What Vegetables Goes Well With Chili: 10 Amazing Alternatives

Nov 24, 2021 | Pairing Guides

We love chili so much that we’ve made many different versions of it. We’ve come up with a list of vegetables that goes well with chili.

A nice warm bowl of chili is a household staple for those in the Americas. Chili is most popular in the United States where it can be eaten in any season, at any occasion and any time of the day. But first, what is chili?

Chili is a delicious stew of meat, beans, tomatoes, peppers, spices, and a whole lot of love. It is known to have its roots in Texas. Chili became so popular because of its pungent flavor and heartiness. It’s perfect to have on a cold winter’s night or even on a hot summer day when you’re badly craving for it.

You can just bust out a bottle of your favorite beer and enjoy it with a hot bowl of chili and some fried tortilla chips. It makes a great snack or a great meal.

Speaking of great meals, we’ve come up with a list of vegetables that would go perfectly well with chili to turn it into a hearty meal. The addition of vegetable side dishes completes the meal.

Bell Peppers

1. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are naturally sweet and when cooked, an added zing comes out. We love that about bell peppers. Bell peppers are delicious and should be added in every meal. That’s an unpopular opinion but hey, it works! With chili, we like being simple and just sauteeing the bell peppers in olive oil, garlic powder and onion powder. This simple saute makes a delicious and light vegetable side. However, if you want to be a little bit more extra, you can grill your bell peppers and store them in olive oil and while garlic. It’s as if you made a bell pepper confit. This delicious and light side is still simple but it takes a little bit more work to do.

Green Lettuce

2. Lettuce Greens

If you’re looking for a conservative side dish to go with your hearty bowl of chili, we suggest creating a garden salad to go with your hearty meaty stew. You can never go wrong with a fresh bowl of greens dressed with a vinaigrette. The fresh leafy greens balance the meal and it’ll make you feel a lot healthier. We suggest dressing your greens with a raspberry vinaigrette or a red wine vinegar vinaigrette.


3. Potatoes

Potatoes are obviously the ultimate side dish for any kind of food. It’s a versatile starchy vegetable that can be turned into anything you wish. With chili, we could be safe and prepare some potato fries or roasted potatoes. However, we choose to work with the potato skins, roasted, and stuffed with a little more potato with bacon and cheese. These make a delicious side with chili. It’s not exactly the lightest side dish but it sure is good with the chili.

Sweet potato

4. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato fries make a great side dish with chili. We love the sweetness from sweet potato because it’s totally different from the typical potato and it adds character to the meal, not to mention, making it seem a little bit more healthy. Sweet potato fries can be baked or thrown into the air fryer for less fat. We love dipping the sweet potato fries in a honey chili sauce. This combination makes a great chili bowl meal.

Onion rings

5. Onion Rings

If you’re enjoying a bowl of chili while watching a game, throw in a bowl of freshly made onion rings with it. Onions are definitely part of the chili stew. It’s one of the first ingredients that go into the pot. Onion adds flavor and enhances the flavor of the other ingredients in any dish. Onion rings, on the other hand, adds texture and sweet/savory flavor to the dish. We love onion rings with chili so much that we tend to dip the rings in the chili very much like a dipping sauce.


6. Cabbage Coleslaw

Cabbage coleslaw is a perfect side dish with chili because although it’s creamy, it’s quite refreshing to the palate. Cabbage is a very healthy leafy green that is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. It is mild in flavor and that’s why it makes a great base for one of the best sides ever. Coleslaw is typically served with other rich meals like barbecues and burgers. It’s no surprise that it also goes very well with chili.


7. Corn

Corn is a typical kind of vegetable to add to any chili dish. Corn kernels can be added to a chili bowl, turned into cornbread, turned into a corn slaw, or simply eaten as corn on the cob. Corn has a natural sweetness and corny flavor that we look for in a chili dish. It adds texture to the meal/dish and you can add so much flavor to it without overpowering its natural flavor. We love any form of corn side dish with chili because it simply works well with it.


8. Cilantro

Cilantro is an herb that has notes of mild citrus and pepper. Cilantro is known for adding freshness to dishes. It’s not usually the main kind of vegetable incorporated into dishes or side dishes but it’s a vital addition just like an herb because it completes a dish.


9. Jalapenos

A warm bowl of chili deserves pickled jalapenos on top or on the side. The addition of this hot pepper, scaled-down with the presence of sugar, salt, and vinegar, balances and cuts through the heavy meat factor of the dish. The jalapenos add character to the chili, creating a little shift in your palate per spoonful of chili.

Brussel sprouts

10. Brussels Sprouts

A nice side salad with shaved brussels sprouts, cabbage, radish, and carrots dressed with a ranch dressing would go perfectly well with chili. The freshness of the vegetables all together makes a nice side that balances out the heartiness and richness of the chili. We opted to dress it with ranch because it’s a little creamy, a little citrusy, a little peppery. It lightens the flavor of the brussels sprouts and the rest of the ingredients compliment the flavor.


Hey there! I'm Isabel. I love cooking, dogs, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good flavorful food, to share with family and friends.



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