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Mami’s Go-To Vegetarian Chili

This is my go-to easy vegetarian chili that my kids love to eat. It has a smoky, complex flavor from basic pantry items, vegetables and spices. I love having leftovers because I think chili is even better the second day!
Course Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Dairy-free, game-day, gluten-free, healthy, kid-friendly, one-pot-meal, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 1 ½ tsp salt, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 (28 ounce can) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (15 ounces each) cans pink beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste + ½ cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • Garnishes: chopped scallions, tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese.


  • In medium pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the diced onion, pepper, carrot, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Stir to combine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. Cook and stir constantly until the spices coat the veggies and become fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, drained beans, tomato paste, water and bay leaf. Stir to combine and let the mixture come to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally while the chili simmers, about 30 minutes. Add 1 tsp of salt, stir and taste. Add additional seasonings as needed.
  • Remove the chili from the heat and discard the bay leaf.
  • Add the lime juice and garnish with your choice of toppings.
  • Serve with tortilla chips.