool completely. Store flat in the freezer for up to 3 months. For good measure I like to double bag my chili. When ready to rewarm the vegetarian chili, you have a few options. You can place the veggie chili back in the crockpot frozen (or thawed) on high until warmed through. Alternatively, you can warm the de-thawed chili in a large pot on the stove or in the microwave.
Alternatively, you can prep the chili and add all the raw ingredients to a large bag and freeze for up to 3 months until ready to cook. De-thaw frozen chili in fridge overnight and follow recipe cooking instructions, or add to the crockpot frozen and add 1-2 hours onto the overall cook time.
Where’s the Beef?! Okay, if you aren’t sold on this Vegetarian Chili Recipe then give this Sweet and Spicy Chili Mac a try instead!
Healthy Vegetarian Chili Recipe
- 1 15.5 Oz Can Pinto Beans Rinsed and Drained
- 1 15.5 Oz Can Black Beans Rinsed and Drained
- 1 15.5 Oz Can Kidney Beans Rinsed and Drained
- 1 Cup Red Lentils
- 1 14.5 Oz Canned Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
- 1/2 Cup Chili Sauce
- 1 8 Oz Can Tomato Sauce
- 1 Tsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 Cups Vegetable Broth Or Water
- 5 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 Large Carrots Chopped
- 1 Large Red Bell Pepper Chopped
- 1 Cup Mushrooms Chopped
- 1 Medium Onion Chopped
- 3 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tsp Cumin
- 1 Tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4-1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
Optional for Serving
- Fresh Cilantro
- Plain Non Fat Greek Yogurt
- Tortilla Chips
- Shredded Cheese
- Chop carrots, mushrooms, red onion, and red pepper into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller. Then measure out the remaining ingredients.
- Add all ingredients into a large crockpot, stir and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.
- Once cooked, use a stand or immersion blender to blend the vegetarian chili. This step is very important and gives this recipe the classic chili texture. If you skip this step the chili will be more like soup. Take 1-2 cups of chili out of the crockpot and add to a stand mixer. Pulse until small chunks remain and add it back to the crockpot and stir. If using an immersion blender just stick it in the crockpot and pulse and stir until you reach your desired chili texture.
- Serve the chili warm with optional toppers and enjoy!
- Leftover Storage: Store leftover chili in a airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat until warm in the microwave or add back into the crockpot on WARM to serve at parties or tailgates.
- Freezer Options: You can prep the veggie chili and add all ingredients into a large bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to eat add frozen to a crockpot and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW 8 hours or until cooked through. Or, de-thaw overnight and follow recipe cooking instructions.
- Ingredient Substitutions: You could of course add meat to this chili or swap out some of the veggies. Some other veggie options include zucchini, squash, sweet potato, eggplant, some jalapeno pepper for some spice or a different color pepper
- Serving Suggestions: Some of my favorite toppers for this vegetarian chili are fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, plain non-fat Greek yogurt, shredded cheese or oyster crackers.
- SEE BLOG POST ABOVE FOR STOVE TOP AND INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS
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