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Summer Vegetarian Chili

Sharon Palmer

Who says chili has to be a cool weather dish? Pack your plant-based chili with loads of vegetables, give it a “meaty” texture thanks to steel cut oats (yes, steel cut oats!), spice it up with herbs and spices, and top it with farm fresh produce, like avocados and cilantro, and you’ve just discovered your next warm weather, rustic meal. Although it’s perfectly delicious year round, too! Serve this Summer Vegetarian Chili, which is also vegan and gluten-free, with a crisp green salad and my Vegan Skillet Cornbread and you’re all set! This chili recipes is also whole foods, plant-based, as you can make it without the use of oil, sugar, or salt. 

You can even keep your kitchen cool by switching from the stove top to slow cooker method for preparing this recipe. Just soak the beans overnight, and then add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours. Or put the whole recipe into an Instant Pot, push the “bean/chili” setting, and have this meal on the table in no time! 

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Summer Vegetarian Chili

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(2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This vegetarian chili, which is also vegan and gluten-free, is packed with summery vegetables, including zucchini, peppers, corn, carrots, and tomatoes. Plus, the addition of steel cut oats gives it a “meaty” texture.


  • 1 pound red beans, dried (i.e., pinto, kidney, cranberry, or red)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes, gluten-free
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup yellow corn, frozen or canned
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 4-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, reduced sodium, gluten-free
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
  • ¾ cups steel cut oats, dried
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Salt to taste (optional)

Garnish (optional, as desired):

  • Fresh avocado slices
  • Green onion slices
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Lemon wedges


  1. Place beans in a large pot, cover with water, and soak overnight.
  2. The next day, discard the water, and add 6 cups fresh water and bouillon cubes. Cover and simmer over medium-low for 45 minutes.
  3. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, pepper, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, cilantro, brown sugar, and steel cut oats.
  4. Stir well to combine, cover, and simmer for an additional 45 minutes, stirring frequently, until beans, oats, and vegetables are tender. May need to add additional water lost to evaporation. Should make a thick stew-like texture.
  5. Before serving, stir in lemon juice and add hot sauce to achieve desired level of spiciness. Season with salt as desired (optional).
  6. Serve in bowls and garnish as desired with fresh avocado slices, green onion slices, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped fresh tomatoes, and lemon wedges.
  7. Makes about 4 1/2 quarts of chili; 10 servings (about 1 3/4 cups per serving).


Instant Pot Directions: Skip Step 1, and instead place all ingredients from Steps 2-3 into the container of an Instant Pot. Press “Bean/Chili” setting. When done, follow Steps 5-6.

Slow cooker Directions: Follow Step 1, then for Steps 2-4, place all ingredients in the container of a Slow Cooker. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-12 hours. When done, follow Steps 5-6 above.

  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 241
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 169 mg
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 46 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Protein: 14 g

Keywords: vegan chili, healthy chili, vegan soup recipe

For other plant-based chili recipes, check out:

Smoky Chili with Sweet Potatoes
Three Sisters Chili
Smoky Lentil Chili

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