This Dutch Oven Chili is easy to make and comes together in just 1 pot! It's hearty, filling, and packed with plant-based protein. Perfect to serve at a family dinner, alongside some fresh cornbread or pita chips.
Traditional chili is usually made with ground beef, and sometimes with a mix of different ground meats. Today we are switching things up and presenting you with our vegetarian chili prepared right in the Dutch oven!
This stovetop chili is simple and made from whole foods, but has a complex flavor from the spices, tomato paste, and molasses. It's such a crowd-pleaser and even the biggest meat-eaters will love it!
- Beans. We like red kidney beans and black beans.
- Onion and garlic. For flavor.
- Red bell pepper. For texture and color. You can also add any other vegetable that you like - spinach, kale, celery, etc.
- Chili powder and green chilies. Make sure to use a mild chili powder. If you are using a strong one, add less than the recipe suggests.
- Tomato paste. It gives a rich umami flavor.
- Chopped canned tomatoes. If you can get your hands on fire-roasted tomatoes, definitely use them here. They'll add so much flavor!
- Canned corn. Best to use canned corn as it's already cooked. Frozen corn can also work here.
- Spices. You'll need ground cumin, coriander, dried oregano, cacao powder, and smoked paprika. As well as salt and black pepper for flavor.
- Oil. For cooking. We like olive oil, but any oil will work.
How to make this recipe
To make this chili, start by heating up some oil in a Dutch oven. Once hot, add onion and red pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Then, add minced garlic, chopped green chilies, tomato paste, and all of the spices. Cook for 2-3 minutes to activate the flavors.
Next, add vegetable broth, beans, corn, molasses, salt, cacao powder, and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered on low heat for 40 minutes or until thick.
- Add vegetable broth just enough to cover everything. You don't want to add too much broth to the chili unless you want a bean soup. You can add more liquid later if you need to thin it out.
- Use canned beans. This helps with cutting down on cooking time because canned beans are already cooked. However, you can also cook your own beans from scratch in a separate pot and add them to the chili when it's time.
- Cook on low heat. Make sure to give your chili enough time to cook and thicken in the Dutch oven, so don't turn the heat too high. Also, by simmering the chili on low heat you won't have to add that much liquid, which we already mentiont above.
Optional Add-ins and Substitutions
- Chili without tomatoes: If you don't want to use tomatoes, you can simply omit them. In that case, you'll need to add ½ to 1 cup more vegetable broth.
- Liquid smoke: If you have it on hand, adding 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke can really level up this recipe.
- Cocoa powder: It balances out the flavors and adds some richness. Adding up to 4 tablespoons of cacao powder is a great way to brighten up this Dutch oven chili.
How to Reheat
- Microwave: Transfer chili to a bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through.
- Stovetop: Add chili to a small pot and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes or until warmed through.
My personal favorites are black beans and red kidney beans. However, any type of beans can work when making this chili. You can even use different types of beans if you want to switch things up.
This Dutch oven chili is perfect alongside some homemade pita chips or fresh cornbread. We also love to top it with a big dollop of sour cream when serving, either vegan or regular. A little shredded cheese or some cilantro would also be wonderful.
Yes! This chili is perfect for freezing! Transfer it into a freezer-safe container and it'll keep for up to 6 months. You can even double the recipe so you can have more servings.
More Hearty Bean Recipes
Dutch Oven Chili
- Dutch oven or soup pot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or any other oil for cooking)
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 2 medium red bell peppers, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 green chilies, chopped (seeds removed for less heat)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder (add more for more heat)
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup corn, from a can
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 tablespoon molasses or brown sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoon cacao podwer (we like Dutch processed cacao powde; optional)
For serving (optional)
- Sour cream (vegan or regular)
- Pita chips
- To a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and red peppers and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly brown.
- Then, add tomato paste, chopped green chilies, minced garlic, and all of the spices - ground cumin, ground coriander, chili powder, smoked paprika, and dried oregano. Cook for 2-3 more minutes.
- Add the canned tomatoes, black beans, corn, vegetable broth, molasses, cacao powder (optional), salt, and black pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cook for 40-50 minutes or until the chili thickens.
- If you like, you can blend half of the chili for a thicker texture. Serve right away and top with fresh cilantro and sour cream (optional).