Best Vegetarian Chili Recipe - Gluten Free

Why do I call this the best vegetarian chili recipe? Simple answer: When I make it for my non-vegetarian friends, they are amazed that it's meatless. Try it out....

yummy vegetarian chili bowl

This recipe yields 8 generous servings. Preparation time is about 20 minutes but note there are some ingredients that may require prior preparation eg the beans and the veggie broth. But that's only because I like to use my own homemade cooked beans for the most part. Store bought ingredients work just fine if you're time-crunched.

A quick tip about vegetarian chili, the spices are really key because you don't have the benefit of meat flavor.


For the best vegetarian chili recipe you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 chopped cloves garlic
  • 1 large red onion -- chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, 1 large yellow or green pepper -- roughly chopped
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 3 cups frozen or fresh corn
  • 2 (8 oz) packs of gluten free organic tempeh -- diced into half-inch cubes
  • 1 large egggplant, diced into about 1 inch cubes
  • A 28 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes -- chopped or diced
  • 3 medium size fresh tomatoes -- chopped or diced
  • 4 cups mixed: dark red kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans --boiled --or you can use canned ones, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen sweet corn
  • 4 cups-or more as needed- home made veggie broth; otherwise use store-bought vegetable broth, works just fine
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder - or more depending on the spicyness of your chilli powder, add more if you prefer super spicy.
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp salt (optional)
  • Fresh ground black pepper - about 1 tsp
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • Optional- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

Cooking time: 1.5 to 2.5 hours

Another quick tip: if you're trying out a recipe for your first time, it pays to prepare all the ingredients first before you start cooking.

[Learn how to make Indian vegetarian curry recipe]

Note: if you're going on the fly here and you don't have all the spices recommended, feel free to substitute.

For example, when I don't have bay leaves, I use dill weed instead. Or use zucchini instead of eggplant. I love to experiment as long as I stick to the basic ingredients.


1. In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent (about 3 minutes).

2. Add spices - chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper.

3. Stir for about 30 seconds, reduce heat to medium.

4. Add canned and fresh tomatoes, stirring and cook for about 2 minutes.

5. Add the carrots, stir and continue to cook continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.

*All this is to make sure the ingredients don't stick to the pot but also brings out the flavor in the spices*

6. the chopped peppers, corn, diced eggplant as well as the beans.

7. Then add the rest of the herbs and spices ie oregano, bay leaves and rosemary.

8. Add vegetable broth until liquid slightly covers all ingredients in the pot.

9. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

10. When the mixture starts boiling, mix well using a wooden spoon, taking care to scoop carefully from the sides of the pot, inwards and upwards, to avoid mashing the ingredients.

11. Let it boil again, then cover pot and reduce heat to the lowest heat setting.

12. Simmer for up to 2.5 hours, but not less than 90 minutes, stirring occasionally with care.

When it's done

  • Remove from heat, stir, and adjust seasonings to taste if need be.
  • Serve with shredded vegetarian cheddar cheese, chopped avocado and fresh lime juice.
  • Or serve with gluten free bread rolls. Yum!

If you try this recipe, I'd love for you to come back and share here and let me know if you think it really is the best vegetarian chili recipe ;)

Tip: This vegetarian chili tends to taste a lot better after the first day.

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