Eat of the Moment

Vegan Slow-Cooker Caramelized Onion Chili!

You probably have everything you need to make this sitting in your cabinets right now and this is SO EASY. The chili, which is totally vegan, vegetarian AND gluten free, is the perfect thing to make on a cold weekday so you can come home from work or school to a delicious hot meal.

The secret to the sweet flavor of this chili is caramelizing the onions. I really think this adds a crazy amount of depth and deliciousness to the stew. Feel free to caramelize more onions than I’ve specified here, especially if you’re an onion lover. This is just the very basic version of this recipe, so you can adjust this to your liking; add kidney beans, garbanzo beans or white beans, toss in some chopped zucchini or red or green peppers. As long as you’re filling this up with veggies, you’ll be good. And if you’re not a vegetarian, feel free to add the meat of your choice; I think shredded chicken would be so good.

I’ve recently been seeing a lot of news about canned tomatoes having high levels of BPA and I’m hoping to phase them out of my cooking life soon. If you decide to use the tomatoes that come in glass jars or cardboard boxes (I like the Pomi brand), just make sure you use a comparable amount of ounces.

Note: I only have pictures of the finished meal this week because I started cooking before I realized I lost my camera, and then I found it in the car during the crockpotting of the chili. So no “step-by-step” (DAY BY DAY!) photos this week, sorry. The life of an absentminded food blogger! (Is actually pretty normal except for taking pictures of everything I eat!)

Vegan Slow-Cooker Caramelized Onion Chili

makes 6-8 servings

total time: 6-8 hours

total hands-on time: 45 minutes

What you’ll need:

1 onion, sliced

2 cans black beans

2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes (with green chiles, if you can find that variety. I like Rotel.)

1 can of corn or package of frozen corn

1 cup vegetable broth

1 cup water

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsps fresh chopped garlic (sub garlic powder, too)

2 tsps cumin

one glug of olive oil

pinch of cinnamon

salt and pepper to your taste

What you’ll do:

1. The first thing to do is caramelize the onions. Slice them, then heat some olive oil on medium-high in a wide frying pan with sides (so the onions can spread out). Once the oil is shimmery, add the onions and spread them out. You might need to lower the heat a bit so the onions don’t get crispy. Basically, let those babies cook until they are a light brown color, stirring occasionally. It took about 40 minutes for me, but it will vary depending on your stove and your pan.

2. Place the onions in the bottom of the crockpot and add the beans, tomatoes and corn. Add the water and broth and stir.

3. Add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon, then stir to mix.

4. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours. When you serve, garnish with tortilla chips, green onions or cilantro.

And that’s it! Go make this!

  • Erin Kowalsky

    YUM! show those meat eaters us vegans have delicious food too!

  • Emily Johnson

    DARNIT I literally just used a can of black beans, a can of dice tomatoes and the last of my corn.. the rest of this stuff I already have! haha at least thats a short shopping list!

  • Savannah Morey

    i used to be a vegetarian, and my only downfall was soup and stews. i could really go almost entirely meat-less if it weren’t for that little tid-bit… this is the first veg chili recipe that i’ve been super stoked to try! printing it off now, and hopefully trying it out ASAP! thanks :) PS i loathe tofu and celery and almost every veg. chili recipe contains them -so glad this one doesn’t.

    • Carrie Murphy

      celery in chili? oh no no no. hope you love the chili you make!

  • April McLean

    OMG! THIS IS FOR ME!!!!! (Or not. But it feels like its just for me since I’m vegan and gluten intolerant!!) : ) Thanks for posting the recipe!

    • Carrie Murphy

      april, i’m not a vegan, but i AM gluten-intolerant. finding good GF recipes is like winning the jackpot, right? email me and i will send you some good GF food blogs, if you’re interested.

  • Amanda Wilkinson

    Just made this and it is sooo good! And really easy to make too! Next time I’m going to put more chili powder in!

  • Amanda Wilkinson

    I also accidentally used cream styled corn for this! It seems weird to put it in but it works!

  • Jacqueline Sandoval

    Omygoodness this looks delicious! I plan on buying a crock pot this weekend because I have been following this list on SkinnyScoop with some really good slow cooker recipes but this one is definitely one I’d want to make first :) You should definitely add it to the list (could use more vegan recipes) >

  • Marleen Moll

    Jumm, it looks delicious! Will definitely try this next week :)

  • Rae Ghun

    My stomach ROARED at me when I read this. It’s soounds so delicious and simple it’s stupid, and sometimes, stupid is GOOD. Monday, I’m picking up onions and bustin’ out the crock pot I have failed to use and making chili. And I don’t care what anyone else feels like eating!

    • Carrie Murphy


  • Summer Smith

    I would make it even easier by caramelizing the onions in the slow cooker the night before.

  • Melissa Simon

    Officially working towards my “vegetarian” life style starting the first of the year, so it was perfect for me to run across this recipe… first thing I’ll make as a newly acclaimed “vegetarian.” Thanks so much

  • Laura Frese

    I’m in the process of making this recipe for the 2nd time in 3 weeks. I am vegetarian (not vegan) so I added cheese to mine. My husband and roommate who are neither added bacon to theirs. Because of our household, I’m always looking for dishes like that!

Need more Giggles?
Like us on Facebook!

Want more Giggles?
Sign up for our newsletter!