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Appetizers/ Entrees/ Recipes/ Vegan Recipes/ Vegetarian Recipes

Freezer-Friendly Vegetarian Chili

Veggie-Loaded Chili Recipe
Veggie-Loaded Chili

After what I posted last week about not being ready for fall recipes yet, you probably think I’m a big hypocrite for posting this Freezer-Friendly Vegetarian Chili today. But let me explain!

This is not a fall recipe, you see. It’s what I like to call a transitional recipe. It uses summer produce (which is still readily available!), but it’s a perfect dinner for a chilly September evening.

And if it’s still too early for chilly evenings where you live, well, that’s okay, because you can make this chili ahead of time and freeze it.

Veggie-Loaded Chili IngredientsVeggies and Volume

I know I’ve mentioned this several times before, but I’m a volume eater. A lot of chili recipes have pretty paltry serving sizes, but I want to have a BIG bowl of chili.

If I had a big bowl of chili made with tempeh or beans, that would mean a lot of calories—calories that I don’t need to eat.

So my solution is to cram as many veggies into my chili as I can. This gives me more bang for my buck calorie-wise, but it’s also a lot tastier too.

Because: VEGGIES! Isn’t a bowl full of veggies much more appetizing than a big bowl of beans?

Freezing Instructions

If you decide you want to make this with summer produce and then freeze it for later this fall, you’ll follow the recipe instructions as they’re written below, let the chili cool a bit, then pack it in a freezer bag or Tupperware container and pop it in the freezer.

If it’s in Tupperware, you can microwave it while it’s still frozen; otherwise, just let it thaw in the fridge for a day or two and heat it up on the stovetop over medium heat. Easy!

And if you’re a fan of freezer meals like this, then you must check out the complete Oh My Veggies Guide to Freezer Cooking too!

Veggie-Loaded ChiliToppings and Variations

Chris tops his chili with pepper jack cheese, sour cream, and cilantro, while I opt to leave out the sour cream. Crumbled tortilla chips or crackers would be perfect too and if you really want to go wild, you could serve this over baked sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes! Am I slowly getting used to the idea that fall is almost here? Perhaps. But only if there’s chili involved.

Veggie-Loaded Chili Recipe

Freezer-Friendly Vegetarian Chili

A freezer-friendly chili recipe made with end-of-summer veggies.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 -6 servings


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 –1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional; 1/4 teaspoon is very spicy!
  • 1 small zucchini diced
  • 1 small yellow squash diced
  • 1 small red pepper diced
  • 2 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chili peppers
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 ear corn kernels removed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or 1 can, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans or 1 can, rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook until it’s softened, 5–7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the zucchini, yellow squash, and red pepper; cook until they’re softened, 7–10 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, and beans.
  • Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Craving more veg-friendly recipes? Shop our collection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks!

This recipe was originally published on 9 September 2013.

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  • Reply
    September 10, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I remember first having zucchini at a neighbor’s when she made a veggie chili that was to die for. Your version looks delicious. The fresh herbs must add a lot of good flavor, too.

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Cilantro is really good with chili–I always wonder why more recipes don’t call for it!

  • Reply
    Grace @ FoodFitnessFreshAir
    September 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I’ve been freezing so much lately! I’m not excited for winter…but a part of me is excited to revisit all the summer veggie-loaded food I’ve been cooking up. This sounds like a winner for that category!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Me too! So much so that I ran out of room in the freezer last weekend. :/ I guess I’m going a little overboard trying to preserve the summer harvest.

  • Reply
    Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ
    September 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Love veggie chili! I’ve cooked something similar but with Quinoa. Beautiful pics!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      Adding quinoa to chili?! That is such a good idea!

  • Reply
    Liz @ I Spy Plum Pie
    September 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    We’ve had a cold snap at the start of Spring here so I think this might be a winner for the weekend. I’m like you, I’m all about volume as well!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      I hope you like it if you make it! 🙂

  • Reply
    sue mcmahon
    September 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Try substituting plain greek yogurt for sour cream ! (less fat-more protein)

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      That’s a great idea!

      • Reply
        Sarah B
        October 4, 2017 at 8:51 pm

        Can I cook this with a crock pot instead?

        • Reply
          October 5, 2017 at 8:00 am

          Hi Sarah! I think this would work in a crockpot. I’d have to guess at the cook time, but I’d say 3-4 hours on low or 5-6 on high.

  • Reply
    [email protected] should I eat for breakfast today
    September 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Eaven if it’s a fall recipe, it’s worth trying. I like each ingredient.

  • Reply
    Yvonne @ bitter baker
    September 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I’m totally ready for fall! And gotta love freezer friendly foods – this looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Kiran @
    September 11, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Mmmmm… i’m loving all the comforting veggies in this chili. Yum!

  • Reply
    Laura @ Kneadwhine
    September 12, 2013 at 6:24 am

    I always end up making a huge batch of veggie chilli on Christmas Eve – filling but not calorie high and makes good use of all the veggies that might sit sadly in the fridge while all the other types of eating are going on.

    • Reply
      September 12, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Chili is perfect winter food! That’s a great idea. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Why canned tomatoes? I think I’ll try with garden crop tomatoes and chilies. Your pictures are beautiful. Thanks.

    • Reply
      September 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      If you have them on hand, then by all means use fresh tomatoes and peppers!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Made this last night. Great flavors and a good spice level. Definetly a keeper!

    • Reply
      September 16, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Do I see a Sprecher’s cream soda in the background?!

    • Reply
      September 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      Yes! 🙂 My husband has cases and cases of it in our pantry right now. He’s a little bit obsessed.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Great vegetarian chili! Great idea to use both black beans and kidney beans and then all of those summer veggies. Great recipe!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    I’ve been collecting chili recipes to try this Fall/Winter, and I’ve bookmarked this one! I like the sounds of the veggie combo you included (I love corn in chili!) and the mix of beans too. A higher veggie to beans ratio sounds good to me!

    • Reply
      September 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Can you believe it’s already almost chili season?! I hope you like it if you make it!

  • Reply
    September 24, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I just finished making this and it’s way good (even though I messed up added an entire tiny can of tomato paste instead of just two tablespoons and then had to add some water to calm down the tomato intensity that resulted!

    • Reply
      September 25, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      I’m glad it turned out well, despite the extra tomato paste! 🙂

  • Reply
    Brenda Williams
    September 30, 2013 at 12:18 am

    I have to try this recipe! I love chili and adding the veggies would really be good.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Looks great! I need to work on getting my partner to eat more veggies so I can cook more meals like this one.

  • Reply
    rick baby
    August 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    just found your site and recently made the decision to go 100% plant based for a couple of months to sort out some health issues, so looking for lots of delicious recipes, I’m a good cook so can make anything really

    I am a total chili addict and cannot get it hot enough mostly, will give your recipe a go, made one last week that was mostly cauliflower, red pepper, carrot and mushroom – was tasty but not really like a chili

    gonna hang out on your site checking all the info, already love it

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      August 31, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      If you want a chili that has a texture similar to one made with ground beef, try crumbled tempeh. I usually replace it for the meat ounce-for-ounce, adding a little oil to brown it in since it’s not fatty like beef.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I made this last night and it was so hearty and delicious! I had two cans of Triple beans (black, kidney and pinto) so I used those and only change was that I added a pack of McCormick Chili Seasoning. We had crinkle fries and the chili on top. I was shocked at how delicious it turned out. I’ll admit I was nervous it wouldn’t have a hearty flavor or would come out tasting like tomato stew. This recipe is my first attempt into vegetarian cuisine other than salads, pasta and sauce or sautéed vegetable “medleys” I created.

    Thank you so much.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 18, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennie O'Connor
    September 7, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Is there a print button for the recipes that I’m not seeing?

    • Reply
      Oh My Veggies
      September 9, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Yes, there is – I’m not sure why it’s not showing up for you?

  • Reply
    February 21, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I know this is an older recipe but I just made it today and I wanted to tell you how much I love it! This is the most flavorful chili I have eaten and it’s the first I’ve made without meat. I made a few adjustments to the recipe – I added a can of green chilies, a can of garbanzo beans, and I cut a sweet potato into small pieces and tossed that in as well. I cooked it a little longer than the recipe said (to ensure the potatoes were well done) and it turned out spectacularly! I have been making chili and freezing individual portions for the week, and I can tell you that this is one I will be making again!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I just became vegetarian and lots of recipes require meat. This recipe is delicious! 🙂

    • Reply
      Katie Trant
      November 19, 2017 at 10:07 am

      It’s one of our favourites, too!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2020 at 9:34 am

    5 stars
    I love the idea of “cramming in veggies.” Chili is a favorite in our household, and your vegan chili recipe is a delicious addition to our plant-based diet. Do you ever consider increasing the spice factor? Maybe some habanero peppers?

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