Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
Vegetarian Bean Chili! This 3 bean chili recipe is so hearty and delicious, you won’t miss the meat!
Pretty sure that chili season is the best season. I landed in St. Louis from Omaha yesterday afternoon and the chill in the air almost took my breath away. We’ve had a wild winter of 60 degree weather in between snow and ice storms but I was immediately greeted with bone chilling wind when I stepped off the plane. So of course I headed straight to the store from the airport to grab all of the ingredients for this vegetarian bean chili.
I adore soup season, especially when the weather outside is cold enough to wear sweatpants and fuzzy slippers, be under a big blanket on the couch, and have some type of cornbread or no-knead bread to dunk into my bowl. Now that we are officially here, I’m planning a batch of chili at least every few weeks until spring shows up.
While I have several chili recipes on my website, I wanted to make a classic. Something that everyone, both vegetarians and meat-eaters could appreciate. A 3-bean chili that packs in the best of the best: black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans with lots of spices, aromatics and a little sweet potato to round out the spicy heat.
This is the chili beans recipe that I come back to over and over again. It’s simple, it’s effortless and it’s always a winner.
Here’s what you’ll need to enjoy this healthy, 3-bean vegetarian chili. It may seem like quite aa few ingredients, but most of them are pantry staples like spices and canned goods.
Pinto beans and kidney beans are a must in vegetarian chili, though I also like to add in black beans. Garbanzo beans can be an additional add, though I personally think they weigh down the soup too much and aren’t as good as pinto, kidney or black. That’s why this is a 3 bean chili and not 4!
Start by heating the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Next, stir in the garlic, celery, peppers and sweet potato and cook until vegetables are very soft, stirring often, about 15 minutes.
Add in the spices, beans, tomatoes and broth then reduce heat to low. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer for at least an hour. Right before serving, stir in the vinegar and let simmer another 10 minutes.
Divide into bowls and top! My favorite toppings are sour cream, scallions, cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips and chopped cilantro.
To freeze, place cooled chili in airtight containers and place in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. To freeze, place in a freezer bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
When ready to eat, let thaw overnight in the fridge then reheat in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave until warmed through.
Beans are incredibly good for you, and it’s something that I’m always encouraging my clients to eat more of. They are a fantastic source of plant-based protein and fiber and rich in both iron and zinc- two nutrients that are sometimes low in a plant-based diet. Additionally, beans are also a good source of the amino acid lysine, which can also be limited in a plant-based diet. It’s one of the reasons I recommend a source of beans (or lentils/soy products) daily.
As an added bonus, a 2013 meta-analysis found a clear connection between eating beans and reduced risk of heart disease and bean consumption has also been associated with a lower risk of some types of cancer, specifically colon cancer.
If that’s not enough reason for you to eat mo’ beans, they also taste amazing! Especially in this rich and hearty chili sauce.
If you’re looking for more chili beans recipe, then you’ll also want to consider my:
Instant Pot Vegetable Lentil Chili
Vegan Indian Dal Chili
Black Bean and Bear Chili
Vegan Pumpkin Chili
White Bean Vegetarian Chili
Chili Beans with Creamy Polenta
One Pot Vegan Chili Mac
Make sure to make a batch of my pumpkin cornbread muffins to pair with this chili! Like regular cornbread muffins, but more moist and with added pumpkin for a boost of vitamin A.
Hope you love this vegetarian bean chili as much as we do! Don’t forget to pile on the toppings, I love sour cream, avocado, cheddar cheese and a few pickled jalapeño slices on mine. If you want to keep this 3-bean chili dairy free, then simply use your favorite dairy-free options.
If you make this recipe, make sure to come back to rate the recipe and leave a comment. Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day!Print
Vegetarian Bean Chili! This 3 bean chili recipe is so hearty and delicious, you won’t miss the meat! Ready in less than an hour, this chili beans recipe is healthy, vegan and gluten-free.
Can also be made in the slow cooker; sauté vegetables as directed. Then transfer to the base of a slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer on low for 6-8 hours.
This recipe was first published in 2019 and updated in 2022.
The Ultimate Plant-Based Protein Cookbook + Course
(Includes 40+ recipes!)
FREE 7-DAY COURSE + COOKBOOK