This hearty, healthy Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili is a great weeknight dinner, with tons of fiber and protein. Also included are directions for slow cooker and stovetop.
This Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili recipe is one of the first meals I made in my Instant Pot. The pressure cooker sat in the box for close to a year before I pulled it out. Once I made this easy vegan chili, I wondered what had taken me so long.
If you have an electric pressure cooker, you know that soups cook in a matter of minutes. Chicken is so tender it practically falls apart as though it’s been cooking in a slow cooker all day long. Try my Hoisin Instant Pot Chicken Breasts or Easy Shredded Chicken.
And chili? It tastes as though it’s been simmering on the stovetop for several hours.
No need to worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot. I also included directions for cooking this chili in the slow cooker and on the stovetop.
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Ingredients for Instant Pot Veggie Chili:
These are the main items you need for this recipe…
- BEANS: I use a mixture of canned beans for this recipe – black beans, red kidney beans and cannellini or Great Northern beans. Be sure to rinse and drain well in a sieve or colander.
- AROMATICS: Yellow onion and garlic cloves.
- OLIVE OIL: A couple of teaspoons of olive oil to sauté the garlic and onion. If you are following an oil-free diet, use a tablespoon or so of water instead.
- SPICES: Use chili powder, dried oregano and ground cumin. All of these can be purchased in any well-stocked grocery store or online. And yep, the recipe is supposed to read ¼ cup chili powder. I promise that it’s just the right amount!😊
- BROTH: I use low-sodium vegetable broth, which is both vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Chicken broth can be used in a pinch (obviously neither vegetarian nor vegan).
- TOMATOES: Once large can (28 ounces) of crushed tomatoes.
- TOMATO PASTE: One tablespoon of tomato paste. Instead of opening a 6-ounce can, buy a tube of tomato paste that can be stored in the fridge and used as needed.
- CHIPOTLE PEPPER: Cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found in the international aisle of most well-stocked grocery stores or online. You’ll need one of the peppers and a teaspoon of the adobo sauce.
- GARNISH: Optional – Sprinkle each serving with chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley. Other optional garnishes are green onions, sour cream or Greek yogurt, grated cheese and guacamole or chopped avocado.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
How to make Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili:
NOTE 1: Remember that the Instant Pot takes some time to reach the specified pressure. The more ingredients that are in the pot and the colder they are, the longer it will take to pressurize. I included the approximate pressurization time in the total cooking time in the recipe below so that you can plan your dinner prep properly.
***NOTE 2: If you have a newer Instant Pot, please see the “Important Note” below about layering the ingredients.***
NOTE 3: Instructions for cooking this chili on the stovetop or in a slow cooker are included in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
SAUTÉ: Press the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot. Let it heat for a minute and add the olive oil and onions. If using water instead of olive oil, add it now. The onions should be translucent and soft. That should take about 5 minutes.
SPICES & TOMATO PASTE: Stir in the minced garlic and the spices. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute (stir, stir, stir!)
ADD THE REST: Add the broth, crushed tomatoes, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, all of the beans and salt. See the IMPORTANT NOTE just above the recipe for stirring/no stirring directions.
SEAL THE INSTANT POT: Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set the steam valve to Seal. Use High Pressure ((or Manual - then choose High - on the older Instant Pots) and set the time to 10 minutes.
PRESSURE RELEASE: Once the cook time expires, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then do quick release. Be careful – there will still be a lot of steam released!
GARNISH: Stir in the cilantro or parsley. Or garnish with sour cream, avocado and/or grated cheese. Serve it up!
Can vegetarian chili be frozen?
Chlii freezes really well, which is why I always make a double batch when making this recipe or my favorite turkey chili. It’s great to have on hand for last-minute dinners.
Allow the chili to cool, then transfer to freezer proof containers. Cover and freeze for 4 to 6 months.
Or use freezer ziplock bags. Lay the filled bags flat on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, they can be store flat or upright (like books on a shelf).
What to serve with vegetarian bean chili:
If you want to keep this meal vegan, find dairy-free versions of yogurt or cheese to dollop and sprinkle on top. We also like to garnish with some minced cilantro.
We typically serve chili with a green salad, such as Apple Pecan Salad or healthy slaw to work in some extra veggies. Cornbread fans in the house? Make a double batch of cornbread muffins and freeze the extras to serve with another chili meal.
Both kids and adults love to dip or crumble tortilla chips into the chili.
MORE INFO ABOUT CHIPOTLE PEPPERS:
Chipotle peppers, which are smoked, dried jalapeno peppers, are sold in cans, along with some wonderfully smoky adobo sauce. I typically remove the seeds and membranes from the chipotles. But if you like a 5-alarm chili, feel free to leave them in. For the leftovers peppers, see How to Freeze Chipotle Peppers.
If you have one of the newer Instant Pot models, they tend to display the "Burn" warning much more readily than the older versions. If you have this model, modify Step 2 of the recipe directions slightly. Add the vegetable broth and stir with the previous ingredients. Then add the crushed tomatoes, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, all of the beans and salt. DO NOT STIR until after cooking.
Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili Recipe
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 ¾ cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 chipotle pepper seeded & minced (sold in can)
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from chipotle pepper can
- 2 14 ounce each cans of black beans (reduced sodium), drained & rinsed
- 2 14 ounce each cans red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 14 ounce can of cannellini or Great Northern beans (reduced sodium), drained & rinsed
- ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley if desired
For Instant Pot:
- Set Instant Pot to saute setting. Add the olive oil and allow to heat for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, oregano and cumin, and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Add the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, black beans, red kidney beans, cannellini beans and salt, and stir to combine. (***See important Note below!***)
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot, close the steam vent and set to HIGH pressure using the manual setting. Decrease the time to 10 minutes.
- Once the time is expired, wait for 5 minutes, then carefully use the quick release valve to release the steam. Stir in the cilantro or parsley. Serve.
For The Slow Cooker:
- Heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, oregano and cumin, and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker, and stir in the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, all of the beans and the salt.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Stir in cilantro or parsley, if desired. Serve.
For The Stovetop:
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, oregano and cumin, and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Add the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, all of the beans and salt, and stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Simmer longer if you would prefer the chili to be thicker.
- Stir in cilantro or parsley, if desired. Serve.
This post was originally published on January 10, 2017 and updated on September 22, 2022.
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