15 High-Protein Vegetarian Chili Recipes

Sneak more produce, beans and legumes into your day with these filling chili recipes.
Image Credit: Westend61/Westend61/GettyImages

Whether or not you follow a plant-based diet, we can all benefit from going meat-free a few times a week. Not to mention, it's a great way to force — er, encourage — yourself to eat more vegetables.

And as we're in the middle of winter, what better way to go meatless than a bowl of hearty chili? Your typical bowl of chili often includes beef, loading it with protein, but there are alternative ways to enjoy protein-rich chili recipes sans the ground meat. That's why we tapped a registered dietitian to get the scoop on plant-based chilis that still pack the protein.

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Keep scrolling for 15 high-protein vegetarian chili recipes that have all the nostalgic flavor we know and love with a vegetable twist.

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1. One-Pot Vegan Chili Mac

Add a twist to traditional chili by tossing in elbow macaroni.
  • 390 calories
  • 19.8 grams of protein

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"Instead of using ground meat, this recipe calls for tempeh, a fermented soy product that's a popular meat replacement," Andrea Mathis, RDN, LD, says. Tempeh contains nutrients like iron, calcium, manganese and phosphorus.

Get the One-Pot Vegan Chili Mac recipe and nutrition info from The Simple Veganista.

2. Vegan Chili Recipe With Beans

This vegan chili is both gluten-free and low-fat.
  • 302 calories
  • 16.6 grams of protein

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To make chili even more satiating, add loads of veggies as this recipe calls for. "Even though this recipe contains a lot of wholesome ingredients, the sodium content is rather high per serving," Mathis says. To reduce the salt content, use no-salt-added or low-sodium beans and broth.

Get the Vegan Chili With Beans recipe and nutrition info from Ela Vegan.

3. Cashew and Pepper Chili

This crunchy, peppery chili only requires three simple ingredients and 10 minutes to make.
Image Credit: Jenna Butler/LIVESTRONG.com
  • 403 calories
  • 19 grams of protein

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This chili recipe comes to the rescue on busy weeknights. The addition of cashews adds protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats, Mathis says. "Cashews are also a good source of copper and magnesium, which is important for energy production and bone health."

Get the Cashew and Pepper Chili recipe and nutrition info here.

4. Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili

For a change of flavor, try adding seasonal produce like butternut squash to a batch of chili.
Image Credit: anakopa/iStock/GettyImages
  • 172 calories
  • 16 grams of protein

This recipe proves that you don't need meat to get a good amount of protein as one serving contains 16 grams. "Butternut squash is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants," Mathis says. And because the black beans add fiber to keep you full, you're sure to be satisfied long after this plant-based bowl.

Get the Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili recipe and nutrition info here.

5. Savory Lentil Chili With Cumin Cream

Not a fan of beans? Make lentils the star of your next chili pot.
Image Credit: Sherry Castellano/LIVESTRONG.com
  • 446 calories
  • 19 grams of protein

"One unique ingredient in this recipe is dark chocolate chips," Mathis says. "Dark chocolate is known for its decadent taste, but it also contains antioxidants, manganese, copper and iron." Not to mention, it adds a novel flavor that makes this chili one-of-a-kind.

Get the Savory Lentil Chili With Cumin Cream recipe and nutrition info here.

6. Cincinnati-Style Veggie Chili Bake

This Ohio-inspired favorite combines two American recipes into one hearty meal.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com
  • 411 calories
  • 21 grams of protein

"The combination of cinnamon and allspice, which comes with impressive benefits," Mathis says. "Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties." Plus, using whole-grain pasta instead of the white variety gives this recipe and protein and fiber boost.

Get the Cincinnati-Style Veggie Chili Bake recipe and nutrition info here.

7. One-Pot Red Lentil Chili

This dump-and-go recipe is ready to serve within one hour.
  • 320 calories
  • 15.9 grams of protein

If you want to increase your fiber intake, Mathis says this chili recipe is a good choice. "It contains two different kinds of beans and lentils that will keep you full and satisfied." She also suggests using avocado oil, which contains heart-healthy oleic acid — a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid.

Get the One-Pot Red Lentil Chili recipe and nutrition info from Minimalist Baker.

8. Spicy Bean Chili

Don't skip sprinkling cinnamon in this recipe. It adds flavor and nutritional benefits.
Image Credit: fahrwasser/adobe Stock
  • 270 calories
  • 17 grams of protein

This bean chili packs in the heat, thanks to jalapenos and chili powder, without overdoing it on the calories. And because this recipe has 17 grams of fiber and protein, you won't find yourself wanting to snack later on in the evening.

Get the Spicy Bean Chili recipe and nutrition info here.

9. Half-Homemade Chili

Canned chili is not only convenient, but filling, too.
Image Credit: Jenna Butler/LIVESTRONG.com
  • 450 calories
  • 20 grams of protein

If you're using canned chili, adding nutrient-dense ingredients like green pepper and cashews helps to add some extra nutrition to a shortcut meal. "To make this recipe heartier, try adding in a few additional veggies like kale, carrots, squash or mushrooms," Mathis suggests.

Get the Half-Homemade Chili recipe and nutrition info here.

10. Winter White Chili

Thanks to the jalapeno and apple juice in this recipe, you'll enjoy the sweet and spicy base.
Image Credit: Brent Hofacker/Adobe Stock
  • 336 calories
  • 17 grams of protein

"This white chili recipe contains several nutritious ingredients such as beans, fresh herbs and 100-percent apple juice," Mathis says.

Get the Winter White Chili recipe and nutrition info here.

11. Easy Three-Bean Chili

This chili is chock-full of so many beans, you won't even notice it's meat-free.
  • 392 calories
  • 22.4 grams of protein

"Including cocoa powder in this recipe provides you with a great source of antioxidants," Mathis says. She also notes that the fat content is at the lower end, which makes this recipe ideal for those wanting to lose weight or watch their overall fat intake.

Get the Easy Three-Bean Chili recipe ​​and nutrition info from The Simple Veganista​​.

12. Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chipotle Chili With Quinoa

Sweet potatoes, quinoa and chipotles are stars of this Southwest-inspired chili.
  • 360 calories
  • 16 grams of protein

Quinoa is the star of this slow cooker recipe. "Quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber and contains all nine essential amino acids," Mathis says. Using canned tomatoes provides you with lycopene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, she adds.

Get the Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chipotle Chili With Quinoa recipe ​​and nutrition info from Dishing Out Health​​.

13. Vegan Beer Chili

Adding a bottle of Mexican beer to this dish gives the broth a unique depth of flavor.
  • 297 calories
  • 17 grams of protein

"This vegan beer chili utilizes several canned ingredients, which is very convenient and cost-effective," Mathis says. "Most people don't realize this, but canned produce is nutritionally comparable to fresh and frozen produce." So, feel free to add even more veggies if you have cans stored away in your pantry.

Get the Vegan Beer Chili recipe ​​and nutrition info from Minimalist Baker​​.

14. Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili

You can whip up a pot of chili on a budget with this recipe that costs less than $5 to make.
  • 369 calories
  • 19.7 grams of protein

This slow cooker recipe makes for a great hot meal after a long day at work (or WFH). To reduce the overall sodium content, Mathis suggests purchasing low-sodium ingredients when preparing this chili. Also, adding fresh herbs is a way to add more flavor without increasing salt levels.

Get the Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Chili recipe ​​and nutrition info from Budget Bytes​​.

15. Slow Cooker Vegan Chili

The combination of black and pinto beans makes this vegan chili super hearty and satiating.
Image Credit: My Nguyen/LIVESTRONG.com
  • 271 calories
  • 17 grams of protein

Including both beans and lentils in this recipe adds a good amount of fiber while keeping it low in fat. To make this a well-rounded meal, try serving with a side of green vegetables like broccoli, spinach or kale or a side salad.

Get the Slow Cooker Vegan Chili recipe and nutrition info here.

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