7 Chili Recipes to Win a Chili Cookoff

Our top chili recipes to win a chili cookoff are unique spins that are full of veggies and big flavor. They’re contest contenders for sure!

Easy Vegetarian Chili - you won't miss the meat with this crowd pleasing recipe! | Chili recipes to win a chili cookoff

Okay, so we know what you’re thinking: chili is about meat. But your chili cookoff this year, what about trying something a little different? Eating veggies is getting cool again. And chili without meat can be even more creative and delicious as as its meat-filled counterpart.

Here at A Couple Cooks, Alex and I are not even vegetarian: we’re flexitarian. This means we eat a mostly plant based diet, but splurge on meat on occasion. And for us, we’d rather pile on the veggies in chili and save our meat quota for a big juicy burger. So here are the top unique chili recipes we’ve created that hit all the notes of the fall while being meatless. They’ve got big flavor, but are fully plant based. They’re actually all vegan chili recipes too—unless you decide to load them with sour cream and cheese. (Or just use our Vegan Sour Cream!)

What to serve with chili

Before we start: what to serve with these unique chili recipes? Our favorite is the classic standard: cornbread! We’ve got two great recipes, depending on your diet preferences: Best Homemade Cornbread or Easy Vegan Cornbread. Or, a fun spin is this Kale Caesar Salad with Cornbread Croutons, a green salad that uses cornbread for the croutons instead.

We’ve got lots more ideas where those came from. Try out all of our 10 best sides to go with chili!

And now…our top chili recipes!

Trick for chili: try chili seasoning!

Want a quick way to add spices to chili? Mix up a batch of Chili Seasoning! Approximate the volume of spices used in the recipe, and use the same amount of chili seasoning to taste. (It’s also great on vegetables or seafood!)

Looking for other vegetarian soups?

This website is full of vegetarian soups and vegan soups! Here are a few other vegetarian soups we’d recommend:

Related: Gifts for Vegetarians

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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