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Contest-Winning Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Contest-Winning Vegetarian Chili Recipe

My husband and I try to have at least one vegetarian meal each week, and this is one of our favorites. The recipe makes a large pot of chili that's chock-full of color and flavor. Once the chopping is done, it's quick to cook. —Marilyn Barilleaux Bothell, Washington
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 40 min. YIELD:16 servings


  • 4 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) Italian stewed tomatoes, cut up
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin


  • 1. In a Dutch oven, saute zucchini, onions and peppers in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute.
  • 2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Yield: 16 servings.
Editor's Note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Nutritional Facts

1 cup: 131 calories, 4g fat (0g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 622mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (0g sugars, 6g fiber), 5g protein Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

Reviews for Contest-Winning Vegetarian Chili

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Reviewed Mar. 31, 2016

"First time I have made a vegetarian chili and it was AMAZING! I loved it and so did my husband and our new vegetarian foreign exchange student. I made a few adjustments. For the tomatoes I used one diced and one crushed since that is what I had and then added 1 1/2 t. Italian seasoning to it to make up the seasoning. I don't like too hot so I skipped the jalapeno pepper. Other than that I follow the recipe as is. It does make a lot of chili but we look forward to eating it!! :)"

Reviewed Feb. 14, 2016

"Really enjoyed this full-flavoured chili! Nice and thick and great with sour cream, cilantro, and cheese on top!"

Reviewed Nov. 5, 2015

"My family and I thought this vegetarian chili was out of this world!!! Plan to make it on a regular basis. I may try a version with more jalapenos down the road."

Reviewed Aug. 11, 2015

"For anyone who thought it looked too tomato-y, I thought so, too. But don't adjust - once you get everything added and the flavors blended, it's good. I did add less chili and in fact, used chipotle because I like their smoked flavor."

Reviewed Jul. 20, 2015

"This was tasty but VERY spicy."

Reviewed May. 15, 2015

"It was ok nice and spicy but way too tomatoes. Not sure how to change that."

Reviewed Apr. 10, 2015

"I love this recipe I make it all the time . I double the Zuchinie . Just before serving I cut up a Avacadoe and add it to my bowl of Chili. It the perfect finishing touch! . Try it you will be hooked :-)"

Reviewed Feb. 18, 2015

"This was just average at best to me. I followed the recipe exactly, only cutting it in half. It tasted blandish and didnt have enough liquid. I ended up adding a cup of water. By then the texture was way off and even more bland. I really had to doctor this up after that. I have made a lot of vegetarian chilis and was surprised this one just wasnt so flavorful, made as is, as others I have made. I actually like all of the ingredients in it. They just didnt come together so well as a chili."

Reviewed Jan. 23, 2015

"Really good!!! The only mistake I made was not putting in the full jalapeno. My husband is not a spicy-fan so I put in half... definitely should have put in the whole thing! With the chili powder and half the jal, it was spicy but not overwhelming in the slightest. The whole jal would have been fine. :) But other than that, the recipe was so good! Oh, I added a can of chick peas because I love them! :)"

Reviewed Jan. 11, 2015

"This is my first time making a veggie chilli. I took it to school and shared it with my classmates. It was a huge hit. I had no idea it would have turned out so well, but the chilli was simply amazing. I tweeked it just a smidge but wow phenomenal !!!!"

Reviewed Jan. 8, 2015

"Everyone in the family loved this. Very hearty dish. I served over brown rice and left out jalapenos b/c my kids don't like spicy. Great recipe."

Reviewed Jan. 5, 2015

"I didn't have any Italian stewed tomatoes, so I substituted it with Italian stewed zucchini and extra tomato sauce (I was bummed that I didn't have any regular tomatoes, either. :(...)

To add a little more kick, I added about 1/2 teaspoon of paprika. I also doubled the amount of beans and added some chopped mushrooms.
I liked the outcome, even though there were plenty of deviations from the original recipe. I served these with tortilla chips, eh. I'd make it again."

Reviewed Dec. 25, 2014

"Made this for the first time for a Christmas Eve gathering, and it was quite a hit. Very tasty -- and (the main thing!) easy to make. You can make it ahead of time and reheat -- the flavors blend and intensify, so be careful if you're including jalapenos (I left them out and it was still plenty spicy). I only needed five servings, but knew they would be rather large servings. I cut the recipe in half, and that worked very nicely. If you leave out the jalapenos as I did, the chili is still very spicy, but not HOT. I put Tabasco on the serving table in case anyone wanted to hot it up. Definitely something I'll make again."

Reviewed Nov. 17, 2014

"Ok this is my first time making vegetarian chili and I could not have been more thrilled with the results! It was hands down the best vegetarian chili I've ever had and I can't believe I made it. My daughter turned vegetarian 6 weeks ago, I was having a football party with family and friends and decided to give it a try. Well everyone LOVED it and my family is a bunch of meat eaters! They couldn't believe how good it was and told me it could win a chili contest for sure! I was really pleased with the flavors and it had a bit of a kick to it because I tweaked it just a bit. Instead of 4 cloves of garlic I think I used ten! (You can never have enough garlic! Keeps my immune system strong in cold weather!) and also I used 1 TBSP of chipotle chili powder and 1 TBSP regular chili powder and used about 1/2 cup cilantro instead if 1/4 cup. I used one big fat jalape?o and again it was deliciously spicy. Too spicy for my youngest daughter but my vegetarian daughter likes spice and loved it with some sour cream blended in to cool it down a bit. If I were making again for my daughters I would turn down the heat but for the football crowd it was a huge hit! No one missed the meat. Also I think this is a great basic recipe for vegetarian chili. I am excited to try it again with different vegetables and seasonings. I am going to try it next with butternut squash or pumpkin. Again this recipe is awesome. I am always on line getting recipes but have never felt compelled to write a review before. That's how much I loved this dish!"

Reviewed Jan. 10, 2014

"I'm taking this to an upcoming Super Bowl Party. Can't wait for everyone to sample it!

Come the first of the year we are all trying to shed those extra pounds from the Holidays and incorporate more vegetables & fiber into our diet. It is so versatile too. You can substitute or add many other types of vegetables to this recipe. I've used red pepper, yellow squash, and different types of beans as well. I know it will be a big hit!"

Reviewed Dec. 6, 2013

"This is hands down the BEST vegetarian chili I have ever tasted! My sister is a vegetarian so I originally got on TOH to look for a recipe one weekend she was coming in town. I saw all the positive reviews so I thought I would give it a try. We absolutely loved it, even my husband (who is a meat lover) asks for this tasty chili! This has now become the family favorite and between my sister, my mom, and myself, we make it all the time!!!!"

Reviewed Oct. 12, 2013

"This is one of my favorite recipes but it takes me a long time to prepare all the fresh vegetables. It makes a very large quantity so the preparation time is well worth it. My daughter is vegetarian so any time she is scheduled to visit us I make it a point to make this recipe so that she has something that is absolutely delicious and nutritious to eat while she is with us and while the rest of us enjoy a meal with meat. I highly recommend this recipe!!! You will not be disappointed."

Reviewed Aug. 9, 2013

"Loved it!"

Reviewed Feb. 16, 2013

"I made this for a group of my husbands buddies and they all loved it. I wouldn't change a thing."

Reviewed Mar. 11, 2012

"I've made this recipe several times and it is delicious! I ususally cut the recipe in half (except the canned items) as there is only my husband and I (usually) eating."

Reviewed Oct. 19, 2011

"I have made this recipe many times and still love it! It is my standby if I am having vegetarians for dinner. I made it again this past weekend and am looking forward to the leftovers again tonight."

Reviewed Aug. 13, 2011

"A very tasty, nutritious recipe!"

Becky Ewing
Reviewed Jul. 22, 2011

"This chili is fantastic! My husband and I both enjoyed it and will be making it again. We are trying to put more vegetables in our diet and this is a great way to do it. I shared some with a friend and she loved it too!"

Reviewed May. 15, 2011

"I love this recipe and will definitely make it again!"

Reviewed Feb. 7, 2011

"I changed it a little by adding some additional spice and more sauce but this was so satisfying and my husband didn't even know it was vegetarian until after he had his third helping and I told him. I highly recommend this dish!"

Reviewed Jan. 12, 2011

"Love it!!!! :)"

Reviewed Jan. 6, 2011

"excellent, add 1 lb of ground venison!!!"

Reviewed Oct. 14, 2010

"Made them tonight for my family, my husband loves it! my kids asked for seconds, will make it again and again!"

Rebekah Doran
Reviewed Oct. 8, 2010

"Mmmm, very good. A great way to use up zucchini. Looking forward to making it again."

Reviewed Jun. 24, 2010

"Very good, everyone loved it."

Reviewed Oct. 25, 2009

"Made this chili for holloween last year and the crowd loved it. They requested it again this year."

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