Vegetarian Classic Meatless Frito Pie

Classic meatless frito pie recipe

The Spruce / Emily Hawkes

  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Servings: 3 to 4 servings

No one said vegetarian eating had to be healthy, right? The good news is, that even with recipes such as this one for a Frito pie-style casserole, which uses canned ingredients to create a quick dinner and may seem unhealthy, when made vegetarian, the end result is still lower in fat and cholesterol than a similar version made with meat. If you like chili, cheese, chili cheese dip and Frito pie, you'll like this vegetarian chili cheese and Frito casserole or pie.

As a Californian, I think of Frito pie as sort of a Tex-Mex version of nachos. And, just like with nachos, they can be as relatively light and healthy-ish or as greasy as you want to make them. Play with this Frito pie recipe to get it just right for you. Lighten up on the cheese and the Fritos, and go heavy on the fresh lettuce and tomatoes, for example, if you want to make it a little healthier.

I usually use Hormel-brand or Amy's canned vegetarian chili in recipes such as this one, but this Frito pie would be just as quick and easy if you had some leftover chili on hand which you needed to use up.


  • 1 large bag of Fritos (you can lightly crush them for a more casserole-like dish or keep them whole to make your Frito pie more traditional and like nachos)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of vegetarian chili (try Amy's or Hormel brand)
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag of cheese (any kind, ​shredded)
  • Optional: fresh onion (minced) or green onions (chopped)
  • Optional: tomatoes (diced)
  • Optional: lettuce (shredded)
  • Optional: jalapeno peppers (sliced)
  • Optional: fresh cilantro

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for classic meatless frito pie
    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes
  2. First, pre-heat the oven to 350 F.

  3. In a medium casserole or a baking dish, arrange the Fritos (I recommend lightly crushing them first) in a single layer.

    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes
  4. Next, spread the vegetarian chili evenly over the Fritos.

    Spread chili
    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes
  5. Next, add any of the optional ingredients you like on top of the chili: chopped onions, diced fresh tomatoes, shredded lettuce, or jalapeno peppers.

    Add toppings
    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes
  6. Next, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top as the final layer.

    Add cheese
    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes 
  7. Bake your vegetarian Frito pie casserole in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted just the way you like it.

    Bake vegetarian Frito pie
    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes
  8. Top with a few extra toppings if you'd like (sour cream and chopped green onions or a bit of fresh cilantro are great on top) and enjoy your meat-free Frito pie casserole right away.

    Top with a few more toppings
    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes

If you like this vegetarian Frito pie casserole, here's a few more quick and easy vegetarian casserole recipes you'll want to try: