October 30, 2019
Vegetarian Bean Chili

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. 

vegetarian bean chili made with 3 beans

Hey, hey! Who is ready for chili season? I landed in St. Louis from Philly yesterday afternoon and the chill in the air almost took my breath away. Bam. Stepped on the plane and was immediately greeted by balmy fall weather. So, I of course headed straight to the store from the airport to grab all of the ingredients for this vegetarian bean chili. 

I have been dying for cold weather like this for the past month and a half. September was freakishly warm, and we spent most of October in the low 70’s. Perfect, but not exactly cuddle inside on the couch and eat chili kinda weather.

That’s my litmus test for soup season: I need it to be cold enough that I want to wear sweatpants and fuzzy slippers, be under a big blanket on the couch, and have some type of cornbread or crispy 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 March.

vegetarian bean chili

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.

3 beans for chili chili bean recipe

What kind of beans for chili?

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! 

Are beans good for you?

Yes! 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. 

vegetarian bean chili made with canned beans 3 bean chili bean recipe vegetarian bean chili made with canned beans

Hope you love this vegetarian bean chili as much as we do! Don’t forget to pile on the toppings; I love sour cream, 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’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 and Tempeh Chili.

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vegetarian bean chili

Vegetarian Bean Chili

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, stew, chili
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American, Vegetarian, Vegan

Description

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.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, stew, chili
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American, Vegetarian, Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, stew, chili
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American, Vegetarian, Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups diced white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional, depending on heat preference)
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder (can go with less if you don’t want it very spicy; you can always add more. I find that 4T is perfect)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
  • Toppings of choice (I like sour cream, cheddar cheese and scallions)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the garlic, celery, peppers and sweet potato and cook until vegetables are very soft, stirring often, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add in the spices, beans, tomatoes and broth and reduce heat to low. Stir to combine, cover and simmer for at least an hour. Stir in the vinegar and let simmer another 10 minutes.
  4. Divide into bowls and top!

Notes

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.

did you make this?

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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  1. I LOVE chili, I make it about 2 times a month lol! I have always used ground turkey as a healthier alternative for beef. However, I am trying to eat less meat so I am definitely going to try this recipe out. Thank you!

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