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Hearty Vegetarian Chili

  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes about 12 cups

Don’t let this recipe’s long ingredient list intimidate you: You probably have most of it in your fridge and pantry already, and the rest is easy to find. Steel-cut oats thicken the stew and add a meaty texture, but what really sets it apart is the addition of fresh vegetables—lots of them—which blend right in with the beans and sauce. This vegetarian chili is delicious all on its own, but you can also top it with sliced avocado, chopped scallions, chopped tomatoes, and fresh cilantro.

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  • 1 pound dried kidney, cranberry, or red beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1½ cups chopped carrots
  • 1½ cups chopped celery
  • 1½ cups sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup frozen or canned no-salt-added whole-kernel corn
  • ¾ cup dry steel-cut oats
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons dried cilantro, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • Bottled hot pepper sauce
  • Toppings such as sliced avocado, chopped scallions, and snipped fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. Place the soaked beans in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven. Add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the diced tomatoes and their juice, carrots, celery, zucchini, onion, bell pepper, corn, oats, tomato paste, tamari, garlic, brown sugar, chili powder, oregano, cilantro, cumin, and paprika. Return to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes more or until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in additional water as needed if the chili becomes too thick.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and hot pepper sauce. Serve with toppings (if using).

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about the author

Sharon Palmer

Sharon Palmer, RDN, is an award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, editor, author of The Plant-Powered Diet, blogger at The Plant-Powered Dietitian, and nationally recognized plant-based nutrition expert. She lives outside of Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.

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