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Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

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Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Recipe -- easy to make in the crock pot or on the stovetop, naturally gluten-free and vegan, and SO delicious! |

Happy Meatless Monday, friends!

Since soup season seems to be in full swing lately, I thought it would be apropos to kick the week off with one of my favorite recipes that just so happens to be meatless, vegan, gluten-free, super-easy to make, and wonderfully warm and comforting for chilly fall nights — my Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili!

This recipe is admittedly a riff on my Slow Cooker Chili recipe that’s usually made with ground beef. But I’ve been making it meatless for my vegetarian and vegan friends for years, adding in some farro (not gluten-free) or quinoa (gluten-free) for extra protein. And let’s just say, it is always a hit with vegetarians, vegans and meat-lovers alike. My friends love this chili!!!

If you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to whip up in about 30-ish minutes on the stove (see instructions below). But for anyone who loves coming home to a delicious meal simmering in the Crock Pot, I think it’s hard to beat the ease of letting your slow cooker do all of the work with this one. Whatever method you choose, I think you’re going to love this one too. :)

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Recipe -- easy to make in the crock pot or on the stovetop, naturally gluten-free and vegan, and SO delicious! |

As I said before, I love adding in some extra grains to this vegetarian chili recipe to thicken it up and add some extra protein. About half the time I go with quinoa, which is a great gluten-free option that people seem to enjoy. But my favorite option is to actually use farro, which isn’t gluten-free but does add a deliciously chewy texture and nutty flavor to the chili. That said, you could also sub in barley or rice or other grains that you’d like, or just nix adding extra grains entirely. The choice is yours.

To make the chili in the slow cooker, simply toss all of your ingredients in the Crock Pot and stir to combine. Then cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours until everything is cooked through. So easy!

Or, if you’d like to make this chili on the stovetop, saute your onions in a tablespoon of oil until soft. Then add all of your remaining ingredients (minus the vegetable stock and quinoa or farro) and cook on high until the chili reaches a simmer. Meanwhile in a separate pot, simmer the quinoa or farro in the vegetable stock until it is cooked through. Then add that entire pot (including the extra broth) to the chili mixture, and stir to combine.
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Recipe -- easy to make in the crock pot or on the stovetop, naturally gluten-free and vegan, and SO delicious! |

Then it’s time to ladle up that chili!

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Recipe -- easy to make in the crock pot or on the stovetop, naturally gluten-free and vegan, and SO delicious! |

You can either serve it plain…Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Recipe -- easy to make in the crock pot or on the stovetop, naturally gluten-free and vegan, and SO delicious! |

…or load it up with any of your desired toppings. I went with (vegan) avocado, cilantro, green and red onions. But you could also add in some shredded cheese and/or sour cream if you’re making this vegetarian. Whatever sounds good to you sounds good to me. :)

Hope that you enjoy, and have a happy chili season!

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Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 240 minutes
  • Total Time: 250 minutes
  • Yield: 6 -8 servings 1x


This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili recipe is hearty, delicious, easy to make, and naturally vegan and gluten-free (if using quinoa).


  • 1 cup uncooked farro* or quinoa**
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce***, chopped
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (**see below for substitution ideas)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup beer (or you can just add extra vegetable broth)
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • (Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips or strips, thinly-sliced green onions, sour cream, salsa, etc.)


Slow Cooker Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and stir thoroughly to combine.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours until the chili is cooked through.  Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper or seasonings if need be.
  2. Serve immediately, garnished with extra toppings if desired.  Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Stovetop Method:

  1. In a small pot, cook the farro or quinoa in the vegetable stock according to package directions until it is cooked through.  (There will be extra vegetable stock — don’t worry, you’ll add everything to the chili once the farro/quinoa is cooked.)
  2. Meanwhile as the farro/quinoa are cooking,heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a separate large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add your diced onions and saute for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent.  Add all of your remaining ingredients minus the vegetable stock and farro (or quinoa), and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the chili reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Once the quinoa/farro is cooked, add it (along with any extra vegetable stock) to the chili and stir to combine.  Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper or seasonings if need be.
  3. Serve immediately, garnished with extra toppings if desired.  Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


*Farro = not gluten-free

**Quinoa = gluten-free (feel free to use any color of quinoa)

***I used about 3 chipotle peppers, but did not add any extra adobo sauce.

Feel free to also substitute your favorite kind of beans (such as black or Great Northern beans) if you do not like kidney beans.

If you love chili, be sure to also check out these other favorite chili recipes on the blog!

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100 comments on “Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili”

  1. This chili looks like the perfect thing to enjoy on a cozy Monday night! I love that it’s vegetarian! This is definitely something I’ll have to try for my non-meat-eating friends. They’d love it!

  2. As strange as it sounds, I’m not sure I’ve ever had vegetarian chili.. this looks awesome and I love that it uses quinoa or farro (love both grains!). 

  3. Whoa, this looks delicious. I just whipped up some veggie chili last week, but it wasn’t as thick as I’d like it to be. Absolutely adding this to try out once I have a slow cooker again!


  4. This looks wonderful! So packed with flavour! 

  5. I love the idea of a vegetarian chili! This sounds like such a delicious option for a cozy weeknight meal :)


  6. Note also that many beers contain gluten, too!

    • Yes, for anyone looking to make this gluten-free, gluten-free beer or just extra veggie stock can be used. :)

  7. It just started to feel like chili season here in CA today! It rained for most of the day, and we even saw a little lightning partway through the afternoon. Weather like that always makes me crave warm soups, chili & stews! I love your tip about the farro. I’ve actually never tried it (oops!), but that’s going on my list of things to try ASAP!

  8. I just bought a crock pot, and I can’t wait to try this out!


    • Awesome Molly, you will LOVE having a crock pot, they save so much time and work! :) We hope you enjoy the chili as well!

  9. This looks amazing. I love chili and I have yet to find a vegetarian option that looks appetizing. Pinning this, and adding it to my chili rotation soon.

  10. Sounds ahhmazing! Chili in abundance is a must this time of year. I love that you have instructions for both a stove top version and a crockpot version. :)

  11. Yes! Another dish to use Quinoa in! Love it! :)

  12. It looks delicious ?

  13. Do you know the nutrition information for this recipe? (PRO, FAT, CHO, salt etc)

    • Hi Melissa! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  14. it looks very good, but, Is this one very hot?
    because I could not eat much spicy food

    • Thanks Rita! We find it has just the right kick, but it all just depends on what your spice tolerance is. If you’re concerned about it being too hot, you could always use half the chipotle pepper (or skip it altogether). We hope this helps!

  15. made this tonight and it was great! The entire family loved it (including a 1 year old). The adults mayyyy have added some Fritos as toppings. So good!

    • Awesome Katie, we’re so happy you and your family enjoyed this (especially the 1 year-old)! :D And we say great call on the Fritos too! :D

  16. If I want to make it without the grains, how much less liquid do I use? Thanks!

  17. I am not a huge fan of Farro or Quinoa. Is there a way to add rice or do without these completely?

  18. Can I use chicken stop or is vegetable broth work better?  Also I have a place nearby that sells that sells single beers – Can you suggest  one on to use?  Guinness Stout?  The recipe sounds awesome!  I will have my Mom here recovering from surgery in a few weeks and I will trick her into trying – somehow I do believe she will like it!

    • Hi Karen! Honestly either one works great, but chicken stock does tend to have more flavor. For beers, we like Negra Modelo or Tecate! :) We hope your mom’s surgery goes well, and that she enjoys this!

  19. Making this today and there is a ton of it…..can’t wait to try it! :) Do you know if this chili freezes well? Thanks for letting me know! 

  20. This is sitting in the crockpot right now and smells so yummy! I feel like I used too much liquid though. I actually didn’t add the beer because it was at the top of the crock after I added the veggie stock and I ended up taking some of the liquid out so it wouldn’t overflow. Did I miss something with the liquid? What size is your crockpot?

    Still smells amazing and the prelim taste tests are Yum! Can’t wait to get it all together in front of the Super Bowl! :-) Thank you for this unique recipe! We make Veggie Chili a lot and I’m loving the use of quinoa!

    • Hi Alicia! It sounds like your crockpot may be too small. We used a 6-qt size slow cooker. You might want to cut the recipe in half next time, but hopefully this will work out! Let us know – we hope you enjoyed it! :)

  21. I have a coworker who challenged me to make her a good vegetarian chili. I think I may just use this recipe instead of coming up with my own! If so, I’ll be sure to write about how amazing it is on my blog! It looks so good I can almost smell it! Hahaha ?

  22. I LOVED this chili. I did make a couple of adjustments, but the base was amazing. I added 4 chipotle peppers, omitted the grains and added a package of meatless veggie grounds. So much depth of flavor,just spicy enough. Will make this again! Thank you!

    P.S. I used a dark stout for the beer and it was great

    • Thank you Donna — we’re glad you enjoyed it and the tweaks you made sound yummy! :)

  23. Thanks for a great chili recipe! My office had a chili cook off last Friday – this was the perfect recipe to divide up ingredients among my team and cook the morning of. And guess what? We won the cook off! So thanks! :) 

  24. I am looking at this recipe to use in the chili buffet my son has requested for his 13th birthday party. What size crockpot does this require? I have  4, 5 1/2, and 8 quart models.

    • Hi Amy! We made this in a 6-qt slow cooker, but we think a 5 1/2 should work fine. We hope you enjoy!

  25. Delishous! I’m not a vegetarian, l just want to eat less meat. I am trying to build up my arsenal of meatless meals and this recipe is a keeper. I added more veggies and another can of beans to “beef” up the consistency.

  26. Thank you for this recipe!   My husband and I LOVE this dish and it’s on regular rotation for our meal planning.   It’s one of our favorites! 

    • You’re welcome Jasmine — we’re so glad to hear you and your husband love this! :D

  27. Hi there! We haven’t tried this with dried beans, but yes, cooking this on low should allow enough time for them to cook (and you won’t need to soak them beforehand either). Let us know how it turns out! :)

  28. Just made this for a school fundraiser chili event and it went fast! I did a bean variety (garbanzo, pinto, and black in addition to kidney), added bay leaves and green chilis, and liquid smoke. Next time I might personally put in more chili, salt, and sweetener, but that’s my own taste buds. This is a really great recipe, thanks!

    Just as an aside in response to the last commenter asking about using dried beans, they won’t ever fully cook if you add them to the crock pot because of the acidity of the tomatoes (the salt also doesn’t help). Better to cook them separately and toss them in while the chili is cooking, or even when done.

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Jeremy — we’re so happy it was a hit, and we love your additions! :)

  29. Just a quick note of thank you! I won 3rd place with this recipe at our neighborhood chili cook off. In Texas. Where meat is everything. I put in ground crumbles instead of grains, as someone suggested above, and it was amazing!!  Everyone loved it and I will be making this again soon! 

  30. I made this tonight.  Probably the best vegetarian chili I’ve tried yet! It was great that you could just throw the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and have supper ready after work in the evening.  I also liked that I didn’t have to chop up a ton of vegetables like in some of the other vegetarian chilis I’ve made, which can be time consuming.  I’ll definitely make this again! Thanks :)

  31. Skip the added sugar and add 6 diced carrots they will sweeten the dish and a good for you food unlike added sugar

  32. I am making this now and it has been cooking for about 2 hours on high but is really watery. Should I add cornstarch mixed with water to help thicken it or will it thicken within the next two hours?

  33. I just made this chili and it is delicious.  I have a few modifications I would make next time – first of all it’s way to salty! I diluted the chili with a cup of water and it seemed to help a little but I would go for low sodium stock next time.  Also I added only half of the recommended quinoa and it was plenty.  

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Tara — we’re not sure why it came out so salty (maybe it was the type of chicken stock you used?) but definitely feel free to try reduced sodium chicken stock next time. We’re glad you were able to tone it down some with the water and that you still enjoyed it. :)

  34. Hello, I am looking forward to making this tonight. I have a question about the tomato sauce listed in the recipe: can that be any regular tomato pasta sauce? Or does it need to be tomato paste?

    • Hi Tom — we’re sorry for just now getting to your comment! You want the tomato sauce in the can, which you’ll find by the canned tomatoes (not marinara/pasta sauce).

  35. I just want you to know that this is the best chili i have ever eaten in my life. My husband, who requires meat in every meal always, even insisted that we make a couple more batches for the next week or so…. thank you so much!! <3

    • Wow, thank you for your sweet words, Nonarae — we’re so happy you and your husband love it! :)

  36. Whats the serving size?

  37. Would this work with rice? I’m gluten-free and allergic to quinoa, but everything else looks great!

  38. So tasty and filling in a good way! I accidentally forgot to buy tomato sauce, so I simply omitted draining the beans, and it still turned out great. Love recipes that are easy to adapt!

  39. I love this recipe! We have several family members who are vegan and this chili recipe is perfect. We all love it and it satisfies every diet. I started out making another one of your chili recipes but my husband and I prefer this one, especially with avocados on top.

    • Thanks for sharing, Catherine, we’re so glad you and your family are fans! :)

  40. I decided I should actually comment on this recipe after months and months of making it!!! It is literally SO amazing. My husband and I are vegan and this is one of our staples. I make some changes though. I leave out the quinoa cause for some reason I don’t like it and I add extra chipotle chili in adobe because we like spice. And when it’s time to eat, we eat it over rice (white or brown, both are bomb) or with tortilla chips… or sometimes rice and chips cause YOLO. We even made it camping and just put in a big cast iron and let it simmer over the fire for a while and it’s so filling and EASY! Go make this. Right now!

  41. This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it! Question: can you use dried beans instead of canned beans if using the slow cooker option? Thanks!

  42. Just made this! LOVE the flavor the chipotle in adobo adds. Mine turned out a bit soupy, might need to use 1/2 a cup less or so of the veggie stock (I used an extra cup of stock instead of beer). But otherwise SO excited to eat this for this rest of the week :)

    Made this today and it was over-the-top delicious. I added a few mushrooms and chopped sweet red peppers. Also, I sautéed the onion, garlic and peppers for a few minutes before adding to the slow cooker. Yum Yum!

  44. Since I became vegetarian, I’ve never found a chili recipe that I loved as much as my meat chili…until now. This is, BY FAR, the best vegetarian chili I’ve ever had. Maybe even the best chili, period. I make it in my Instant Pot using dried beans. Cooking it on high pressure for 1 hour (using unsoaked beans) turns out perfectly.

  45. Hello!
    I just made it and taste it…..OMG! I’m in heaven. Can’t wait to eat it tomorrow with my family. Thanks for the recipe!
    P.S.: I used 2 cans of kidney beans, 1 can of black beans, 3/4 cup of red lentils ( dried, not soaked overnight!) For a little heat I used jalapenos, red chilli flakes and lime chilli seasoning, but just a little, because of the kids.

  46. I tried this recipe last night and it was delicious! The only thing that bothered me was that as soon as the 4 hours on high were done, I checked it and the onions were still super crunchy – yuck! So my onions didn’t soften until about 5 hours cooked on high heat. I would suggest to sauté the onions first until they become soft and transparent… then put them in. Topped it off with cheese and plain greek yogurt and voila! Delicious!

    Some of my other modifications:
    -I only used 1 can of tomato sauce and instead used 4 cans of diced tomatoes and 6 cups of veggies stock. I added more diced tomatoes because I love the chunkiness of them. And 6 cups of veggie stock to make up for no beer and no extra tomato sauce. It still came out to be a thick, yummy chili.
    -I used a 4 oz can of diced jalapeños instead of the chipotle chili AND the 4 oz can of diced green peppers (the store was out of those) It came out with just the right flavor and spice

  47. I’ve made this a couple times an d we love it. I used beer once and this time just the veggie broth. It’s watery in the beginning, but I just let it cook down until it’s not watery. My husband, who is a meat eater loves it too. I only Use 3/ 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce instead of what it recommended.

  48. Oops. I didn’t read all the directions and threw it all in the crockpot. Let’s hope the liquid evaporates! Or I may have to put in a big stock pot at the end.

  49. BEST Vegetarian Chili I’ve made to date (and I’ve tried several!) Subbed the farro for 1/4 cup quinoa and 1/4 lentils (aka what I had in my pantry), left out the pepper, and it turned out great. Very chunky too, which I like.

  50. My crockpot was not big enough to hold all the ingredients.
    It bubbled over and leaked all over the kitchen counter. I don’t know how I was supposed to have also fit a cup of beer in there. (I ended up leaving it out.)

    I could not for the life of me find a chipotle chile in adobo sauce, so I used chipotle adobo sauce. Unsure of how much to use, I unloaded most of it, and this chili turned out SPICY. Thankfully, my boyfriend loves extra spicy food.

    Overall, it was a success, but I cannot make the recipe again because it will overflow again, and I can’t find the right chile.