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Appetizers/ Entrees/ Make It Meatless/ Recipes/ Vegan/ 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.


Freezer-Friendly Vegetarian Chili

Veggie-Loaded Chili Recipe

A freezer-friendly chili recipe made with end-of-summer veggies.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/81/4 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


  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook until it’s softened, 5–7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the zucchini, yellow squash, and red pepper; cook until they’re softened, 7–10 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, and beans.
  6. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

This recipe was originally published on 9 September 2013.

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  • Reply
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
    September 9, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Adore chili!!! We are having a huge chili party for my son’s 2nd bday next weekend. Love this meatless version.

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      A chili party is perfect for a fall birthday! 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    September 9, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Yes, chili is good any time of year! I hear you on leaving out the sour cream- it’s so easy to eat too much of it 😉 Off to check on our garden corn (almost ready!)…

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Aw, corn! Did you get a lot? Mine ended up drying up before it was even ready to harvest–very strange!

  • Reply
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    September 9, 2013 at 8:46 am

    I spy a Sprecher up there! 🙂 Also, they were practically giving away squash and zucchini at my farmer’s market yesterday, so I am SO on this!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      YES! Ha! I was wondering if anyone would notice that. There’s a store about an hour from here that carries them and when we were there last time, my husband bought about 6 cases. We don’t even have room for them in the pantry, so they’re sitting on the floor. 🙂 I needed something else in the shot, so I grabbed a bottle.

  • Reply
    Jennie @themessybakerblog
    September 9, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Gotta love fewer calories; I’m all about eating more. This looks delish!

  • Reply
    Pure Ella
    September 9, 2013 at 9:24 am

    What a great hearty stew! I love it 😉

  • Reply
    September 9, 2013 at 9:32 am

    My chili has got to be packed with veggies! Looking at the grey sky outside and wrapped up in a blanket right now it’s definitely chili weather :S

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      I took out our blanket for the living room the other day because I was a little chilly and I felt like, “Ahhh, this is nice. I can do fall.” 🙂

  • Reply
    September 9, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Chili season is upoooooon usssss! I LOVE soup and chili and my eyeballs are going crazy over your veggie-filled bowl. I’m a volume eater too!!! I’ve never “heard” anyone else say that, so I feel like my heart and soul is connected right up to yours right now (phew, okay, no more creepiness, I promise). Stuffing myself on veggies is my favorite thing to do…we’ll leave it at that. Hope you had a great weekend!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      HA HA! Maybe I just have no shame. Maybe I should keep volume eating as my dark, dark secret? I pile veggies onto and into everything–pizza, pasta, casseroles, soups.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2013 at 10:53 am

    this recipe is speaking to me, as well! i’m a volume eater, as well. i want a BIG plate of food, or huge bowl of soup. this will do the trick quite perfectly 😉

    is this spicy? dayv isn’t a big fan of spice, but a tiny bit is ok. i’d really like to make it for us 😉

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      It’s spicy, but it’s easy to take care of that–just use regular diced tomatoes and omit the cayenne. Or, if you just want a little kick, maybe use one can of regular tomatoes and one can of tomatoes with chiles. 🙂

  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    September 9, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I love cayenne in mine too and I always make a huge pot for freezer portions when I make it. I use three cans of beans in mine but since you still use two cans, I don’t feel too bad.

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      You have to add a little heat, right? 🙂

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    September 9, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I have waaaay too many leftover summer veggies in the fridge, including zucchini and corn, so this is absolutely perfect timing! Making this week for sure!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Yay, I hope you like it!

  • Reply
    dishing up the dirt
    September 9, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I love this seasonal chili recipe. It’s getting cool enough in the evenings to eat heartier food like this, but I’m still staying away from pumpkin/winter squash anything right now! There is plenty of time for that 🙂

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      I went grocery shopping two days ago and there were hardly any peaches, it was slim pickins for corn, but they had TONS of winter squash. I guess fall is coming soon…

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    September 9, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I love the idea of serving this chili over sweet potatoes!

  • Reply
    Purabi Naha | Cosmopolitan Currymania
    September 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Chilli loaded with veggies is something just wonderful! In Mumbai, it is still very hot and you’ll be surprised to know that we don’t have to wear warm clothes even in winters, when it is just slightly cold. Well, whatever is the weather, I am in love with your chilli recipe. Going to make it soon!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      I would love to live somewhere with warm winters–the older I get, the closer to the equator I want to be. 🙂 I hope you like the chili if you make it!

  • Reply
    Maria Tadic
    September 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I’m making chili tonite! I’m so excited. It’s such a nice recipe for a big “veggie dump” and throw all kinds of stuff in there! I’m already hungry and it’s only 3 pm!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm

      Yay for chili night! 🙂 You’re right, chilis and soups are perfect for using up those odds and ends you have in the fridge.

  • Reply
    Arthur in the Garden!
    September 9, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    This looks wonderful!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving
    September 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t eat small servings of anything so adding more veggies is a brilliant tip!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Chili season and football season go hand in hand…even if it isn’t cold out yet. I make a batch to reheat on nights when we have soccer practices too. Your recipe looks great.

  • Reply
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    September 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I am ALL about chili…and the more veggies the better!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Meg @ Beard and Bonnet
    September 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Gimmie gimmie, I LOVE chili!!! Those pictures are stunning by the way, I love seeing ingredient shots in posts. I don’t do enough of that.

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      I’m trying to get back into trying new things and experimenting with my photography. I haven’t had the time to do that in so long!

  • Reply
    Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board
    September 9, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I’m in transition mode now too, still using summer veggies if I can but in cozier dishes like soups and pastas.. though my cravings seem to change every day with the weather – it can’t seem to decide if it wants to be summer or fall right now!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Yup, here too. I’m still loving the summer produce, but I’ll be happy when the temperature cools down and stays cool. 🙂

  • Reply
    Gretchen @ Two Healthy Kitchens
    September 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    My oldest JUST asked me last week when I would be making chili again! I thought for a moment, then realized that I didn’t necessarily want to eat chili when it was 80 degrees! I just said “Soon – when fall is here” but now … I want it – NOW!!
    Your pics are gorgeous and I love that it’s not an all day ordeal to make! I could easy whip this up between after-school activities!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Yeah, it’s not quite chili weather yet, is it? 🙂 But it’s getting there!

  • Reply
    Joy //For the Love of Leaves
    September 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    That looks so tasty! I love making a big batch of soup or stew or chili and then just live off it all week long! This will definitely be added to the rotation!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      Yeah, me too! It’s nice to cook once and get a few meals out of it. 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    September 9, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    I am a fan of saucy warming chilli too! Adding veggies are definitely the right way to enjoy guilt-free deliciousness…I like to add mine with aubergine and pumpkin 🙂
    This looks totally right up my alley, Kiersten.

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      I need to make a pumpkin chili! I made one with butternut squash last weekend that was really tasty. 🙂

  • Reply
    Marie @ Not Enough
    September 10, 2013 at 2:39 am

    ‘transitional recipe’ haha love this idea! And this chili sounds delicious!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      I love this time of year because summer veggies are still in season and a lot of fall fruits and veggies are in season too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    September 10, 2013 at 6:44 am

    This sounds amazing. My family & I are big chili fans, so I think this would go over well 🙂

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