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World’s Easiest Vegetarian Pantry Chili

This quick-to-make vegetarian pantry chile call for what I’d normally say is too many cans. But you know what, it’s nice to a have a pantry full of healthy canned food at the ready. Even if you’ve never boiled water, you can make this easy meatless chili.

bowl of vegetarian Pantry Chili with cheese sprinkle on top.

Click here to PIN Easy Vegetarian Pantry Chili!

This vegetarian pantry chili starts with chopped onions sautéed until soft. While the onions cook, you drain and rinse the contents of 3 cans, one each of black, pinto, kidney beans. Keep going–open a can each of hominy corn, diced green chiles and diced tomatoes, plus a can (or jar) of salsa.

Stir everything into the pot of onions. Add cumin and chili powder. Stir in some vegetable broth–more or less, to make your chili as thin or thick as you like. Give it a half-hour simmering on the stove and there you have it, hot and ready to enjoy, a flavor-packed one-pot vegetarian chili.

This quick and easy chili is more than you’d expect for a dinner that comes almost entirely from cans. So, grab a can opener, an onion, and a couple spices–you’ve got this!

What’s in the pantry?

>>>> Open our pantry and you’ll always find more than one can of beans, on the same shelf as jars of dried beans. Even though canned beans are wicked handy, you may know I prefer to cook beans from scratch.

(In fact, he most popular recipes here on the blog are 3 how-to-cook-beans in a pressure cooker. Like “How to cook black beans in a pressure cooker“, “How to pressure cook pinto beans”, and “How to pressure cook chickpeas.” Beans from scratch do taste much better than the ones in a can, and a pressure cooker makes scratch beans freaking easy. Even easier, though–canned beans!

>>>> Green chiles and red salsa, they’re pantry regulars around here too. You might like this easy risotto made with chard, pinto beans and green chiles. I keep toothy hominy around in case I feel like making butternut squash pozole, my vegetarian riff on classic Mexican pozole. Make it fast in your pressure cooker or Instant Pot.

>>>> Always on hand–canned diced tomatoes for minestrone soup.

7 cans of ingredients for vegetarian pantry chili

Vegetarian Pantry Chili recipe tips, substitutions and stuff:

  • We garnished our chili with a sprinkle of grated white cheddar cheese. To really dress it up, you could garnish with sour cream and green onions.
  • Keep it vegan: Top your chili with a few slices of avocado.
  • I used medium-hot tomato salsa. If your picante tolerance is high, choose a “hotter” salsa. You could also use green salsa.
  • Hominy brings in toothsome texture and color contrast, but if you don’t have hominy, substitute frozen or canned corn that you’ve rinsed and drained.
  • You should be able to find canned hominy in the section with other Mexican foods like the chiles and salsa. It seems to be most available in 25-ounce cans, containing about 3 cups hominy kernels. You won’t use it all in this recipe–just freeze what you don’t need.

Last week, the store was out of kidney beans. No worries, I just used a second can of pintos in this recipe. As in, If you don’t have one kind of beans for this vegetarian pantry chili, just sub in another kind.

More home-cooking inspiration:

A few years back I posted a review of Jessica Fisher’s cookbook, Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 Minutes (or Less! (Affiliate) This recipe is adapted from the 30-minute confetti chili in her cookbook and is an update of the original post.

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Nutrition Facts
Easy Vegetarian Pantry Chili
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 161
% Daily Value*
Potassium 51mg1%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Protein 8g16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition information is meant to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the brands you use and substitutions you made, as well as how much chili you actually eat.


  • kym

    Letty, I miss you. Can I have a date? Either with boys or solo. Thanks for the easy Christmas Day feed. Love, Kym Reply · 18 December, 2015

    • Thanks Kym,
      You will love the chili for Christmas–easy peasy and delish! Reply · 18 December, 2015

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