Loaded with kid-friendly vegetables including sweet potato and corn, as well as plant-based protein from beans, this Vegetarian Bean Chili Recipe makes enough for two dinners—so you can stash one in the freezer for a future meal that’s all ready to go!
Easy Vegetarian Bean Chili
I love that this chili recipe is packed full of beans and veggies, making it a great source of Vitamin C and A, as well as vegetarian protein and fiber. The pieces of the veggies are big enough to be finger food if your toddler prefers their hands over a spoon. And the sweet potato lends a pleasant sweetness that pairs well with the mild Mexican flavors.
I love to make a big batch of this chili to serve for dinner and to have stashed in the freezer for a future easy meal. This bean soup comes together really easily on the stovetop or in the slow cooker and it’s easy to adjust it for your kids.
Ingredients in Vegetarian Chili
To make this recipe you’ll need:
- Vegetables—I like to use onion, sweet potato, carrots, bell peppers
- Spices including cumin and chili powder
- Crushed tomatoes
- Lime juice
TIP: You can adjust the vegetables according to what their kids like most, leaving out the onions or peppers if needed and using more of other vegetables. And using precut butternut squash and shredded carrots can eliminate any chopping!
Can I make this with all black beans for Black Bean Chili?
Of course! That would be a delicious way to make this recipe. You can use one type of beans in this vegetarian chili recipe or a mixture, depending on what you and your family prefers or what you have on hand. We tend to like pinto, kidney, and black beans best, but see what you like. If you use canned beans, rinse them in a colander first to remove the sometimes murky liquid and excess salt.
How to Make this Vegetarian Bean Chili Recipe Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at the process involved in making this chili. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full information.
- Add oil to a large pot and stir in the diced vegetables. Cook until they are just starting to soften.
- Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, beans, salt, and cumin. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce and cook until the veggies are soft.
- Add the lime juice and corn and serve with desired toppings.
TIP: You can season and salt to taste to adjust for your family’s preferences.
Slow Cooker Bean Chili
You can cook this in the slow cooker by simply skipping the sauteing step and cooking everything (except the lime juice and corn) on low for 7-8 hours. It will be a little less thick since none of the liquid will evaporate, so you can add an extra can of beans if you like.
What goes well with this chili?
We like to have our chili topped with shredded cheese or sour cream, or diced avocado. A side of plantain chips is never a bad idea either! I’ve also been known to serve leftovers of this chili over brown rice as a slight variation on the original.
Freezer-Friendly Vegetarian Bean Chili
This recipe freezes really well. Just let half of it cool and store it in a freezer-safe airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. I like to let it thaw overnight in the fridge, them warm on the stove with additional stock or liquid as needed. You can of course warm individual bowls in the microwave too.
Tips for Serving Chili to Toddlers
If your kids don’t love soup, here are some ideas for serving it to them.
- You can drain off most of the liquid and serve it over rice or pasta or alongside some cheese.
- Spoon out some beans and serve them alongside some toppings.
- Serve a very small portion.
- Puree the chili and serve as a pasta sauce with chili toppings.
- Puree the chili and serve with crackers to dip.
Tips for Making the Best Vegetarian Bean Chili
- Cut the veggies roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
- Use some sweet potato or butternut squash to add some natural sweetness.
- Omit the onions and garlic if they are no-gos with your kids.
- Serve with toppings that your kids like to round out the meal.
- If you want to make the adult portions spicy, add cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce to your bowl.
- Use precut butternut squash and shredded carrots, and a teaspoon of garlic powder to eliminate all chopping.
I’d love to hear what your family thinks of this recipe if you try it, so please comment below to share feedback!Print
When serving this to a little one, I like to drain off much of the broth. This makes it a little easier (and less messy) for them to eat. If your family likes spice, add in a dash or two of cayenne pepper.
- 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil (like coconut or canola)
- 6 cups diced vegetables including sweet potato, onion, sweet bell pepper, celery, and carrot. (You can use as much or as little of each as you like, though do include the sweet potato since the flavor is so nice in the mix!)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
- 3 14.5 ounce cans beans such as black, pinto, or kidney, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 1 16-ounce bag frozen corn
- 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until they are just starting to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, beans, salt, cumin, and corn. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely cooked through.
- Stir in the lime juice. Serve warm topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, and/or avocado.
To store: Let cool completely and store in the fridge in air tight containers for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
To make this in the Slow Cooker: Skip Step 1 and add all ingredients to the slow cooker except the corn and lime juice. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours. Stir in the corn and lime juice. This will have more liquid (since none will evaporate during cooking) so you may want to add an extra can of beans.
Cut the veggies roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
Use some sweet potato or butternut squash to add some natural sweetness.
Omit the onions and garlic if they are no-gos with your kids.
Serve with toppings that your kids like to round out the meal.
If you want to make the adult portions spicy, add cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce to your bowl.
Use precut butternut squash and shredded carrots, and a teaspoon of garlic powder instead of fresh to eliminate all chopping.