Warm, hearty, and flavorful Tomato and Chickpea Chili! Make it in the slow cooker for best flavor and for a hands-off dinner, or try it on the stovetop.

A big bowl of chickpea chili topped with toasted almonds

Every so often, I get a chance to share a recipe from a new cookbook that I love and cherish. This chickpea chili recipe is from Alex Guarnaschelli's new cookbook Cook with Me, with some very slight adaptations. And as only the Food Network icon can do, she gave us 150 delicious, tried-n-true recipes for the home cook. You'll love her personal touch and family stories that have shaped her as a chef today.

Easy slow cooker chili

It was hard to choose just one recipe to share from the many delicious options in Cook with Me, but something about this comforting vegan chickpea chili resonates with me. Chef Alex believes that while meaty chili is dynamite, so are all of the flavors that build in this vegan version! I whole-heartedly agree! And I'm always up for a slow cooker meal that fills the air with delicious, cozy flavors.

This chili is made with a chickpea base, which is a fun digression from the usual black or kidney beans. I also love the layers of veggies--onions, peppers, scallions, jalapeno--and seasonings that infuse flavor in every bite!

Now, this is easy to make in just 30 minutes or so on the stovetop, but the slow cooker provides 6 hours or so of time for the flavors to meld and concentrate into rich, luscious goodness.

For weeknights, I like to do the prep work for this chickpea chili ahead of time, so I can just dump everything in the slow cooker in the morning. In the evening, there's just 10 minutes or so of sautéing vegetables and then dinner is served. Are you in?!

Chickpea chili ingredients cut and measured

What is vegan chili made of?

The great thing about chili is that it's so versatile, and you can easily make it your own. are so many ways to make vegan chili! It usually consists of beans, and occasionally a grain to give heft in place of meat, like this vegan quinoa chili I shared before. This tomato and chickpea chili recipe is obviously heavy on chickpeas, with layers of veggies and a fun finish of toasted nuts. Here's what you'll need to make it:

  • Chickpeas - You can either use dry chickpeas that you soak overnight or, keep it easy and use canned chickpeas (just rinse well before using).
  • Tomatoes - Canned peeled whole tomatoes in their juices.
  • Seasonings - In addition to your typical chili powder, this vegan chili also used hot paprika (or sweet paprika, if you don't want too much heat) and cumin to create the warm, hearty flavor.
  • Extra virgin olive oil - You can check out my favorites here.
  • Vegetables and aromatics- onions, garlic, red bell pepper, corn, scallions and jalapeno.
  • Almonds - Toasted slivered almonds for crunch and subtle nutty flavor.
Chickpea chili in a slow cooker

How to make slow cooker vegan chickpea chili

This vegan chili is super easy to make and, thanks to the slow cooker, most of the cook time is hands-off! This is a great dish to throw together in the morning when you want to come home to an almost-ready dinner! Here's a quick rundown of how it goes (check out the full printable recipe with ingredient list below).

  • Prepare the chickpeas. If using dry chickpeas, soak them overnight in a large bowl of water. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight. Otherwise, you can use canned chickpeas instead.
  • Transfer to the slow cooker. Drain the chickpeas and add them to the bowl of a large slow cooker. Add the tomatoes and water. Stir in the chili seasoning (1 tablespoon chili powder 2 teaspoon hot paprika or sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin) then cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • Add the aromatics. Cook the onions, jalapenos, and bell pepper and garlic in a large sauté pan, until the onions are soft. Add to the slow cooker, stir to combine, cook for another 30 minutes.
  • Add the corn, scallions to serve. Stir in the corn and scallions. Taste and adjust servings as necessary. Ladle into bowls and top with almonds to serve.
  • Add any finishing touches and serve! If you like, add toasted almonds, fresh herbs, and any other toppings you like!
Scallions and corn being added to slow cooker chili

How to make stovetop chickpea chili

If you have 30 minutes, and want to make this chili on the stovetop, here's what you need to do:

  • Prepare the chickpeas. If using dry chickpeas, soak them overnight in a large bowl of water. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight. Otherwise, you can use canned chickpeas instead.
  • Saute the aromatics. In a large pot, saute the onion, peppers, and garlic until translucent. Season with kosher salt and add the seasoning (1 tablespoon chili powder 2 teaspoon hot paprika or sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin)
  • Add in the chickpeas and tomatoes. Add the tomatoes, water, chickpeas.
  • Simmer. Bring everything to a boil then reduce the heat. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the chickpeas are soft and tender.
  • Stir in corn and scallions to finish. Once you add the corn and scallions, give everything a stir and cook for just 3 minutes or so to warm through.
  • Add any finishing touches and serve! If you like, add toasted almonds, fresh herbs, and any other toppings you like!
A large skillet with chopped onions, red peppers, jalapenos and garlic

Vegan chili toppings

It's always fun to add toppings to your chili to make it your own! Here are a few easy vegan chili toppings:

  • Fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley
  • Chopped or sliced avocado
  • Radish slices
  • Jalapeno slices
  • Crunchy tortilla strips or chips
  • Nuts! Not traditional, but as you see here, toasted slivered almonds add texture and flavor
Two big dishes of vegan chickpea chili

Variations

For the best chickpea chili, keep these things in mind:

  • Use canned chickpeas. If you don’t have dry chickpeas or would rather use canned chickpeas, you will need 3 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed. You will want to add them after the tomatoes have cooked.
  • Add extra veggies. Prefer a chili that includes even more veggies? Carrots and celery make good additions, as do sweet potatoes.
  • Don't skip the aromatics. Sauteing the vegetables is about more than softening the texture. It releases the flavors within them, which greatly enhance the taste of the chili.

How to store leftovers

One of the great things about chili is that it tastes even better the next day. Allow your chickpea chili to cool completely then transfer to a tight-lid container and refrigerate. I like to store individual servings to pull out and reheat as lunch throughout the week.

Can I freeze chili?

This vegan chili also freezes very well. Once completely cooled, transfer to freezer ziploc bags or other containers. I like the ziploc bags as they can lay flat in the freezer. Vegan chili will last for up to 5 months in the freezer (although I like to keep the corn and scallions out to add later). Thaw overnight in the fridge then reheat on the stovetop. You may need to add some extra liquid if the chili is too thick.

4.84 from 31 votes

Vegan Chickpea Chili (Slow Cooker or Stovetop)

Suzy Karadsheh
A big bowl of chickpea chili topped with toasted almonds
Warm, hearty, and flavorful Tomato and Chickpea Chili! Make it in the slow cooker for best flavor and for a hands-off dinner, or try the stovetop method in the recipe notes!
Prep – 30 mins
Inactive Slow Cooker Time 6 hrs
Total – 30 mins
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 8 servings
Course:
Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound dry chickpeas (OR 3 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 28 ounces peeled whole tomatoes (crushed with their juices)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon hot paprika (I used sweet paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 large red bell pepper (halved and sliced into ½-inch wide strips)
  • 5 garlic cloves (grated)
  • 1 small jalapeno (sliced into thin rounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh cooked or thawed if previously frozen)
  • 6 scallions (green and white parts, thinly sliced)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds (toasted)

Instructions
 

Prepare the Chickpeas

  • If using dry chickpeas, place the chickpeas in a large bowl and add cold water to cover. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator, and let the chickpeas soak for 8 hours or up to overnight. Otherwise, you can use canned chickpeas, simply rinse and drain.

Vegan Chili in Slow Cooker

  • Drain the chickpeas and place them in a large slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, then fill the tomato can with water and add that to the pot. Stir in the chili powder, paprika, and cumin. Cover with the lid, set the slow cooker on low, and cook for 6 hours.
  • In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke, after 2 to 3 minutes, add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and Jalapeno. Season with kosher salt and cook, stirring from time to time, until the onions soften lightly, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the sauteed vegetables to the slow cooker and stir gently to combine. Set the slow cooker on high and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Stir the corn and scallions into the chili and taste for seasoning.
  • Ladle the chili into individual bowls and top with the almonds. Serve!

Vegan Chili Stovetop Method

  • In a large pot, saute the vegetables and aromatics in olive oil. Season with kosher salt and add in the spices.
  • Add in the tomatoes, water, and seasonings. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and cover part-way and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes or so.
  • Finally, stir in the corn, and scallions and allow 3 minutes or so to warm through. Add the finishing touches and serve!

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 362.7kcalCarbohydrates: 51.8gProtein: 15gFat: 10.1gSaturated Fat: 1.5gTrans Fat: 0.1gSodium: 251.9mgPotassium: 894.8mgFiber: 13.8gSugar: 11.5gVitamin A: 809IUVitamin C: 16.5mgCalcium: 132.8mgIron: 5.7mg
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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I have been looking for more healthy and flavorful recipes for the slow cooker. This one popped up in my email at the right time! I cannot wait to try this and hopefully hubby will like it too.

  2. This sounds so good!! can't wait to try it. I know I will share this with fellow teacher who enjoys trying new recipes just as much as I do.

  3. Recipe looks great; I prefer vegetarian chili so I'm starting the chili today to eat tomorrow. I'm using the last of my garden vegetables and dried chickpeas from Rancho Gordo in California. I've made many of your recipes and like them all. I've ordered spices and olive oil from your store and been pleased with the quality. Winning a new cookbook would be a pleasure.

  4. 5 stars
    Love Alex!!! This is super easy to do and I will use the dried chickpeas in order to control the amount of sodium versus canned. Making a batch now and going to freeze in individual containers for a quick go to when I'm crunched for time!

  5. This looks yummy and can’t wait to try it. . I’m definitely giving this a go. Your eggplant and chickpea dish was so good. With someone who loves a kick of chilli in their dish can’t imagine why it wouldn’t taste as good as it looks. Thanks for sharing and definitely trying it today

  6. This sounds great! I just made your delicious eggplant and chickpea veggie stew last night so I'll definitely try this one, too!

  7. 5 stars
    Can't wait to try this! Looks as wonderful as all of the great recipes I've tried from this site. It has become my favorite place to search for ideas!