Easy Vegetarian Chili with Mushrooms

With a well-stocked pantry, this Vegetarian Chili is an easy weeknight meal! Let it simmer while you set the table, unload the dishwasher, or relax on the couch. Loaded with beans, tomatoes, and spices, it's a good one to add to your chili rotation.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings


For the chili:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans (light or dark or a combination), drained

For the toppings:

  • 1 handful cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Lime wedges


1 Prep and begin cooking the mushrooms: Put the mushrooms in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse for about 30 seconds until they are smaller than a pea.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add mushrooms to the pot with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 3/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper.

Cook for about 7 minutes until the mushrooms release some of their liquid and turn a darker color.

How to Make Vegan Chili load the mushrooms into the food processor Vegan Chili with Bulgur Wheat process the mushrooms How to Make Vegan Chili cook the mushrooms

2 Cook the veggies and spices: Add the onion to the food processor (no need to clean) and pulse about 6 to 8 times until the onions are the size of a small dice. Add the onion, along with the chopped green bell pepper, minced jalapeño pepper, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, and cinnamon to the pot.

Cook for about 8 minutes until the onions are translucent and the green peppers just begin to soften. Stir in the brown sugar. Cook for about 1 minute just to incorporate it.

Vegan Chili with Bulgur Wheat process the onions Best Vegan Chili add the peppers

3 Simmer the chili: Add the fire roasted tomatoes (and all their juices), tomato sauce, and three cups of stock or water. Stir to combine.

Cover the pot and bring the chili up to a boil. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes.

Once the chili is boiling, stir in the bulgur, then reduce the heat to medium low. Let the chili simmer for about 12 minutes until the bulgur is cooked through. It should be chewy and tender.

Add the drained beans to the beans and liquid smoke to the pot. Stir to combine. Let it simmer on the stove for about 10 minutes.

How to Make Vegan Chili add the bulgur

4 Season and serve: Stir. Taste, and add salt or pepper as you see fit. Ladle into bowls, and top with the cilantro, red onion and avocado. Serve the lime wedges alongside the bowl.

Vegetarian Chili with Mushrooms