Quick vegetarian chili

A hearty and delicious meal!

We are still locked in what seems like an endless winter, so I’m continuing to search for new, hearty meals to keep us fuelled to withstand the cold. Chili is a favourite but I find it a little heavy sometimes, even when made with ground chicken instead of beef. This meatless version is super quick to make and doesn’t skimp on taste. In fact, many of my taste testers didn’t even seem to notice the absence of meat!  I like to make it ahead of time and let the flavours blend for a day or two in the fridge before serving; it freezes beautifully as well. Like all chili recipes, it’s delicious with crusty bread, cornmeal muffins (this is my favourite recipe) or just good ol’ tortilla chips.


  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) frozen corn niblets
  • 1 28-ounce (840 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 15-ounce (475 mL) can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 8-ounce (240 mL) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) chipotle chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • grated cheddar, sour cream, tortilla chips (for garnish)


  • Heat oil over medium heat in a very large saucepan or small stock pot.
  • Add onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, carrot, zucchini and corn. Sauté, stirring often, until just beginning to soften (3 – 5 minutes).
  • While vegetables are cooking, drain the canned kidney beans and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pour into a broad, shallow dish and mash lightly with a potato masher. This not only gives the chili a smoother consistency; it’s also a great way to ‘hide’ the beans from picky eaters!
  • Once the vegetables have softened, add diced tomatoes, mashed kidney beans, tomato sauce, water and seasonings to the pot.
  • Bring to boil then reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Cover the pot and let the chili simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings to suit your preferences.
  • Garnish each serving with grated cheese and/or sour cream; serve with tortilla chips.

Serves 4 – 6.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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