Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Smoky Brown Sugar & Lime
This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Smoky Brown Sugar & Lime is packed full of beans, spices, and vegetables. It develops a deeply flavorful profile after sitting in the slow cooker for a few hours.In a hurry? Jump to the recipe!
And just like that, we are moving on from warm weather recipes to cool weather ones! I don’t know about you but I am SOOOO stoked for fall (my favorite season) – I find the heat to be even harder to manage than the cold because at least when it’s cold out I can warm up by cooking in the kitchen. All this is to say that I haven’t been too motivated in my kitchen over the past few weeks but the hint of cool is getting me inspired.
If you are a regular around here then you know I’m a big chili fan. My all time most viewed recipe on my site is actually my White Bean Chili recipe. I also have a vegan Red Bean Chili with Smoky Cashew recipe, a vegan chili mac recipe, and even a chili recipe you can make over the open fire!
Since I’ve been spending a ton of time at home because of the pandemic, I decided I wanted to create a slow cooker vegetarian chili recipe that I could prep during lunch and would be ready by the time I wrapped up with my laptop work at 6. Letting the chili slow cook not only allows me to prep everything ahead of time but also helps the chili to develop it’s flavors deeper and really season the beans through. I add a few tablespoons of brown sugar to even out the heat from the chili powder and then finish it all with a healthy squirt of lime juice to brighten it up.
In addition to the ease of this recipe, my other favorite part is the endless options you have for toppings! Depending on your mood and what you have on hand, anything from chopped chives to diced avocado to tortilla chips work great as topping choices. Oh and when I say this recipe is vegetarian, it’s actually vegan! To keep it vegan, just make sure to skip adding sour cream or cheese as a topping.
This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Smoky Brown Sugar & Lime is packing full of beans, spices, and vegetables and develops a deep flavorful profile after sitting in the slow cooker for a few hours.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 red onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 15 oz can of black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can of red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can of pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 1/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth, divided
- 1/2 tsp salt (+ to taste)
- dash of black pepper
- 2 Tbsp lime juice + lime zest (from 1 lime)
- Optional toppings: sour cream, avocado, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, hot sauce, chopped chives, chopped cilantro leaves, sliced jalapeño pieces (fresh or pickled)
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper pieces and sauté until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds or until the garlic is very fragrant.
Add the chili powder, brown sugar, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne, stirring to coat the vegetables with the spices, and sauté for 30 seconds more. Pour in 1/2 cup vegetable broth and use your spatula or wooden spoon to deglaze the pan so all the spices sticking to the bottom are released. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture into a medium size slow cooker (mine is 7 quarts) and add in the rinsed beans, fire roasted tomatoes (along with their juices), and remaining vegetable broth. Cover and cook over high for 4-5 hours.
30 minutes before serving, season with 1/2 tsp salt and let cook for 30 more minutes. Turn the heat off and squeeze in the lime juice, and sprinkle in black pepper and lime zest. Taste and add more salt or black pepper, if needed.
Serve warm with optional toppings such as sour cream, avocado, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, hot sauce, chopped chives, chopped cilantro leaves, sliced jalapeño pieces (fresh or pickled).
Make sure to tag Vegetarian ‘Ventures on Instagram and use #vegetarianventures when trying this dish out!