Vegetarian Chili

By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

This is one of my favorite vegetarian chili recipes! I like it because it’s loaded with vegetables but my friends and family are clueless that it does not contain MEAT.  The bulgur wheat gives it a taste that is like a meat taste but it’s not. I have served with cornbread at my Super Bowl Parties. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information Per Serving:  249 calories, 12  grams protein, 2 grams of fat,  49 grams of CHO, 15 grams of fiber,  980 mg sodium.

Serves: 8

Preparation Time: 15 minutes   Cook Time:  1 hour or in crockpot 8 hours

  • 1 quart tomato juice or V-8 Juice
  • ¾ cup bulgur wheat
  • vegetable spray
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, plain or chili style
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans beans, (I use a combination of chili hot beans and black beans: but garbanzo beans, kidney beans and pinto beans also work)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili pepper
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic


Spray vegetable oil in heavy saucepot.  Add onion, cook until clear.  Add celery, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, and spices.  Sauté mixture until vegetables are nearly tender, about 10 minutes.  Add beans, tomato juice and bulgur.  Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add water as desired to reach desired consistency.

Alternative cooking method: Toss vegetables and garlic into crockpot.  Turn to high and allow to cook for 30 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and forget about it for 8-12 hours.  It’s a great smell when you walk in the house after work and a delicious meal.  Add fruit and hard bread

Shopping List

  • 1 quart tomato juice or V-8 Juice
  • bulgur wheat
  • 1 onion
  • celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, plain or chili style
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 (15-oz.) can beans chili hot beans
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans
  • chili pepper
  • oregano
  • cumin
  • basil
  • garlic

*You can also use low sodium tomato juice or low sodium V-8 Juice to lower the sodium in this recipe.

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Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition,, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.    

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