Want an easy vegetarian chili to warm up on a cold winters night? Look no farther than your kitchen for all the ingredients you’ll need for this 15 minute chili.
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Do you ever get home from a long day at work and just want the easiest, most delicious, and comforting dinner… but don’t know what to make or what to grab? Skip the restaurant or soup station at your fave grocery store and make your very own easy vegetarian chili. It’s made with a few pantry staples, and made even better with the most delicious semi-homemade cornbread to go on the side.
how this easy vegetarian chili fits into my lifestyle
When I worked in an office, I didn’t spend much time planning out my meals or dreaming of what I’ll be eating for dinner while at work. It usually happened beforehand when I was on top of things, or it happened while I was standing in front of the fridge, starving, and tired. I was scrounging for something for dinner. At that moment, the only thing to get me to make something delicious was seeing leftovers staring right at me or having a stroke of inspiration staring into my fridge. That didn’t happen often, so I usually resorted to scrambled eggs, cereal, or a PB & J for lack of a better idea. That can happen night after night.
Instead of that sad, boring dinner, I realized that a well stocked pantry/freezer were tools in my arsenal to keep me eating deliciously, and allow me to cook at home. aka not have to leave the house for delicious restaurant food or a quick grocery run. This 15 minute easy vegetarian chili recipe is the perfect pantry meal. It’s bursting with flavor, almost completely made with ingredients I usually have on hand, and is ready to eat in just 15 minutes.
How it’ll make your life easier
You won’t have to waste much time deliberating whether or not to grab take out after a long day at work. This chili is easy, quick, and super tasty! Plus, with a box of cornbread mix, you’ve got the most delicious bread to dip right in this vegetarian chili.
Quick Notes on This Recipe
So what foods do I keep in my pantry?
I’ve found that keeping dry foods, canned, foods and frozen foods on hand make for easy throw-together dinners that actually taste good. With a well stocked kitchen, you don’t necessarily have to plan ahead of time to eat something delicious.
Here are a couple of my fave pantry staples:
- canned or dry beans
- frozen vegetables
- frozen fish & shellfish (like shrimp! it cooks up so quickly)
- canned tomatoes (the options are endless with these guys)
- shredded cheese (I often shred a block of cheese, and freeze it for a quick melty addition to bean chili or a grilled cheese)
- staple spices (cumin, Italian seasoning, ginger powder, garlic salt, rosemary, etc)
- onions & garlic (I buy a glass jar of minced garlic to easily add it to any recipe)
Download my full pantry essentials list-
What beans are best?
I use kidney beans in this recipe, but honestly because that’s what I had in my pantry. If you’ve got black beans, navy beans, white beans, use whatever beans you have on hand!
What if I don’t have the veggies you call for?
the musts in this recipe are the the diced tomatoes & onions. I always have both on hand, but in a pinch you can sub a can of diced tomatoes for fresh tomatoes OR use chicken stock instead. The tomato brings a nice sweetness & slight acid to the chili, but the point of this recipe is to use what you’ve got on hand.
I’ve had extra onion & green bell pepper that I’ve diced & frozen, this is a great way to reduce food waste in the moment & make for a really quick soup, almost any recipe base. Have different vegetables on hand? You really can use any vegetables. Potatoes, unless they’re already cooked, may not be the best because they do take some time to cook, but if you’ve got frozen or fresh corn, peas, edamame, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, whatever, it’d be delish in this chili. Would it make sense in a traditional chili recipe? Maybe not, does that matter so much? No unless that grosses you out.
How do I make cornbread to go with this easy vegetarian chili?
I made Kodiak Cake’s cornbread recipe with canned green chilis & cheddar cheese. I don’t work with Kodiak Cakes, but it’s a brand I purchase myself and LOVE. Their cornbread mix is just as good as their pancake mixes are, and when you follow their directions to add green chilis and cheddar cheese, you will not be disappointed. I still dream about this cornbread. Any cornbread will do, but this is so delicious & easy. It does take about 30 minutes to bake, but makes for delicious leftovers.
easy ways to repurpose this recipe
Leftover chili is one of the best things. You give all the flavors time to meld, time to deepen and time to get more delicious. I recommend eating this as a chili, but if you’re tired of that already, drain the broth part and add to a burrito or make an easy taco salad out of the beans/veggies.
15 Minute Easy Vegetarian Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 can kidney beans (~15 oz)
- 1 tablespoon green chiles
- 1 can diced tomatoes, with liquids (~15 oz)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 whole green bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- sharp cheddar cheese (optional) shredded
- Heat large saucepan over medium/high heat. Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes. While onion and garlic are cooking, dice green bell pepper.
- Add beans, chiles, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bell pepper, and spices to onion mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Serve and top with cheddar cheese and cornbread muffins (recipe in notes)
Let’s get chatty:
• What are your favorite pantry meals?
• What would you add to this easy vegetarian chili?