Just in time for the change of seasons! University of Chicago nutritionist Courtney Schuchmann developed this vegan and vegetarian-friendly chili that is perfect on its own as a meal, or used for taco salads, chili dogs, or nachos. It can also be customized for meat lovers and anyone looking to play around with their traditional go-to chili recipe.

Meatless Chili


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, finely chopped (otional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel chili tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder (optional)


  1. Sauté chopped green pepper, onion, and jalapeno in a large saucepan with olive oil until tender (about 5-6 minutes).
  2. Add garlic and cook for one additional minute while actively stirring the contents in the pan.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, Rotel chili tomatoes, beans, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  4. Cover pot with lid, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes.

When purchasing any canned goods such as crushed tomatoes, tomato sauces, or beans, try selecting low-sodium versions when available, as traditional canned products are typically very high in sodium.

Feel free to swap out the beans listed with cannellini (white), pinto, great northern, or navy beans, to change the flavor profile of the dish.

For individuals looking for a meat-based chili try browning lean ground turkey, chicken, or beef in the sauté pan prior to adding in the onions and peppers in this recipe.

To further simplify this recipe use a Crockpot or Instapot and allow the dish to cook for hours on low heat.


Nutrition Insight

  • A half cup serving of beans provides between 6-8 grams of fiber. The recommended daily fiber intake is 25-30 grams of fiber per day. Beans are also a great source of plant-based protein for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone interested in incorporating more meatless meals.
  • Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
  • Chili is a versatile dish and you can easily change the flavor and nutritional profile of the dish by adding a variety of chopped vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, corn, zucchini, or sweet potato as well as playing around with fresh and dried herbs.

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