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4.19 from 11 votes

Healthy Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Easy, hearty and delicious vegetarian chili made with bulgur, a quick-cooking form of whole wheat, that provides a satisfying chewy texture. It's my favorite vegetarian chili of the moment.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 6
Calories: 293
Author: Martha | Simple Nourished Living


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (I sometimes use smoked paprika)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup bulgur, preferably coarse
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cans (15 ounces each) beans (kidney, black, pinto or any combination), rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Put a large soup pot on medium heat and add the oil.
  • Add the onions, garlic, and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened. This should take about 10 minutes. 
  • Stir in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne, bay leaves and bulgur. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans, soy sauce, water, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often so the ingredients don't stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Before serving, taste and add more salt, pepper and/or cayenne if needed.

Recipe Notes

Vegetarian Chili Additions & Variations
This recipe can be adapted and modified in lots of ways to suit your preferences. Here are a few ideas:
Spicier: Increase cayenne pepper or add fresh chiles with the onion, garlic and bell pepper. You could also stir in a little chipotle chile in adobo.
Fresher/Zestier: Finishing off the chili with a little splash of vinegar and fresh cilantro will make it taste super fresh.
Thicker: When done blend a small portion of the chili to give it more body.
Bulk it Up: Add more vegetables. chopped zucchini, sweet potato, butternut squash, or corn would all be good.
Serving size: 1-1/2 cups
6 *SmartPoints (Green plan)
2 *SmartPoints (Blue plan)
1 *SmartPoints (Purple plan)
6 *PointsPlus (Old plan)
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Vegetarian Chili Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 -1/2 cups)
Calories 293 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 19g76%
Protein 15g30%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili without meat, light chili recipe, vegan chili