Vegetarian White Bean Chili

By Alexandra Caspero on January 2, 2021
Vegetarian White Bean Chili! Packed with spice and so much rich flavor, you won't miss the meat!
Serves 6

Vegetarian White Bean Chili! This White Bean Chili recipe is Gluten-Free and easily Vegan! SO much flavor in this one, you won’t miss the meat! First published in 2015 and updated in 2021. 

This vegetarian white bean chili. ❤️ We arrived home from our mini-vacation on Saturday afternoon to 30 degree weather and a slight sprinkle of snow flurries. So, we did what all good California kids now living in the Midwest do; turned on the fireplace, wrapped ourselves in blankets, and ate this chili as we plowed through The Queen’s Gambit. Or, as I like to call it, Netflix and Chili.

Honestly, although I have dozens of chili recipes on my site, this one is my favorite comfort option. A rich and hearty white bean chili topped with sour cream, shredded cheese, scallions, and cilantro. Vegetarian and easily vegan using dairy-free sour cream and cheese options. 

It’s all about the spice profile in this white chili dish, so don’t be tempted to skip a spice or two because I only call for 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon. Honestly, it’s the combination of chili powder, cumin, cloves, and oregano that gives this chili an unexpected warmth and depth.

vegetarian white bean chili

Ingredients You’ll Need for this Vegetarian White Chili Recipe

So, for this healthy recipe, you’ll need the following:

  • 3 large tomatoes, or can sub a can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • Olive oil or other oil, like avocado oil 
  • White onion
  • 1 can mild chopped green chiles, the green chiles make this recipe and I don’t recommend skipping it or subbing in another type of pepper
  • Fresh garlic cloves 
  • Spices, like ground cumin, oregano, cloves, cayenne pepper, chili powder and a little sugar to help offset the heat
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, can use low-sodium vegetable broth if preferred
  • Canned navy beans and cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 

My original recipe calls for fresh chopped tomatoes, though since I usually make this in the dead of winter, I’ve opted for canned tomatoes instead. I included both options in the directions and both ways have been tested and come out great.

The flavor of this chili is from the unique spice mix and canned green chilis. If you like extra heat, like I do, then I highly recommend adding in a little more cayenne pepper. Once the spices have bloomed with the canned white beans and tomatoes, your chili is almost ready to go.


vegetarian white bean chili

Vegetarian White Bean Chili Instructions

To start, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and onion and cook until very tender, about 5 minutes. 

Next, stir in the green chiles, garlic, and dried spices. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook another 10 minutes. Add in the broth, beans, bring to a boil then simmer until thickened, another 15 minutes. 

Lastly, blend 2 cups of the chili in a blender (or use an immersion blender) then add back to the chili. This trick creates a thick, creamy chili without the need for any additional cream like many other white vegetarian white chili recipes.

If you don’t have a blender, then you can use a potato masher to mash some of the beans to create a creamy, silky soup. 

To finish, top your chili with your preferred toppings of choice.

vegetarian white bean chili

What chili toppings are best?

The fact is, toppings are a must. Sure, the white bean chili base is outstanding on its own but the layers of flavor and texture are what makes chili, chili.

So, after scooping out a generous portion into my bowl, I create a chili masterpiece with fresh diced tomatoes, fresh lime juice, shredded cheese, sour cream, and scallions. Chopped red onions, avocado, hot sauce are also highly recommended. For added texture, crushed tortilla chips are fantastic in this chili as well. There’s really no wrong when it comes to topping chili!

How to make this a vegan white bean chili recipe

For a dairy-free white bean chili, I highly recommend Kite Hill‘s sour cream and the shredded cheddar from Violife. I’ve tried so many dairy-free brands over the years, and these two options are my top picks for this recipe.

vegetarian white bean chili

Can you freeze this vegetarian white bean chili?

Yes, you can freeze this chili. Once cooled and placed in freezer-safe containers, it will last in the freezer for 3-4 months. 

And, to make weeknight dinners even easier, I recommend making a double batch of this recipe to enjoy one batch that evening and freeze the remainder for easy dinner in a few months. For more freezer recipes, I recommend these freezer recipes. 

If you love this white chili recipe, you’ll love these other chili recipes:

If you try this vegetarian white bean chili recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

vegetarian white bean chili

Vegetarian White Bean Chili

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x
  • Category: soup, stew, chili, vegan, glutenfree
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Vegetarian White Bean Chili! This White Bean Chili recipe is Gluten-Free and easily Vegan! SO much flavor in this one, you won’t miss the meat!

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x
  • Category: soup, stew, chili, vegan, glutenfree
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x
  • Category: soup, stew, chili, vegan, glutenfree
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • 3 large fresh tomatoes (about 1.5 pounds) OR 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 can (4 ounces) mild chopped green chilies
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • scant 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • Sour Cream (vegan or regular), for topping
  • Shredded Cheese (regular or dairy-free), for topping
  • Sliced scallions, for topping


  1. If using fresh tomatoes, core and coarsely chop tomatoes; set aside.
  2. After that, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then, add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in chilies, garlic, cumin, oregano, sugar, cloves, cayenne pepper, chili powder and tomatoes. Then, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Next, add broth and beans; bring to a low boil, then cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove 2 cups and place in a blender and puree until creamy, then add back to the soup. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to puree a bit of the soup– you want the base to be creamy while still keeping much of the texture with the whole beans.
  6. Season to taste, if needed, with salt and pepper or cayenne for more heat. Stir in the lime juice just before serving.
  7. Finally, top with sour cream, scallions, and shredded cheese.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Christine
      November 24, 2023 AT 5:38 pm

      Hi,how much Red pepper flakes?
      I didn’t see it listed and I’ve made this before…
      You’re Chili is my winter go to warm bowl of goodness in these Midwest Winters .

      Thank you


      1. Alex
        November 27, 2023 AT 8:30 pm

        It’s 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    2. Jeri Edmondson
      July 18, 2023 AT 4:12 pm

      Just made this chili today as I am trying to go plant base diet for health reasons. Only tweek I used was a bit of beef bouillon just to make it seem as though there was some beef in it. Very tasty recipe and im sure it’ll be one i make often. Thank you!

    3. Val B
      December 27, 2022 AT 8:28 pm

      Fantastic! I ate a whole sleeve of crackers with this soup. oops 😉

    4. Kerri
      January 31, 2022 AT 2:46 pm

      I stumbled on this recipe as I’m trying to eat more beans. Love the spice and unique flavors. Will definitely make again.

    5. Currer Belle
      December 30, 2021 AT 5:42 pm

      2nd batch in so far for our LOZ 2021 winter!
      My co-workers loved it!!
      Thank you Alex

      1. Alex
        January 3, 2022 AT 7:44 am

        Love that, thanks Currer!

    6. Adrienne
      August 11, 2021 AT 6:40 pm

      I just made this!! It came out AMAZING! My favorite chili ever! Thank you for the recipe.

    7. Meredith
      February 3, 2021 AT 1:52 pm

      Looking to make this for Super Bowl Sunday but wondering if I could slow cook it in the crock pot to prep other dishes and let it simmer longer. Any suggestion how long I should put on low in crock pot? Ps… dish looks delish btw and looking forward to making it for our close covid pod. 🙂

      1. Alex
        February 4, 2021 AT 2:58 am

        Thanks, Meredith. Yeah– I think the slow cooker would work! Maybe 4-5 hours on low? That’s typically what I do with other soups and it works well!

    8. SK
      March 7, 2018 AT 5:26 pm

      Really yummy! The entire family loved it, and no leftovers. Thx!

      1. Alex
        March 9, 2018 AT 9:57 am

        So glad you liked it! Thanks for the comment.

    9. Krista
      January 8, 2018 AT 6:14 pm

      Made this tonight! It was absolutely amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

      1. Alex
        January 8, 2018 AT 6:22 pm

        Awesome! So glad you liked it!

    10. Lisa
      September 21, 2017 AT 2:23 pm

      If using canned tomatoes instead of 3 large fresh tomatoes what size can do we buy?

      1. Alex
        September 21, 2017 AT 3:47 pm

        Hi Lisa, 5 tomatoes usually equals a 15ounce can, so I’d use 3/4 of a can. But, the nice thing about chili is that it’s super adaptable. You can add more/less if you like!