Smoky Vegetarian Chili Recipe with Pinto Beans and Corn

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A fabulous bowl of vegetarian chili can be yours in 30 minutes. We love to serve it with our Proud Yankee Cornbread Muffins.

Smoky Vegetarian Chili with Pinto Beans and Corn- 780 | Umami Girl-2


If you leave off the cheese and sour cream toppings or substitute vegan versions, this chili is vegan. It’s also gluten-free, in case you’re into that sort of thing. 

Easy vegetarian chili

Hooray for chili season. There’s nothing like a 30-minute dinner (or week of lunches) that’s as good for you as it is warming and wonderful.

This smoky vegetarian chili recipe gets its deep flavor from lightly browned vegetables, tomato paste and sweet smoked paprika, so you can cook it up in a flash without sacrificing one ounce of authenticity. And not that anyone’s counting, but it’s gluten-free and also vegan if you opt out of the cheese and sour cream. 

So. Now that dinner’s taken care of, what will you do with your time? Get a lot done. Shop for presents. Do a little dance. Volunteer. Take a nap! Whatever works. No matter what, there will be chili.

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Smoky Vegetarian Chili with Pinto Beans and Corn

A quick, easy and satisfying dinner that's also great for a small crowd or to take for lunch as leftovers. It's gluten-free, if you're into that sort of thing, and vegan if you don't top it with cheese and sour cream. Great with cornbread muffins and a simple salad.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves Serves 6


For the chili

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 large carrot, diced small
  • 2 medium stalks celery, diced small
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided (see note in directions)
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 cups good vegetable broth
  • 26 ounces chopped tomatoes
  • 4 15.5-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10 ounces frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

To serve

  • Shredded sharp cheddar or jack cheese (optional)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Minced red onion
  • Sour cream, regular or vegan, optional


  1. In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven or similar heavy pot, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, green pepper, carrot, celery and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring only occasionally, until vegetables are beginning to be tender and browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for one minute.
  3. Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and paprika and cook, stirring, one minute more.
  4. Stir in broth and tomatoes (with all their juices), along with an additional teaspoon salt if your beans are unsalted or low-sodium. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Sauce should be nice and thick.
  5. Add beans and corn (straight from frozen is fine) and simmer until warmed through.
  6. Off the heat, stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve with shredded cheese, avocado, red onion and sour cream if you like.


Chili powder means the American spice blend, not pure ground chilis.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 487 Total Fat:: 9.1g Carbohydrates:: 83.7g Fiber:: 24.6g Protein:: 24.4g

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