Easy, creamy, and just the right amount of spicy, this vegetarian white bean chili is a meatless meal that’s ready in 30 minutes! It’s made with navy beans and pinto beans with plenty of room to substitute other options to customize your chili.
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It’s about time I posted a chili recipe to the blog, don’t ya think?! I’ve really been craving chili this winter…served with cornbread of course! That’s what inspired me to make this vegetarian white bean chili. Well, that and the upcoming Super Bowl.
There’s a lot to love about this recipe. First, it’s really easy to make. You just need to chop some veggies, open cans, and measure out a few spices. Everything simmers in one pot, and you can enjoy it after just 15 minutes of simmering or choose to simmer it for longer to make it thicker.
It’s also very flavorful and creamy. I was disappointed when we ran out of the leftovers! I think it’s definitely going to be part of our regular routine.
If you love white chili like me but are looking for a meatless version that’s still flavorful and creamy, you have to try this recipe! Make it for a big game, a weeknight meal, or as part of meal prep.
How to Make Vegetarian White Bean Chili
Like I said, this recipe is very easy. Here’s a preview of the steps, with the full recipe card and instructions at the bottom of the post!
- Prep the ingredients. Chop the veggies, gather the seasonings, and open the cans.
- Cook the veggies in olive oil and seasonings.
- Add the beans, chiles, and vegetable broth.
- Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the sour cream (following my tips for getting it warm before adding to the chili).
Expert Tips and FAQ
- Beans: I use a mix of canned pinto beans and navy beans for this chili. Consider using my Instant Pot Pinto Beans if you have some on hand! You can also substitute Cannellini or Great Northern beans if desired. Sure, pinto beans are technically pink/brown and not “white” beans, but I think they add delicious taste and texture in combination with the navy beans so that’s why I use them.
- Adding sour cream to hot chili: If you add cold sour cream directly to the pot of chili, it will get slightly grainy. To get a smooth, creamy texture instead, place the sour cream in a small bowl and add a couple tablespoons of the chili broth. Stir well, continuing to add broth in small amounts, until the sour cream is warm. Then, add it to the pot.
- Adjusting the spice level: I use a jalapeno, a 4-ounce can of mild green chiles, and some cayenne pepper to make this a fairly spicy vegetarian white bean chili. If you want less spice, skip the cayenne and/or another hot ingredient. For more spice, use a second jalapeno and more cayenne and/or opt for hot green chiles instead.
- Serving ideas: Some great chili toppings include tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, tortilla chips, jalapeno slices, more sour cream, and shredded cheese. This chili also tastes amazing with cornbread! I made someone else’s recipe for a jalapeno cornbread to serve with it. I highly recommend doing the same. I’m working on a cornbread recipe for the future but don’t have one on here yet. If you wanted to bulk up the chili and add some shredded chicken, feel free, but I find it very filling and tasty with just the beans.
- Leftovers and reheating: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until warmed through.
Can you freeze vegetarian white chili?
Yes, you can freeze this recipe even with the sour cream mixed into it. Let it cool completely then transfer to airtight containers. For best results, enjoy within a few months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating or just reheat from frozen in a saucepan with a lid. Stir frequently to prevent scorching.
Are white bean chilis good for you?
Vegetarian white bean chili is very nutritious! The navy and pinto beans are high in fiber and protein, making them very filling. Beans are also loaded with nutrients like folate, iron, and potassium.
More Healthy Bean Recipes
If you love this meatless white chili, you should check out these other recipes featuring beans and legumes:
- Lentil Tortilla Soup
- Vegetarian Taco Casserole with Quinoa
- Roasted Chickpea Salad with Herb Yogurt Dressing
- Mango Corn Salsa with Black Beans
- Slow Cooker Black Beans with Scallions
I’d love to hear how you like this recipe! Rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and follow the Veg World on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
Vegetarian White Bean Chili
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 white onion - diced
- 1 jalapeno - seeded and finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt - more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 4-ounce can green chiles
- 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can navy beans - drained and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup sour cream - more for serving
- Toppings - cilantro, lime, avocado, tomatoes, shredded cheese, jalapeno, onions, or tortilla chips
- Warm the olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the onion and jalapeno and cook for a few minutes until tender. Stir in the garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and cayenne pepper and cook for one more minute until fragrant. Stir the veggies in the cornstarch until coated.
- Add the green chiles, drained and rinsed pinto and navy beans, and vegetable broth to the pot. Increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a rapid simmer. Let the chili simmer for 15 minutes until thickened. You can use 3 cups instead of 4 cups broth and/or simmer it for longer if you want it to be thicker.
- A few minutes before the chili is finished, prepare the sour cream. Place it in a small bowl and add a couple tablespoons of the chili broth. Mix the broth into the sour cream, adding a few more spoonfuls of broth one at a time, until the sour cream is warm. Then, stir this mixture into the chili. This prevents you from adding cold sour cream to hot chili which can cause it to get grainy or lose its creaminess.
- Serve the chili with toppings of choice: cilantro, lime juice, tortilla chips, avocado, cheese, more sour cream, onions, jalapeno, or tomatoes. It also goes great with cornbread!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post).
- Substitutions or additions: You can sub Great Northern or Cannellini beans or use my Instant Pot Pinto Beans in place of canned ones if desired. For less spice, omit the jalapeno or cayenne pepper and choose mild green chiles over hot ones. For more spice, add a second jalapeno, increase the cayenne, and/or choose hot green chiles. You can also add shredded chicken if desired.
- Leftovers, freezing, and reheating: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a saucepan until warmed through. To freeze the chili, let it cool completely then transfer to airtight containers. Store in the freezer and enjoy within a few months for best results. You can reheat the chili from frozen in a saucepan with a lid (stir it frequently to prevent scorching) or let it thaw overnight in the fridge.
Enjoy your chili! – Lizzie