Vegetarian Skillet Chili Recipe (2024)



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B Mehta

Never add chili powder and sauté, unless you want to burn the chili and have a coughing fit. Instead, add it after the tomatoes soften and just before you add the beans


Instead of using canned beans, which are too mushy for me, I bring a bag of dried beans to a boil and let them go for 5-10 minutes, turn off and let them sit in the water, covered for an hour. I take what I need and bag the rest and freeze. I do this with every type of bean I use regularly so I have beans with a little tooth to them. This could be done on a weekend day so it wouldn't cut in to after work meal cooking time.


Make it 28 oz of tomatoes, 2 tb Chile powder and 1 tb each of oregano and cumin. Intense and delicious.

Steve Ruis

In my veg chili I use grated carrots along with the onions which adds a texture not unlike what you get when you make chili using hamburger.


I like to puree a can of chipotles in adobo, then freeze them in a plastic ice cube tray and transfer them to a container for the freezer. Then I always have about a tablespoon of the stuff whenever I need it. I do the same with a can of tomato paste. Saves so much waste.


Am I missing something? There is no suggested amount for the chili powder or oregano.


WOW. 10/10, blew away my mom's recipe. Does not need the pickled shallots to be great (they weren't my fav anyway). These are the exact ingredients I used in the order I added them to the skillet:1 small sweet yellow onion (sauteed until softened)3 tsp minced garlic (sauteed for 30 secs)1 can of black beans (drained, rinsed)1 can of kidney beans (drained, rinsed)1 can of petite diced tomatoes1 Tbsp chili powder1 tsp oregano1 tsp cumin3 pinches of salt1 pinch of pepper


Personally, I liked this dish. Unfortunately, the co-diner gave it a thumbs down and rummaged through the freezer for something else. Don't know what he finally decided on because I was too annoyed to bother to find out.

I loved the pickled onions - a winner

Barbara LeBlanc

Great chili with following modifications:
One red pepper, one green pepper with onions
add two cloves of minced garlic
3/4 TBS cumin and chili powder
1tsp oregano and basil
2 cans diced tomatoes, one of them fire roasted
juice of 1/4 lime


You know what would be really nice in this? Some pureed chipotles in adobo. I keep a container in the freezer and scoop out a couple of tablespoons to add to chili.


When I read this from you (six months late), Karen, and, like so many others, found it "helpful," I wrote to Melissa Clark. Her reply, which I provide below, was prompt and what you might have imagined if you were desperate or just feeling creative or in a guessing mood:

"The idea is that you add it to taste. start with a teaspoon of chili powder and say, 1/2 teaspoon oregano (or less if you don't love it) and go from there."

Have fun!

Susan Jagendorf

I used one can kidney beans, one can of black beans, 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes, 2 Tbsp chili powder (1 Tbsp Hatch medium and a scant 1 Tbsp smoked ancho powder), 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp ground cumin. I also added 1 chopped red bell pepper and 1 chopped yellow pepper to the onion/garlic mixture. I sautéed the onion, garlic and peppers until soft, then added spices, cooked for a minute or two and then added tomatoes. Simmered for 20 minutes, added beans and simmered for 10 more minutes.


I made this last night and it was wonderfully satisfying. The first time I make a recipe, I always follow the directions explicitly and then modify it when I make it again, if necessary. With this recipe, I don't think I would change a thing. I used Canellini beans and all of the garnishes and it was great. If you're desperate for meat, I think a pound of ground turkey or beef would work and I would brown it along with the onion and adjust the seasonings accordingly.


Perhaps it would be good to remember that taste is a matter of...well, taste. What tastes better to you won't necessarily taste better to someone else. And what's more, what tastes good to an individual is often as much a matter of what they are accustomed to as anything else.


This is a great almost no-recipe recipe. I used a combo of red kidney beans and black beans, a minced chipotle, whole 28ozer of roasted/diced tomatoes, and splash of IPA to add some liquid. The pickled onions were a welcome addition. My toddlers loved it.


I add half a pound of ground beef to this. Also up the chili powder to 2.5T and add 1T cumin and a mince jalapeno. Its a really good ratio of beans/onions/tomatoes, but is very mild as written.

Rio S

Fine pantry meal. Not super flavorful and needs a lot of sour cream and veg to make balanced


Wow. More flavor than I figured there would be. I used 1 can of flavored chili beans and 1 can of navy beans. Added a couple of canned adobo chiles chopped up. Otherwise followed directions as written. Wasn’t a fan of the pickled onions. Avocado is a great garnish. Used a little shredded cheese instead of sour cream but I’ll bet that would be good. Thumbs up.


Made exactly as written, and it was good. To suit my personal taste, I added toward the end of cooking a little tomato paste, a little water, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and because it was too late to add fresh, some jarred roasted red pepper. For my family’s taste this was a perfect set of additions.

Aunt Katie

Fantastic! Followed the recipe (except used white kidney beans instead of red) used it to top angel hair pasta, then had the onion, avocado, sour cream and shredded cheese so each could make it to their own taste.


Family loved this, including our kids, for a quick weeknight meal.


Added a diced sweet potato, can of corn, cup of water, can of chile in adobo, a few bay leaves. Want to add meat substitute in the future.


We cooked a bag of Rancho Gordo domingo rojo beans before making this and added all of the bean broth to the recipe, so it was a little more soupy. It was great! I would chop the pickled onions though next time, as the slides are a little hard to eat with the spoon.


Followed the recipe and found this "chili" to be dry and bland. Would definitely add more tomatoes and spices, and possibly some tomato paste or adobo to give it some depth. Disappointing.


On taste alone, I'd say this is a 4-star recipe, but considering the completely minimal amount of effort required, this is probably worth 5 stars. I made it as described, save for a few spice additions (bay leaves, a bit of cayenne pepper). It also scales up nicely - I used 3 cans of different beans and a 28oz can of tomatoes, because that's what I had in the kitchen...


made as directed. very dry. where is the sauce? needs more tomatoes I think


Added sweet potato, can of corn, can of chipotle pepper in adobo, bay leaf.


I used this as a baseline recipe since I figured it was pretty bare bones - I added a red bell pepper and a jalepeno, only drained one of the cans of beans, and mashed up the beans a bit to thicken it. I had it on top of Fritos with the pickled onions and avocado, and it would have been vegan had I not added cheese. What a nice, cheap comfort food to have in my repertoire.


Great weeknight meal! I added a bell pepper with (red) onions in the skillet, and then a small can of corn when the beans went in, I felt like it needed just a bit more to round it out. We like spicy so also added a habanero. When it was done it seemed a little dry (since I did add things) so I added a can of diced tomatoes with chilis & simmered a few more minutes. Topped with avocado, sour cream, scallions and cilantro. Easy weeknight meal I'll definitely make again.

allie from nc

I used fire-roasted tomatoes and in addition to the chili powder, I added about 1/2 tsp of chipotle chili powder. It was delicious

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Vegetarian Skillet Chili Recipe (2024)


What makes homemade chili better? ›

When making chili, don't forget to load up on veggies for an added layer of flavor and texture. Some classic options include fresh garlic, bell peppers, and onions. The vegetables will add a noticeable crunch and pop of color to your recipe. Fresh herbs like cilantro, basil or parsley can also enhance the flavor.

Should chili be thick or soupy? ›

Traditionally, we expect a robust, spicy base, meat and/or beans, perhaps some bonus veggies, and a thick, rich consistency. Unlike soups, which are brothy, or even bisques, which are creamy yet thinner, chili is meant to be more stew-like; it's a definite stick-to-your-ribs creation.

How do you make chili more flavorful? ›

If you want more of a smoky flavor, add cumin, Spanish paprika, ancho chili powder, or a combination. If you are looking for more heat, add cayenne, crushed red pepper, or Hungarian paprika. If it's too spicy add a little brown sugar and some sweet paprika.

What liquid to add to chili? ›

Chili cooks low and slow, so you need enough liquid to tenderize the meat and keep everything from drying out. That liquid should also add flavor to the chili, so use chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or beer.

What is the secret to really good chili? ›

Cook it long enough

Chili recipes need time for flavors to meld and come together, and collagen-rich meat (like chuck roast or ground beef) needs 90 minutes to two hours to fully break down and become tender. If you don't have time for a long simmer, try using a slow cooker or making it the day before.

What adds depth of flavor to chili? ›

Is it lacking in savory depth? Add a hit of soy sauce, Worcestershire, or tamari. These salty, savory powerhouses won't dominate or change the flavor of your chili so much as amplify what's there. Start with one tablespoon, stir, and taste before you add another.

Does tomato paste make chili thicker? ›

Not only will tomato paste add a tangy flavor to the dish, but it will also act as a thickening agent. For this purpose, you can use homemade or store-bought tomato paste. Add 1 can of the paste to your pot of chili, stir the mixture, and let it cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes.

Does chili need tomato paste? ›

Tomato sauce is not a strong a taste as tomato paste. Also, sauce will increase the liquid content of your chili ever so slightly. Tomato paste has a more full, rich, tomato taste and smell. Using either one is appropriate, but you will need to tweak your seasonings to suit your personal tastes, anyway.

What is the most important spice in chili? ›

Most Common Chili Spices. Cumin, Chile Powders, and Paprika are the most common spices in chili followed by garlic, onion, coriander, Mexican oregano, and bay leaves. These ingredients can be combined to create a savory and well-balanced pot of top notch comfort food.

What does cinnamon do for chili? ›

Much like adding chili powder and other common chili spices, cinnamon is a super versatile spice that adds warmth without the heat to Firecracker chili.

What not to put in chili? ›

Beans and non-vegetable fillers such as rice and pasta are not allowed." If that sounds a bit uptight, the ICS's Homestyle Chili competition defines chili as: "any kind of meat, or combination of meats, and/or vegetables cooked with beans, chili peppers, various spices, and other ingredients.

What is the best liquid base for chili? ›

Beef Broth: Provides liquid and enhances the beefy flavor of the chili. Crushed Tomatoes and Tomato Paste: Adds a rich tomato flavor and contributes to the chili's thick texture. Molasses: Offers a touch of sweetness to balance the heat and spices.

Do you cook onions or meat first for chili? ›

Sautéing onions, garlic, and other veggies first coaxes maximum flavor out of them. So make sure your onions, for example, are soft and translucent before you add your liquid.

How do you spice up bland chili? ›

You can use sauce, diced, whole, even rotel for some kick. Add garlic, cumin, and probably more salt. Chipotle chili powder is really nice in chili.

Does sugar make chili taste better? ›

Now for the piece de resistance: 1-2 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar. The chili tastes completely different without the brown sugar so if you like a subtle sweetness in your chili then you've just got to go for it! Trust me, it will not make your chili taste like candy.

Does vinegar make chili taste better? ›

Good news, it's easier than you think to perk up your pot of chili. All it takes is a splash of vinegar, which I bet you already have in the pantry. Stirred into the pot right before serving, a spoonful of vinegar brightens up the finished product, and gives it that full, rounded taste that was missing.


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