veggie chili in bowl

Quick Vegetarian Chili over Rice

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We are big fans of chili. My mom has a fabulous recipe that we have been making for years. Of course, her recipe takes lots of time and effort, so it’s not realistically something we can whip up on a weeknight.

No Need for the Slow cooker!

This week, we decided to make a quick vegetarian chili that is equally (or almost!) as delicious as our mom’s chili….in under 28 minutes. And I’m glad to report: we succeeded! The chili was just as flavorful as a chili that cooked all day long. This dish was a huge hit with my husband AND kids, probably because it was so tomato-and carrot-heavy (two of our favorite veggies!). And the best part of all is that my daughter did 80% of the prep on her own!

child holding tomatoes in strainer

child holding carrot

Chop, chop, chop!

The most time-consuming part of this meal is the chopping. I recommend enlisting one of your kiddos to help with the chopping to speed up the process. My daughter peeled and chopped all of the veggies and had a blast doing it (we’re big fans of these Curious Chef kid-safe knives). Once the veggies are prepped, the rest is pretty straightforward. Seriously, enlist your kids to help make this a truly quick vegetarian chili!

Note: If you are truly strapped for time, you can buy canned tomatoes to cut down on the chopping.

Beans Galore!

We used THREE kinds of beans, which I think made the meal more interesting and colorful. In fact, with all the differently colored veggies in this dish, the meal really came out quite beautiful! It’s easy to forget just how much nutrition beans can add to a meal. Fun facts: Beans are so nutritious that they’re classified as both a vegetable AND a protein. They are rich in fiber, packed with protein, and provide other key nutrients such as folate, potassium, iron and zinc.

Rice as an option

We opted to serve our chili over rice, but this is totally up to you. We like to give our kids this option of having some sort of starch with their meal, and we like the way the rice absorbs the chili’s flavors. If you’d prefer to omit the rice, another great option would be to serve the chili topped with tortilla chips (we love Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips), or with chips on the side for dipping. My sister made cornbread with the chili, and her kids loved that. She loves Bob’s Red Mill, and they have regular and gluten-free cornbread mixes.

Veggie Chili in Bowl1


Have picky eaters?

    🍅Swap the veggies. Try exchanging some veggies in the dish for ones your kids prefer. Or increase/decrease veggies in the recipe.

    🍅Add meat! This is a vegetarian dish, but you can certainly add meat to this meal. Ground beef, turkey or chicken would be great options.

    🍅Tortilla chips instead of rice. While we like to serve our chili over rice, you can certainly omit the rice. Consider crumbling tortillas chips on top of your chili.


Make the meal fit your dietary lifestyle!

    🍅Make it Vegan! Just ditch the sour cream and cheese. Maybe add a sprinkling of nutritional yeast for extra flavor.

    🍅Make it Dairy Free! Just ditch the sour cream and cheese. Maybe add a sprinkling of nutritional yeast for extra flavor.

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Quick Vegetarian Chili over Rice
Total Time
28 mins
Servings: 4
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small-medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (peeled & finely chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cup corn (frozen)
  • 15 oz can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 15 oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 15 oz can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 T chili powder
  • 1 1/2 T cumin
  • 2 t oregano
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups instant rice
  • cheddar cheese (shredded, for serving)
  • sour cream (for serving)
  • cilantro (for serving)
  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add onion, pepper, carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté for 3-5 minutes.

  2. Add broth, tomatoes, corn, beans, tomato paste, and spices. Bring mixture to a boil and boil lightly (slightly more than a simmer) for 12-15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, cook instant rice according to package. Serve chili over rice topped with cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.


Serve chili over rice topped with cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.

We recommend that all meals for children be served with milk.

veggie chili in bowl

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