two blue bowls full of hearty southwestern vegetarian chili, one topped with tortilla strips, shredded cheese, cubed avocado, cilantro and sour cream + chips and poblano peppers on a gray backdrop
Dinner, Soups, Vegetarian

Hearty Southwestern Vegetarian Chili

3 comments This post may contain affiliate links. TastesJustLikeAMemory may receive commission on these purchases. Thank you for supporting the blog by getting cooking with products we love!

This hearty vegetarian chili is packed full of bold Southwestern flavors. Poblano peppers and plantains give the chili a unique flare, and I guarantee you won’t miss the meat! This is some seriously flavorful soup, and may just be my new go-to chili recipe. We have been trying to eat less meat around our house, and have had this vegetarian chili twice in the last two weeks.

Tastes Just Like A Camping Trip

Chili has been a staple for us over the years on some of our best overnight camping trips. We have filled our thermoses with the hearty soup on several backpacking trips, and even carted the whole Dutch oven with us on our car camping trips. Chili really is a perfect food for camping. A little goes a long way for satisfying hunger, it is easy to reheat over the fire, and it will warm you right up on a cooler evening. One bite of chili transports me straight to a brisk, dark night under the stars. It brings memories of nervous, headlamp lit walks to ice cold creeks for bowl cleaning after dinner. I always feel such an interesting blend of fear and peace alone at a creek in the backwoods. I turn off my headlamp for a few minutes and fight the urge to run back toward the campfire. It is hard to describe, but being in that space makes me feel so alive and fulfilled. Some alone time in the woods is long overdue.

Back to This Chili…

Why Add Masa Harina (corn flour)?

The corn flour helps to create a nice thick consistency throughout. It isn’t absolutely necessary, but it really amps up the heartiness of this vegetarian chili. Yellow corn meal is a great substitute. You just want to make sure it is finely ground.

It’s All About the Toppings…

This is a delicious bowl of chili on it’s own no question, but can we all agree when it comes to chili, it is all about the toppings! Please, please don’t forget to pile your bowl high with all your favorite add-ons. I think the number one MOST IMPORTANT addition has to be sour cream. The richness mellows out the acidity from the tomatoes and creates a perfectly balanced bite. Load up with a mountain of shredded Monterey jack cheese, big chunks of fresh avocado, cilantro, tortilla strips, fresh jalapeño (if you’re feeling really wild). Just go crazy. The more the better. Always. With chili toppings.

A Little Something on the Side…

I don’t know about you, but I love to crumble up some fresh cornbread in my chili or eat it on the side. Check out my Southern Honey Cornbread recipe to serve alongside this chili.

Other Great Soups To Warm Up With This Winter:

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
two blue bowls full of hearty southwestern vegetarian chili, one topped with tortilla strips, shredded cheese, cubed avocado, cilantro and sour cream + chips and poblano peppers on a gray backdrop

Hearty Southwestern Vegetarian Chili

  • Author: Katelyn
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


This hearty vegetarian chili is packed full of bold Southwestern flavors! Poblano peppers and plantain give the chili extra flare, and I promise you will NOT miss the meat! Such a healthy, easy meal for any occasion, and tastes amazing!




  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (any cooking oil you have on hand is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small diced
  • 4 large poblano peppers, medium diced
  • 1 bell pepper, medium diced (whatever color you prefer)
  • 1 ripe plantain, cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 14 ounce can mild diced green chiles
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 128 ounce can crushed tomatoes (pureed tomatoes will also work)
  • 112 ounce beer (preferably a lager style)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 115.5 ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 115.5 ounce can chili beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar


  • sour cream
  • shredded Monterey jack cheese 
  • cilantro
  • ripe avocado, cubed
  • tortilla strips
  • fresh jalapeños, cut into rounds (optional for extra heat!, caution this chili is already moderately spicy)


  1. Heat grapeseed oil and butter over medium heat in large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven. 
  2. Add diced onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add poblano peppers, bell pepper, plantain, frozen corn, green chiles and kosher salt and cook until vegetables are softened, an additional 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic and cook for an additional minute. 
  5. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, beer, bay leaf, canned beans, sugar and turn up the heat to bring to a simmer. 
  6. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove bay leaf, transfer chili to bowls and garnish with your favorite chili toppings!


  • This chili is moderately spicy. You can substitute one or more bell peppers for the poblanos to tone things down. 
  • Feel free to substitute vegetable stock if you prefer not to use beer!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Category: Soups
  • Method: Simmered
  • Cuisine: Southwestern

Keywords: vegetarian, chili, poblano peppers

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes


  1. Pingback: Vegetarian Beef Bourguignon (Dutch Oven Recipe) - Tastes Just Like A Memory

  2. We enjoyed this very healthy and tasty vegetarian option for chili. Loved all the different spices in the recipe that really boosted the flavor. I would cut back on the coriander next time and use lager rather than an IPA (all we had in stock!).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Recipe rating