Yes, chili can still be chili without meat. I typically get the stink eye when I utter the words “vegetarian chili” – the kind of glare you’d receive at a sewing circle after taking the Lord’s name in vain.
“What do you mean there’s no meat in that chili?!”
You mad, bro?
I can assure you – it’s still hearty, it’s still comforting, and hot dayum is it ever delicious! This chili actually won in a chili competition in the vegetarian category. So, there’s that.
I originally created this recipe years before adopting my pescetarian lifestyle; I was still an omnivore and denying meat on my plate wasn’t even something I’d considered yet. I’d been craving chili and realized that I had every ingredient in my pantry…except ground meat. At first I was sad, but then I became un-sad! Because I recalled a chum of mine ordering veg chili for lunch at a restaurant one afternoon and I thought hey, maybe I can give that a whirl?
My big concern was the chili being soup-y since the heartiness of the beef would be missing, but it was a non-issue. Lentils make the perfect substitute for ground meat, so the result is still a nice and thick “spoon-standing” chili. Not to mention, it’s a fibre and protein party!
Until you try it, don’t knock it. ‘Cause you don’t even know.
Easy Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 18 oz black beans drained and rinsed if from can,
- 18 oz kidney beans drained and rinsed if from can,
- 18 oz chick peas drained and rinsed if from can,
- 4 cups of cooked lentils
- 1 27 oz can of stewed tomatoes
- 1 10 oz can of Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilis or something similar
- 6.5 oz of sliced black olives optional
- 2 cups of frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Grated cheddar cheese
Homemade Chili Seasoning:
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1.5 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1.5 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- From the bell pepper through to the black olives, add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker.
- Add the homemade chili seasoning and stir throughly to ensure seasoning is evenly distributed.
- Cook on low for at least 4 hours, and up to 8 hours.
- Add the frozen peas to the slow cooker approx. 10 minutes before serving - that way they keep their nice bright green color and their texture,
- Serve with taco chips, or spoon into flour tortillas!
- Garnish with plain Greek yogurt, sliced scallions, and/or shredded cheddar