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Vegetable Chili - This recipe is incredible! You'll never miss the meat in this delicious vegetable chili.

Today we’re sharing a perfect, delicious recipe to feed a crowd – and another great way to cook with in-season, summer vegetables!

I’ve made this fantastic Vegetable Chili so many times over the years that the binder of my well-worn copy of this cookbook is cracked and automatically falls open to the page where the original recipe is printed! In pen – written by me many years ago is the word EXCELLENT! (under scored twice) next to the title.

Vegetable Chili - This recipe is incredible! You'll never miss the meat in this delicious vegetable chili.

This very excellent vegetable chili is loaded with diced zucchini, onions, red bell pepper, garlic, canned and fresh tomatoes, as well as dark red kidney beans and garbanzo beans. A wonderful blend of dried spices and seasonings including chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, black pepper, salt and fennel seeds gives this vegetable chili the perfect kick of flavor without being too spicy – and some fresh chopped parsley and dill plus freshly squeezed lemon juice add brightness to the flavors.

Vegetable Chili - This recipe is incredible! You'll never miss the meat in this delicious vegetable chili.

The original description of this recipe states, “This vegetable chili is just as gutsy as any made with meat.” And – that is absolutely true! Served with a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of shredded Monterey Jack and sliced scallions on top – this is a vegetable chili even the most ardent meat eater will love!

P.S. We think this vegetable chili tastes even better the next day so it can be made ahead and reheated – or any leftovers are great to pack up for lunch the next day!

Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook

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Vegetable Chili

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus ¼ cup more only if needed
  • 2 zucchini, cut into ½-inch dice (approximately 1 1/3 pounds)
  • 2 onions, cut into ½-inch dice (approximately 2 ½ cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (approximately 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 large red peppers, cut into ½-inch dice (approximately 2 ½ cups)
  • 1 28-ounce can ground, peeled tomatoes (Pastene or Cento brands)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound fresh, ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
  • to 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 15.5-ounce can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 scallions, sliced on the diagonal (white and green parts)


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the diced zucchini and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until just tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the zucchini to a large, heavy-bottomed dutch oven.
  2. In the same skillet you used to sauté the zucchini (there should be enough oil remaining in the pan, but if not add up to ¼ cup more olive oil) sauté onions, garlic and bell peppers for about 10 minutes or until just wilted. Pour the entire mixture into the dutch oven with the zucchini.
  3. Heat the dutch oven over low heat and add both kinds of canned tomatoes (including juices), fresh tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, black pepper, salt, fennel seeds and fresh chopped parsley. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid any sticking on the bottom of the pan.
  4. After the 30 mintues are up, add the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, chopped dill and lemon juice and cook for another 15 minutes. Stir well and adjust seasonings as needed to suit your tastes.
  5. Serve hot with sour cream, shredded Monterey Jack cheese and sliced scallions sprinkled on top.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Vegetable Chili - This recipe is incredible! You'll never miss the meat in this delicious vegetable chili.

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  • Erin wrote:

    Wow! This is the exact same recipe my mother made, except she called it Voodoo Chili. I haven’t had this since I was a teenager. Thank you for posting this recipe, as well as inspiring me to make this forgotten favourite.

    • Martha wrote:

      I love that name Erin! 🙂 Hope this recipe is as good as your mom’s recipe!

  • Cookin Canuck wrote:

    You know that the recipe is good when you write a review in PEN in a cookbook! I do the same thing, but only for recipes that are tried-and-true favorites. I can see why you love this chili so much!

  • Erin @ Texanerin Baking wrote:

    Haha. I love that the book just falls open to that page. 😀 It seems like a lot of my friends are going vegetarian and I don’t really know what to make for them when they come over. Bookmarking this for later!

  • Carol wrote:

    What happened to your ” Pin it ” buttons for your page?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Carol – I’ve recently installed a plugin that allows you to pin as well as share on other social media. It should load at the top of the post just like the other pin button did!

  • Maria wrote:

    I use your quick and easy chili all the time and the whole family loves it. After trying many different chili recipes over the years, this is now my “go-to” recipe for chili and your chili dip –the best! So I’m very happy to see this post as I have wanted to make a vegetable chili for a while now.However, I am not a fan of fennel seeds, so if I left them out do you think it would make a big difference? Love your blog stories and recipes.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Maria! You can definitely leave the fennel seeds out – it will still be delicious! Thanks so much for writing to us today and we’re very glad you are enjoying the recipes! (I love that chili dip too!)

  • Lana | NeverEnoughThyme wrote:

    I have a similar recipe that we’ve enjoyed for many years as well. Absolutely packed with vegetables and just as tasty as a meat-based chili. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely version!

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