Vegetarian Bean Chili – Slow Cooker

by Marsie

Superbowl Sunday! What is more fitting than a big bowl of chili with a slice or two of corn bread?

I love chili. Three-Bean Chili, white-chicken chili, traditional chili. As a child, I preferred the cornbread over the chili – I am glad to say my tastes have shifted to a point where I enjoy chili quite a bit and see corn bread as a nice additive.

Since I have been experimenting in the world of vegetarianism, not a hard transition considering my fondness of vegetables, I wanted to make a pleasing vegetarian chili; however, I wanted a chili a meat lover would still enjoy – as long as he/she enjoys beans. I was tempted to replicate my mom’s chili recipe sans meat, but I wanted to have a recipe highlighting beans and vegetables. Plus, I like the venture of trying a new recipe.

My search for a vegetarian chili yielded a plethora of recipes, varying from various combinations of beans to using fake meat crumbles. For me, beans were a definite yes. Fake meat/meat substitutes are still out of my area of expertise in preparation/replacement. Plus, if I am trying to emphasize the texture and flavor beans and vegetables can bring, why mask it with a meat substitute? At the end of the day, meat is meat and fake meat is fake meat. Fake meat ≠ real meat.

The solution resulted with me creating my own chili recipe, loosely based on my research and a recipe called Grandma’s Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili from I made adaptations to my taste, available ingredients, and for the quantity I was hoping to produce. I incorporated fresh green and red peppers, with onions, corn and tomatoes to give the chili intricate flavors.

The yield was a tasty chili – I was touched at the willingness of some of my meat-eating friends to try the chili, solely because I made it. To say the least, they were pleased. One adjustment I will make in repeating this recipe for others is less cayenne pepper: I used 4 tsp, a little strong for some taste buds. This will definitely be repeated by me.. many times.

Vegetarian Bean Chili – Slow Cooker

Serves a lot, 16?

  • 2 – 15 oz cans Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 – 15 oz cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 – 15 oz cans Organic Black Bean Soup (I used Trader Joe’s) – replacing with normal black beans, rinsed and drained, might work if find the soup is difficult
  • 1 – 28 oz can Vegetarian Baked Beans (I used Busch’s)
  • 1 – 28 oz can Tomato Puree
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 3-4 cups frozen corn
  • 1.5 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 Tbsp chili powder
  • 4 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 2-4 tsp Cayenne pepper (to desired spiciness)
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1-2 Tbsp salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados, cornbread, etc…: all optional topping

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker (minus the optional toppings: cheese, sour cream, etc) cooking for at least 2 hours on high. Since my cooking process was interrupted by travel and setting up a Super Bowl party, I cooked mine on high for 1 hour and set it to low for another 2-3 hours. Since there is no meat, cook until heated fully through.

Top with your preference of toppings. Enjoy!