That Chili with the Mushrooms

Vegetarian Vegan That Chili with Mushrooms Gluten Free Easily

My husband is most content as a carnivore, so when I made this vegetarian chili for us the first time, I simply said it was a new chili recipe that I wanted to try. Then I added that it called for a lot of mushrooms (which he absolutely loves). I used portabella mushrooms, which always add that nice “meaty” flavor. He ended up giving the chili high ratings, and so did I. Now when I make it, I just say I’m making “that chili with the mushrooms.” Oh, I did eventually tell him that it was a vegetarian recipe, but he didn’t care because it’s really good chili. It’s packed full of nutritious ingredients, extremely flavorful, and while it’s filling, it’s not “heavy” as meat-based chili recipes often are.

I found the original recipe when I was looking for a vegetarian recipe online that didn’t contain gluten to make for a friend. A lot of main dishes that are vegetarian contain gluten and I don’t cook with gluten (even for someone else—it’s just not safe). I was pleased when I found the recipe on because it had many reviews, all of which were excellent. Just like those of us who are gluten free, vegetarians sometimes have to settle for salads or mediocre vegetable side dishes for their meals, but with this chili my friend didn’t have to “settle” at all. She loved this chili and I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it as well. So much so, that it’s now on the regular menu “rotation” at our house. I’ve come to actually prefer this recipe to my meat-based chili.

I made it on a recent Sunday, with plans to feed both of us and then have plenty left for our support group on Tuesday.



The recipe below perfectly fills a 4-qt crockpot. However, when I was ready  to serve this chili to our support group (they’ve also become big fans!), I wanted to balance out the flavor from the fresh tomatoes (a little too many as it turned out) and re-fill my 6-qt Rival Smart-Pot. So, I added another can of kidney beans, another can of chickpeas, and another half jar of salsa to start. I wanted to add another can of black beans, but since I had already used my last can, I decided to added a can of black-eyed peas. So “that chili with the mushrooms” take two is shown below.  The results were just as delicious as ever, so obviously this recipe is the best kind—adaptable to what you have on hand, naturally gluten free, and easy to make … so gluten free easily—GFE! By the way, I’m not normally one to eat chili year round, but this recipe is an exception. ;-)


img_5385My flat and firm cornbread was the perfect complement to this chili. Because we have some members who are gluten free and dairy free, I made two versions—one with milk and butter and another using olive oil and rice milk. (See olive oil to butter substitution guide here.) The latter version was a little crumbly, but still had the same great flavor. Next time I make the dairy-free version, I am going to decrease the amount of rice milk slightly and add a little xanthan gum. (When I get just the right mix, I’ll update the cornbread recipe to show the best adjustments for the non-dairy version.)

That chili with the mushrooms and flat and firm cornbread … quite a nice combination. What’s your perfect chili combination? Do you make vegetarian chili?

Not just GF, but GFE!

That Chili with the Mushrooms (Vegetarian Chili)
(Click here for a print version of this recipe.)


· 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
· 1 cup chopped onions
· 3/4 cup chopped carrots (optional, I didn’t use)
· 3 cloves garlic, minced
· 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
· 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
· 3/4 cup chopped celery (optional, I didn’t use)
· 2 tablespoons chili powder
· 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms (I used portabella)
· 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid, chopped (I used a combination of fresh tomatoes and canned diced petite tomatoes)
· 1 jar salsa (about 16 ounces, but I’ve made it with less, or you can sub 1 tbsp tomato paste and do not drain/rinse kidney beans and add additional chili powder to taste)
· 2 (19 ounce) can kidney beans drained and rinsed
· 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
· 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
· 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed, or equivalent amount of frozen corn (I used Bird’s Eye baby gold and white corn, which is excellent)
· 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
· 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
· 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions, carrots (optional), and garlic until tender. Stir in green pepper, red pepper, celery (optional), and chili powder. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.

2. Stir in mushrooms, and cook 4 minutes. Transfer ingredients to your crockpot. Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, chick peas, black beans, and corn. Season with cumin, oregano, and basil. Cook for 7 to 8 hours on low.

Shirley’s Notes: Although I like carrots and celery, the first time I made this recipe I didn’t have any on hand, so I think you can consider those as optional. Next time, I am going to be sure to have some carrots and celery on hand and give them a try though. Again, this recipe is flexible according to what one has on hand or if you are doubling it. I generally prepare everything in the crockpot the night before, so I don’t have to rush in the morning and so it is not overcooked by the time I get home from work. (My 4-qt crockpot does not have an automatic shutoff.) The cold ingredients guarantee a slightly slower start. I generally follow this approach even with my crockpot that switches from cooking to warming just so I’ll have the ingredients ready to go in the morning. I’ve also cooked this and other crockpot recipes overnight before.

Adapted from a recipe on

This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix–Chickpeas and Texas Five Star Chili Cookoff.

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


55 Responses to “That Chili with the Mushrooms”

  1. CoconutGal on March 31st, 2009 12:34 am

    Oh my!! This sounds fantastic! I do make chili, as I cannot eat beans, YET. But my doc has just ok-ed that I try to introduce them little by little. So this is going on my “To Make” list!!
    Chili is such a comfort food too. Thanks :)

  2. Shirley on March 31st, 2009 12:46 am

    Hi, CoconutGal! Introducing beans slowly will greatly expand your menu options. :-) Let us know what you think after you make it … even if it’s a bit down the road. Now the fact that I am still up while you are posting from Australia means I am up way too late. Must. Go. To. Bed. LOL Thanks so much for stopping by GFE and making such a nice comment!


  3. Shirley on March 31st, 2009 1:04 am

    CoconutGal–Oops, I think I got confused there momentarily with something I read on your blog. I know you are not in Australia after all. Sorry about that! But, I do know I still need to go to bed. ;-)

    My lack of sleep is affecting my clarity …

  4. glutenfreeforgood on March 31st, 2009 8:52 am


    This looks awesome and although I make chili quite often, I’ve never added mushrooms. Hmmm? I’m not sure why, maybe because I always put green chile in my chili (all these chili, chile, chilly words get confusing). Do green chiles and mushrooms go together? It doesn’t seem like they would, but who knows.

    Mushrooms are such a good way to add a “meaty” taste and feel to soups and stews. Good idea! Plus, they’re healthy and pack some nutritional punch to the dish. And I agree with coconutgal, chili is pure comfort food.

    Yum, and thanks for the mushroom idea. Wonder why that never entered my mind before? I guess that’s what blogger friends are for!



  5. therese on March 31st, 2009 12:57 pm

    Shirley, this recipe sounds great. We love chili and cornbread, just had it on Sunday. I use different cornbread recipes but this time used one that does not call for flour. It was rustic and delicious.
    I want to try your recipe next time we have it, though I’ll have to finely mince the mushrooms because *some people* think they don’t care for them. I added finely minced ones to a beef barley soup recently (making a small bit of meat go a long way) and it added an earthy richness that we all enjoyed.
    They’re not usually fussy so I’ll give them this one and hide the ‘shrooms. Really looking forward to trying it. I also want to try adding sliced pimento-stuffed olives like a former coworker used to do. I’ll try it without first, though. Thanks for another one that promises to be a winner.

  6. RobinSue on March 31st, 2009 1:20 pm

    Shirley the chili looks great! Just made some chili last week for my family and they love it. I really like it with corn bread too. Now the thing I have to do is run my immersion blender through it to “diguise” the veggies. If the little ones see them, they will not eat it. So mine is smooth! He he, they will never know!

  7. Shirley on March 31st, 2009 6:02 pm

    Melissa–Well, I didn’t know the answer to whether or not green chiles and mushrooms went together (I never cook with green chiles–another food I need to conquer … don’t laugh!). But, I just searched for recipes with green chiles and mushrooms and found quite a few and they all sounded awesome frankly!

    Okay, re: the mushrooms, I NEVER used to eat mushrooms. (Remember I’ve shared that I didn’t eat a lot of foods growing up. I was PICKY and I got away with it!) I’ve been eating mushrooms a little bit more the last few years, but this recipe has turned me into a mushroom lover. They just taste fabulous in this chili! Their flavor is so good and they just go so well with all the vegetables. I agree chili is comfort food, but sometimes my traditional chili doesn’t make me feel so comfortable after eating it. On the other hand, this recipe is comfort food with a great sense of satisfaction AND comfort after eating it … if that makes sense.

  8. Shirley on March 31st, 2009 6:37 pm

    Therese–Thanks! Chili with cornbread is a hard combination to beat I think. Bet yours was terrific. I could have eaten it–naturally GF! :-) My cornbread is a “rustic” version with no flour as well. I also make corn muffins from time to time and I have another recipe for cheese muffins, which are fantastic with chili. And, speaking of cheese, with traditional chili, I always want shredded cheese on top, with this chili, it’s just not needed. I tried it the first time I made this and it actually took away from the flavor.

    Nothing wrong with some diced mushroom. They will give it the same terrific taste, but for mushroom lovers (and that includes me, with this recipe) nice big chunks are wonderful.

    Let us know about the pimento-stuffed olives. More colors and flavors … yum.


  9. Shirley on March 31st, 2009 6:42 pm

    Robin Sue–Hey, we’re all in chili mode! LOL Those immersion blenders sure come in handy. See … you could have written that book that Jessica Seinfeld made a fortune on! ;-) You are so good at making the little ones happy with all your kid-friendly and fun recipes. Not to mention making us “big kids” happy, too … that recent grape salad was such a lovely recipe.


  10. H.Peter on March 31st, 2009 6:47 pm

    For me…..I need meat in my Chili. To start with, I prefer Goulash over Chili, but I do like a good hearty Chili.
    I can see though that a veggie/mushroom based Chili could be tasty and for sure healthier than my carnivorial intake ( I think I made that word up)

    Corn bread. Now THAT’S more like it. If there are any leftovers, I eat it with Honey for breakfast.
    Your flat style would be great for that! More space for the honey.

  11. Maureen "Hold The Gluten" on March 31st, 2009 6:53 pm

    Wow – this sounds fantastic! I am always looking for a good vegetarian chili recipe and this fits the bill perfectly! I LOVE mushrooms but have never added them to my chili. I’ve been missing out big time :)

  12. Shirley on March 31st, 2009 7:07 pm

    H.Peter–Don’t be so sure … I would have said the same thing before I tried this meatless chili. :-) “Carnivorial intake” … I like it. LOL I am a pretty impressive carnivore myself, but this recipe will surprise you. The fact that my hubby likes it A LOT is saying A LOT!

    Funny you should mention honey and cornbread, I am going to try a sage and honey cornbread recipe soon. No sugar required in the recipe, just honey. We love anything with honey since our bees work so hard to make it for us. Delish.

    Oh, I just realized I’d never added you to my GFE Favorite Bloggers list … you’re there now!


  13. Shirley on March 31st, 2009 7:08 pm

    Hey, Maureen! Thank you–it really is a winner! I’d never added mushrooms to my chili before either and it makes an amazingly tasty difference! :-) Hope you enjoy it!


  14. noble pig on March 31st, 2009 8:12 pm

    I’m so cold right now and that sounds delicious! I am just amazed by the beautiful color too!

  15. Diane-thewholegang on March 31st, 2009 8:19 pm

    Isn’t fun to make these men things they’ll like if they don’t know what’s in it before they try it. I have one of those. Half of my recipes are called, better than I thought. Looks great, I’ll have to give it a try. Trying to cut way down on red meat and my oldest is a vegetarian. Thank you.

  16. Shirley on March 31st, 2009 8:44 pm

    noble pig–Cathy, sometimes I think the transitional times of the year (summer to fall, fall to winter, winter to spring) are the coldest. It’s not cold enough to have full heat going, but it’s not warm enough to be comfortable without it. I’m sitting here in one of my warmest turtlenecks, but I’ll be darned if I’ll fool with starting a fire tonight. LOL Chili is great, when it’s chilly, isn’t it? ;-) I, too, love the colors. I can never stop looking at this chili or marveling over the flavors when I make it.


  17. Shirley on March 31st, 2009 8:49 pm

    Diane–LOL on your man and his judging of your recipes. I have to be careful not to ask my husband for his”rating.” That can be a bit upsetting. He’ll say something is good or really good and rate it a 7 or an 8. Although he did rate something a 9 last week. Now I can’t remember what it was. I’ll have to remember and post it here. Hope you and your family enjoy the recipe! Let us know if you like it. :-)

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  18. V-Grrrl on April 1st, 2009 11:21 am

    I often cook vegetarian meals and not just because my daughter is a vegetarian. Looking forward to trying this.

  19. Heather @ Life, Gluten Free on April 1st, 2009 5:25 pm

    My dad used to make the best vegetarian chili with crumbled tofu. I wish I hadn’t found out that I am allergic to chili peppers! Your chili looks great, and I absolutely love the cup that you served it in.

  20. Shirley on April 1st, 2009 7:34 pm

    V–Vegetarian meals can be lighter and, of course, ensure more veggies—which I really like. I really enjoy making vegetarian meals for my one friend from time to time. I’ve ended up loving several of the recipes. Hope you all enjoy this chili when you get to make it. :-)


  21. Shirley on April 1st, 2009 8:02 pm

    Heather–Thanks! That mug is a good 30 years old, bought at a pottery when I was single. It “called my name” and still is one of my favorite ones to use for chili or soup. :-)

    I’m so sorry about that allergy. I wonder if you could just skip the chili powder and use an alternative spice … maybe more cumin. I just found this homemade recipe (below) for chili powder. I guess cayenne pepper is out, too, though. Hmmm, we should be able to figure out a solution somehow …

    1 teaspoon paprika
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon oregano
    2 teaspoons garlic powder

    Mix. Store in airtight container. Measure out desired amount.


  22. Kelly on April 1st, 2009 11:14 pm

    Oh my gosh, I wish I had some of this right now! You just made my stomach growl! :-) Kelly

  23. Shirley on April 1st, 2009 11:52 pm

    LOL, Kelly … I felt the same way when I wrote up this post and looked at the photos again. I had sent the last of it home with a few happy group members. :-0 It’s definitely worth making!


  24. Shirley on April 1st, 2009 11:59 pm

    Madelyn Smith–Hi, Madelyn! Thanks for your comment on the upcoming events page reminding everyone about my presentation tomorrow night at your/our group, TWEGIG. I have copied it below. (All, please check out TWEGIG’s site, if you’d like to attend or are interested in future programs.)

    We are looking very forward to Shirley’s presentation at our support group tomorrow night! Hope you can join us too!

    Madelyn Smith
    Branch Manager
    The West End Gluten Intolerance Group

    Thanks for stopping by, Madelyn! I’m looking forward to sharing my GFE approach with everyone. :-)


  25. Jessie on April 2nd, 2009 12:46 am

    Hi there, this looks delicious. I’ve just found your blog and am looking forward to getting to know you. I’m excited to find others on the gluten free quest. My quest has not just begun but my bloggin has. Nice to meet you.

  26. Shirley on April 2nd, 2009 8:04 am

    Jessie–Welcome to GFE! Nice to meet you, and thanks so much for your kind comments. :-) I’ll check out your blog soon. The GF blogging community rocks!


  27. Matt on April 2nd, 2009 12:07 pm

    Just like Coconut Gal, I’m excited to introduce beans again soon. I’ll try a soup without nightshades first, but chili is on the top of my list after that! This looks awesome.

  28. Shirley on April 3rd, 2009 9:33 am

    Matt–Thank you!! I occasionally have issues with nightshades myself. I understand your concerns re: nightshades. When I eat potatoes (other than sweet potatoes, which are not nightshades) too often, I do get some joint pain. Hopefully, you’ll get to slowly re-introduce some of your favorites soon! I look forward to hearing about your success and new dining adventures. :-)


  29. Diane-thewholegang on April 3rd, 2009 9:37 am

    Wow, I have the same problem with nightshades once in a while. I guess it’s our body reminding us not to get stuck on one food. I really try to stick to the 4 day rotation diet. I have found that works the best and I have fewer instances of irritations. Bravo to everyone paying attention to what their bodies are telling us!!!!

  30. Shirley on April 4th, 2009 6:08 am

    Diane–Good for you re: following a rotation diet! There is a lot of data that shows they make the most sense. If you want to develop a food intolerance, eating it every day certainly can make that more likely to happen … particularly for those of us with food issues/”leaky gut.” I don’t think we can really hear what our bodies are saying unless we remove some of the major offenders like gluten and dairy, but once those are gone it’s so much easier to recognize its “nagging.” Otherwise, it’s “whining,” and sometimes “screaming” on a constant level. Plus, isn’t it more appealing to mix it up with our diets anyway? :-)


  31. Diane-thewholegang on June 5th, 2009 9:08 am

    I’m glad you shared this recipe on Friday Foodie Fix. I loved it the first time I saw it on your blog.

  32. Miz Helen on October 11th, 2010 1:49 pm

    I am so excited that you brought That Chili with Mushrooms over to the Texas Star Chili Cook Off at The Cottage. It looks wonderful and I can hardly wait to try it. We are going to have so much fun!
    Thanks for coming over!

    • Shirley on October 11th, 2010 10:20 pm

      Miz Helen–My pleasure to participate! Hope you have a great turnout! :-) It’s fun to see how creative folks can get with chili. Sometimes the basic ones please the most, other times it’s combinations that you don’t expect that tickle the taste buds. ;-)


  33. Amber on December 31st, 2011 1:20 am

    Hello There Shirley,

    Our tradition is Chili on Christmas Eve. I tried your chili this year and LOVED it. I Just had to share it this month on my round-up. I would have never thought about adding mushrooms, and it did give the dish a nice meaty texture. Just great. Thank you for the continued inspiration.

    Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

    Hugs and Well Wishes,

    • Shirley on December 31st, 2011 10:22 am

      Hi Amber–Oh, that news makes me so very happy! We love that chili and I’m so honored that you included it on your monthly round-up. :-) I might have to make it a 2012 goal to have a recipe on there every month. ;-) Will share your roundup on my gfe Facebook page later today!

      Happy, Happy New Year, dear! xo,

  34. Lisa on April 16th, 2012 6:17 pm

    I just stumbled on this recipe and it looks great! (I hope you see this note- just saw that this has been on here for a while.) One quick question- what size jar of salsa should I use?

    • Shirley on April 16th, 2012 6:24 pm

      Hi Lisa–Welcome to gfe! :-) This is definitely a recipe that’s loved by my family and my support group. :-) I usually use a standard-sized jar, which I believe is 16 ounces. But if your jar is slightly larger or smaller, it shouldn’t make a big difference. Sometimes I’ll use what I have on hand and that might be slightly less than a full jar or a full jar plus a little bit left in an open jar. It’s a pretty flexible recipe in that regard. ;-) I hope you enjoy it!


  35. Lisa on April 17th, 2012 7:55 am

    Thanks for the quick reply! I will be making this recipe for my mother in law (gf) and myself (veg). I am so excited! Another couple questions (sorry…but I’m not the greatest cook in the world). When I use the mushrooms, do I cut off stems or do anything else? And if I cut up the vegs extra tiny to hide them from the kids, do I measure them after they are chopped regular sized or after they are chopped extra tiny? These might be really silly, but I honestly just don’t know. Thank so much!! :D

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2012 8:03 am

      Hi again Lisa–No worries on the questions, dear. ;-) I just wash my mushrooms and cut them into bite-sized pieces. With your “anti-veggie” kiddos, you can cut them a bit smaller if you wish, but I wouldn’t cut them too small. You don’t want the mushrooms to become too mushy. The chunks give that nice “meaty” mouth feel. With the other veggies, cutting extra tiny will work. I’d probably measure after cutting them, but again this is a flexible recipe, so it’s not going to make a huge difference either way you do it. Anyway, after making this recipe one time, you’ll be a pro. :-)


  36. Vicky on June 1st, 2012 2:23 pm

    Shirley, I LOVE this recipe! I made it last night (picture on Facebook) since it was so cold and I wanted to try a different chilli from my own!

    Since we didn’t have mushrooms, I tried butternut squash instead which was left over from the BBQ the day before. It tasted gorgeous. A couple of other modifications due to a lack if ingredients didn’t divert from the original recipe!

    Awesome… If anyone’s reading this – I highly recommend you make it!

    Thanks Shirley x

    • Shirley on October 1st, 2013 10:35 am

      Hey Vicky–It seems like I keep finding comments here that I have never replied to … yikes! So sorry. :-( Thanks so much for leaving this wonderful review and sharing your version. This is a very adaptable recipe for sure! :-)


      • Vicky on October 1st, 2013 11:32 am

        NO problem – I can’t believe how long ago this was, doesn’t seem that long!

        • Shirley on October 1st, 2013 11:40 am

          Thanks, dear. You are always so gracious! It really has been “forever ago.” ;-) Time is doing its usual thing!

  37. Lynn on October 1st, 2013 10:31 am

    What size jar of salsa? I’ve had them from tiny to a half gallon! Thanks!!

    • Shirley on October 1st, 2013 10:33 am

      Lynn–It’s the standard size that’s offered up in the stores by the chips. I think it’s about 16 ounces. :-) I’ve gotten away with using slightly less when I was running low though. ;-) Hope you enjoy this chili!


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