This easy Vegetarian White Bean Chili recipe is loaded with healthy, hearty, budget-friendly and Vegan ingredients. It’s warming and comforting, lightly spicy, and creamy, the perfect meal for a chilly day.
Why We Love It
This vegetarian and Vegan friendly chili is absolutely delicious! The bold, bright flavors from green chiles, spices, and fresh jalapeno perfectly compliment the creamy beans, sweet corn, and zucchini.
Cannellini beans are creamy in texture and nutty and mild in flavor, so they lend themselves perfectly to a soup like this.
And because we love creamy, lush broth, we add coconut milk and take an extra step of blending some of the beans to incorporate into the broth.
The soup is finished with a bit of freshly squeezed lime juice, perfectly balancing the rich flavors with a bit of bright acid.
It’s hearty but not super heavy, healthy but not at all boring. Make it on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker, and it’ll be your new favorite dinner!
- White Beans: I like to use cannellini beans, but substitute any other white bean like navy, great northern, or baby lima beans.
- Spices: Cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and cayenne.
- Vegetable Stock. Make homemade vegetable stock or buy your favorite store-bought brand.
- Produce: Zucchini, onion, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno (optional)
- Corn: Frozen or canned corn works great in this recipe. If using canned corn, drain the cans first.
- Green Chiles.
- Coconut Milk. Use full fat coconut milk for creamier broth.
- Garnishes are optional, but they add a lot of oomph to the flavor! Use fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeno, and dairy free sour cream.
Step by Step Instructions
Do the Prep Work
Wash and dry the produce, then dice the zucchini and onion. Mince the garlic and cilantro.
Open the cans of beans and drain the excess liquid in a strainer. You don’t need to rinse the beans.
To get extra creamy chili, separate about 1 cup of the beans and add them to a food processor or blender. Pulse and blend until they form a creamy paste. Alternately, you can use a fork or potato masher to gently mash them up a bit.
Cook the Chili
Step 1: Saute the onion, garlic, and jalapeño (if using). Add the spices and saute together for another 3-4 minutes, until the spices are fragrant.
Step 2: Add the whole beans, blended beans, zucchini, cilantro, chiles, broth, and coconut milk. Mix until combined.
Step 3: Bring the soup mixture to a slow boil, then immediately lower the heat and allow it to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes.
Step 4: Add the corn, and stir to combine. If you’re using frozen corn, you do not need to defrost the corn first. If using canned corn, drain the excess liquid before cooking. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Step 5: Serve the chili in bowls, and sprinkle each serving with a little lime juice. The lime juice is important to rounding out the flavors, so don’t skip it!
Instant Pot Instructions
Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode. Add the oil, then saute the onion, garlic, and jalapeno (if using) for about 3-4 minutes. Add the spices and saute together for another 3-4 minutes.
Add the zucchini, chiles, broth, beans, mashed beans, coconut milk, and cilantro.
Secure the lid. Set to High Pressure for 3 minutes. Very carefully, press or turn the steam release valve for a Quick Pressure Release (QPR).
Open the lid and turn to saute mode. Add the corn, stir, and simmer the chili for about 10 minutes. Season to taste and serve with a sprinkle of lime juice.
Slow Cooker Instructions
Add all the chili ingredients except for the corn to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for 4-5 hours on low heat or 2.5-3 hours on high heat.
Stir the corn into the chile the last 20-30 minutes of cook time. Season to taste and serve with a sprinkle of lime juice.
FAQ & Expert Tips
White bean chili is great garnished with a little dairy-free sour cream, cilantro, and sliced jalapeno. Serve with tortilla chips, crusty bread, or cornbread.
To make the chili extra creamy, omit the coconut milk and substitute coconut cream. Gently mash all of the beans before adding them to the chili. Omit about 1 cup of broth, and simmer the finished chili to reduce the liquid even more.
Cannellini beans, great northern beans, and baby lima beans are all white beans that work wonderfully in chili. You can also use pinto beans or any combination of white beans.
Cannellini beans are a great source of protein, containing about 17 grams of protein per cup, along with about 11 grams of fiber, about 44 carbs, and about 240 calories.
Adding a squeeze of lime juice just before serving chili is an old secret to round out the flavor profile. A bit of bright acid is a lovely compliment to the heavier, creamier flavors.
Yes! Allow the chili to chill completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible, then set it flat in the freezer. Freeze for up to 4 months, per USDA.
To defrost, set the bag or container on a plate in the refrigerator overnight.
Transfer leftover chili to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, per USDA.
More Healthy Vegetarian Recipes
- Mexican Vegetable Soup
- Irish Farmhouse Vegetable Soup
- Cannellini Bean Salad
- Instant Pot Vegetable Stock
- Greek Chickpea & Avocado Salad
- Chipotle Copycat Corn Salsa
Making this recipe? I’d love if you shared your experience with it!
Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom.
Vegetarian White Bean Chili
- Large Dutch Oven or Pot (No lid is necessary)
- 6 cups cannellini beans drained (about 4 15 oz. cans.)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (48 oz.)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 cups corn frozen, or use canned and drained
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 medium zucchini diced
- 1 jalapeno minced, optional
- 1/4 cup cilantro minced
- 12 oz. green chiles (3 small cans)
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lime
- Do the prep work. Mince the garlic and cilantro. Dice the onion, zucchini, and jalapeno, if using. Drain the cans of cannellini beans.
- For extra creamy soup (optional): Take about 1 cup of the beans and blend in a food processor or blender until they're broken down. Alternately, add the 1 cup of beans to a large bowl and use a fork or potato masher to mash them.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno (if using). Saute together for 3-4 minutes, until softened slightly.
- Add the seasonings to the pot and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the whole beans, mashed beans, zucchini, cilantro, and chiles. Pour in the vegetable stock and coconut milk. Stir gently to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer. Allow it to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the corn and cook together for another 10-15 minutes.
- Season the soup to taste and ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Optional: Garnish with sliced jalapeno, cilantro, and/or dairy free sour cream.