This vegetarian chili has been a life saver since we decided to restore a 100 year old house and call it home. Our weekends are dedicated to DIY’ing our way through almost everything you could imagine...from hand-digging the ditch for new drainage, pouring concrete, patching walls, painting...so much painting. The process is very exciting (and also exhausting). But we’re lucky to have a constant stream of family and friends coming through the house to help. Which means a lot of mouths to feed at lunchtime. And very little time to cook it.
We aren’t kidding when we say this is THE “Easiest” chili. All you need to do is: chop up veggies, measure out dried beans, toss everything into the Instant Pot®, seal it, and let it do it’s thing. No need for soaking beans. No need to bother with a saute step. It’s really almost as easy as “set it and forget it”. Thanks to a slew of spices & flavor-bombs, anyone who takes a bite of the chili will think it’s been simmering on the stove for hours.
Chili is notorious for having a long list of ingredients. While we wish there’s a way to have a mind-blowing “10 ingredient or less” chili, the reality is that each of the ingredients in this recipe add a special something-something. Luckily, you can find everything in a basic grocery store. This recipe is oil-free and all the ingredients cook at once. So to really build up the flavor, we use umami-packed ingredients like fire-roasted canned tomatoes, tomato paste and tamari. Chipotle peppers and adobo sauce also help give this chili a smoky, ever-so-slightly spicy flavor. You can find cans of “Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce” in the Mexican section of your grocery store. Do yourself a favor and keep extras on hand in your pantry. You’ll be surprised how versatile it is: use it to make a yummy 2-Ingredient Chipotle Mayo, Smoky Mushroom Tacos or Chipotle Black Bean Burgers.
The step at the end of blending some of the cooked chili, and then mixing it back into the pot, is entirely optional. But we like to do this because it further thickens the chili, making it seem like it’s been bubbling away for hours. And after all, given how easy it was to throw together, it feels like it’s the least we can do! Serve the chili piping hot and with whatever toppings your heart desires. When serving a crowd, we usually put the “extras” (like cheese, green onions, cilantro, sour cream, crispy tortilla) into little dishes and let everyone pick their own toppings. It’s fun - and that way everyone can tailor it to their own taste. Going vegan? Skip the cheese and sour cream. Don’t like fresh cilantro? Skip it. Easy peasy. This recipe makes a big batch of chili, so if you’re cooking for just yourself, don’t be deterred. It freezes beautifully and can be defrosted in the fridge or directly on the stove over low heat.
We hope you give this easy Vegetarian Chili a try. And we’d love to hear if you love it as much as we do!
Easy Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
- 1 cup dried black beans (rinsed, see note 1)
- ¾ cup dried pinto beans (rinsed, see note 1)
- 1 yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 sweet potato, diced (see note 2)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle pepper, minced + 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can, see note 3)
- 3 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce or liquid aminos)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 3½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 (28 fl oz/796 ml) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (see note 4)
- 2 cups frozen corn
- Avocado, thinly sliced (optional)
- Scallions/green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
- Tortilla chips (optional)
- Shredded cheddar cheese (optional, see note 5)
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt (optional, see note 5)
- Combine: In an Instant Pot, combine black beans, pinto beans, onion, sweet potato, bell pepper, carrot, garlic, minced chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, tamari, tomato paste, cumin, oregano, and coriander. Pour in broth and tomatoes. Stir to mix.
- Pressure cook: Seal, adjust manual setting to “high pressure” and pressure cook for 45 minutes. Once cooked, quick-release the pressure (see note 6).
- Finish chili: Stir in frozen corn. To thicken chili, scoop out about 2 cups of the chili and transfer to the blender. Blend until the mixture breaks down (stop just before its a complete puree). Pour mixture back into Instant Pot and stir well to combine. Ladle into bowls and top with garnishes of your choice.
- Beans: If you prefer, you can just use black beans or pinto beans. Just substitute an equal amount so that you're using 1¾ cups dried beans total.
- Sweet potato: No need to peel the sweet potato, unless you want to.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: This product is sold in small cans, typically near other Mexican ingredients. For this recipe, you need both 1 chipotle pepper and 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce, both from the same can. Extra peppers and sauce can either be refrigerated, or freeze for longer storage.
- Diced tomatoes: Use fire-roasted diced tomatoes if you can get them, because they add depth of flavor and subtle smokiness. If you can't find 1 (28 fl oz/796 ml) cans, use 2 (14 fl oz/398 ml) cans instead. In a pinch, you could use standard canned diced tomatoes instead of fire-roasted.
- Vegan option: The chili itself is vegan, so just stick to vegan toppings and you're all good! Use a vegan shredded cheddar cheese, vegan sour cream, or omit.
- Cooking beans: The amount of time to cook dried beans varies based on the type of bean - and also other factors, including how old the beans are. If your beans aren't cooked after 45 minutes, reseal the Instant Pot and add extra time until they are cooked to your liking.
- Storage tips: Refrigerate leftover chili or freeze. Reheat chili, covered with a lid, on the stove top over medium heat. You may wish to thin leftover chili with a bit of vegetable stock or water.