Smoky Vegetarian Chili & Fire Roasted Tomatoes
A quick easy weeknight meal. Smoky vegetarian chili with fire-roasted tomatoes has a surprise ingredient that puts this meatless chili recipe over the top!
In some worlds (like mine), it isn’t winter if there hasn’t been a potful (or 10) of rich, comforting chili. Some of my favorites are warming Buffalo Chicken Chili, zesty Creamy Taco Chili, and deliciously surprising Hearty Pumpkin Chili. That reminds me, you’ve just got to try my exciting new Lasagna Soup, easily adapted to a vegetarian recipe!
Be sure to sign up for my email… to get new recipes and ideas in your inbox!
Why Smoky Vegetarian Chili Works
This veggie chili recipe is just what the cool weather orders when you follow a plant-based diet or want to have a full-flavored wholesome meatless meal once in a while!
- Made In A Jiffy – meatless chili is a quick and easy meal to assemble on a weeknight!
- Make It Ahead – the best veggie chili recipes always taste wonderful the second (and third) time around!
- Made To Order – Add extra beans, veggies, or spices to your tastes!
Smoky Veggie Chili Ingredients
A hearty vegetarian chili recipe with the smoky flavors of ripe fire-roasted tomatoes accentuated by the rich, earthy tones of dark cocoa powder. (Surprise!)
- Olive Oil – fruity, nutty olive oil enhances sauteed veggies without overwhelming the flavors.
- Green Bell Pepper & Onion – chopped. They work well together to form the aromatic base and balance the green pepper bite with the sweetness of the onions.
- Garbanzo Beans – rinsed and drained
- Great Northern Beans – rinsed and drained
- Chili Powder – a varied combination of dried peppers, cumin, oregano, and paprika that make chili, chili! or you can make homemade chili seasoning.
- Tomato Sauce – sun-ripened tomatoes picked at their peak and cooked down into a rich, savory-sweet sauce.
- Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes -undrained. Flame charred before canning caramelizes natural sugars, lending a slightly smoky taste and texture to vegetarian chili.
- Packed Brown Sugar – offsets acidity and levels up the smoky flavor with toffee notes.
- Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – is the secret ingredient; it adds an earthy richness and holds up the smoky notes in this veggie chili recipe.
- Optional Toppings – sour cream and fresh parsley
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here.
How To Make Meatless Chili With Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
Smoky vegetarian chili is all about flavor. The ingredients in this chili recipe do all the work for you! All you need is your prep implements, a can opener, and a dutch oven or large saucepan.
(full printable recipe at the end of this post)
Step 1: Saute chopped pepper and onion until the peppers are the onion is translucent.
Step 2: Add the beans and chili powder, and continue to cook, for another 2 minutes.
Step 3: Stir in everything else and bring to a boil; immediately reduce heat to a covered simmer for about a half hour.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream, fresh parsley, and a dash of chili powder on top, if desired.
Vegetarian Chili Recipe Notes/Tips
- If the “smoky” in smoky veggie chili lights your fire, you can increase this flavor by using smoked paprika, mesquite bbq sauce, or liquid smoke flavoring.
- Shredded carrots add nutrients, structure, and texture to vegetarian chili and cook down to add a sweet undertone.
- To push forward the smoky undertones that the dark cocoa powder adds to a chili recipe, throw in ½ cup of strong brewed coffee or expresso.
- You can smush up the fire-roasted tomatoes with a food processor or blender if you don’t care for pieces of tomatoes in vegetarian chili.
Smoky Vegetarian Chili Keeps, Reheats, & Eats Great!
Leftovers: Use an airtight lidded, glass storage container to keep smoky veggie chili in the refrigerator for up to a week. (Keeps the acid from the tomatoes from etching and staining plastic) Not to worry, it won’t last that long or batch some out to freeze.
Let meatless chili cool completely, and pour into a freezer bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheat: The optimum way to thaw smoky veggie chili is to let it sit in the fridge for a day or overnight. Heat thawed veggie chili on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a little vegetable broth, V8 juice (or water) to thin it to desired consistency because chili thickens as it sits.
Serving Ideas for Smoky Veggie Chili With Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Set up a veggie chili condiment bar. Hot sauce, shredded cheese, diced onion, jalapeno wheels, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, or any of your favorite toppings.
Vegetarian chili pie is a classic! Layer the bottom of a bowl with Fritos or your favorite tortilla chips, add veggie chili, and top with grated sharp cheddar, sour cream, and green onion. OMGoodness!
Smoky Vegetarian Chili FAQs
Add chili powder and garlic powder when the sauteed onion and green peppers are on the verge of being ready. Stir for one minute until the spices become fragrant, then add the tomatoes and sauce. Blooming the seasoning intensifies the chili taste and increases the depth of flavors.
Start with ½ tsp of liquid smoke in chili recipes if you aren’t used to it; stir well and keep adding in 1/2 tsp increments until you hit the sweet spot. Liquid smoke is highly concentrated and creates a wonderful earthy, smoky depth in a variety of dishes.
Absolutely! The full flavor of chili marries and matures in 24 hours, so making vegetarian chili a day or two ahead of time will develop all the nuanced layers.
Variations For Vegetarian Chili With Roasted Tomatoes
- If you prefer, this veggie chili recipe would, of course, be just as delicious with meat. Add one pound of cooked ground beef, turkey, or leftover rotisserie chicken.
- Swap out chickpeas (garbanzo beans) for seasoned black beans or kidney beans. You can switch cannellini beans or any white bean for great northern beans.
- Red or yellow bell peppers can be used in this chili recipe instead of green peppers. Or, try blistering your own Anaheim chilis for additional roasted, smoky flavor.
Like This Recipe? Pin It!
A quick easy weeknight meal. Smoky vegetarian chili is a bowlful of healthy with sweet and subtly smoky fire-roasted tomatoes. A surprise ingredient puts this veggie chili recipe over the top!
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ¾ cup chopped green bell pepper (1 medium pepper)
- ½ cup chopped onion (1 medium onion)
- 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 15 ounce can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 14 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- Optional toppings: sour cream and fresh parsley
- In a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chopped pepper and onion stir to combine and cook until tender (about 5-6 minutes) stirring occasionally until tender and the onion is translucent.
- Add the beans and chili powder and continue to cook, stirring for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring just to boiling and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, for 25 minutes.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream, fresh parsley, and a dash of chili powder on top, if desired.
If you prefer, this chili would of course be just as delicious with meat. Add one pound of cooked ground beef, turkey or leftover rotisserie chicken.
Swap out chickpeas (garbanzo beans) for seasoned black beans or kidney beans. The great Northern beans for cannellini beans.
This chili will keep well in the refrigerator for about a week.
To Freeze: let the chili cool completely, and pour it into a freezer bag or air-tight container for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge for a day or two and heat it up on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a little vegetable broth, V8 juice (or water) to thin it to desired consistency as the chili thickens as it sits.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 393Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1040mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 20gSugar: 16gProtein: 20g
Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used and are just estimates. We encourage, especially if these numbers are important to you, to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.
Tidymom is a participant in the amazon services llc associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Please respect my work, recipes and photographs. If you do use a recipe in your own writing, please give proper credit and link back to the original post.