This slow cooker vegetarian chili uses beans and quinoa for a high-protein plant-based meal. Easy to make, packed with flavor – you'll never miss the meat!
For someone who works full time and doesn't get home until dinner time – or even for the stay-at-home mom whose day is consumed with running after kids, shuttling them to and from school and sports – a slow cooker is a saving grace.
It affords you to opportunity to make a fabulous meal, that is ready to serve the moment you get home. You don't have to worry about cooking an elaborate meal or spending even more of your energy in the kitchen. Just dump everything in, give it a quick stir and walk away. One-pot does it all for you. It's almost like having an extra set of hands in the kitchen.
I pretty much exclusively use my slow cooker for soups and stews. I need to branch out, but they're tried and true. And this cute little Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili is the perfect way to do that!
How to Make Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
Making chili in the slow cooker is super simple. Just like most other slow cooker meals, it's a dump and forget situation.
I don't even really think it matters what order you but your ingredients in. As long as you give it a good stir, you're pretty much good to go.
Here's what how I make slow cooker chili:
- veggies first
- then canned ingredients
- next the spices
- next the quinoa
- finally the broth/liquid
Give it a stir, turn it on, cover it up and ta-ta for now. See ya in 6 hours, baby!
A Super Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe
I've made my fair share of chili, but have yet to share just like my go-to staple chili recipe. And this slow cooker vegetarian chili is it. It's a no-frills recipe. It has all the classic ingredients you'd find in chili, just sans the meat.
And it's so darn delicious!
But me being me, I do add just a touch of flair to amp up the flavor and make the texture perfect. We're looking for a chili that even the biggest of meat-eaters will love.
Here's how we changing things up:
- fire-roasted diced tomatoes: these are juicy, but add a touch of smokiness
- chili bean mix: for the easiness factor
- quinoa: because it adds a nice texture that acts kind of like ground beef
- smoked paprika: more flavor, more smokiness, totally delicious
Otherwise, you'll pretty much see the classic ingredient list. And you know what? Why mess with a good thing when it's good already?
The Secret to Awesome Vegetarian Chili
My secret to awesome vegetarian chili is one simple thing: quinoa.
Quinoa is the answer to a lot of things, but it's especially perfect for chili. Because when you cook it in the slow cooker or add it to a stew, it has a very similar texture to meat.
And I know a lot of my readers are following a plant-based diet personally, but don't live with people who eat the same way. If you've got a beef (or turkey) chili lover at home, try this method. Make the exact same recipe that you would with the beef, swap the beef with quinoa, add a few extra beans, and see what happens.
While they might not be fooled completely, I think they'll be pretty darn happy with the result!
What to Serve with Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
One of the things that makes chili a fun meal is the toppings. If I'm serving chili at home, I keep things pretty simple, but if I'm serving it to a crowd, I love having a chili bar set up so that everyone can make their own topping combos.
Here's what I'd include in a chili bar:
- fresh jalapeno
- coconut yogurt (or vegan sour cream)
- corn chips (or pumpkin cornbread)
- green onions
And maybe some hot sauce on the side. These bowls have pretty much all of the above and they were absolutely scrumptious!
You really can't go wrong with chili and as we're entering into colder months (and football season), this slow cooker vegetarian chili is going to be a savior. Healthy, high in protein, full of fiber, delicious and easy to make. It's a win all around!
More Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipes to try:
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Quinoa Chili
- Instant Pot Lentil Chili
- Slow Cooker White Quinoa Chili
- Crockpot Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quinoa Chili
- Three Alarm Vegetarian Quinoa Chili
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (15 oz) cans chili beans
- 1 (28 oz) can Fire Roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 - 2 teaspoons salt more or less to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes more or less to taste
- 1/3 cup quinoa (any variety)
- 3 cups vegetable broth or water
- Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and turn on high. After 2 - 3 hours, turn the crockpot down to low and keep covered for another 4 - 6 hours. (Alternately, you could just leave the slow cooker on low for 8 hours).
- Before you're ready to serve, remove the lid and turn back to high for another 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed!