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4.84 from 6 votes
chili - healthy vegan bean chili
Bean Chili
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 20 mins

Hearty, filling, satisfying, and packed full of vegetables.

Servings: 4
Bean Chili
  • 3/4 cup dried black beans, soaked*
  • 2/3 cup dried pinto beans, soaked*
  • 1/2 cup dried kidney beans, soaked*
  • 10 tomatoes, halved**
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 japaleño pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth***
  • salt, to taste
Chili Powder****
  • 3 New Mexico chiliies, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 Cascabel chilies, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 Ancho chilies, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp, dried cumin seeds, whole
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
Vegan Chili
  1. Add the soaked beans into a medium saucepan. Cover them with water and bring it to a boil. Remove any foam that forms. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook the beans until tender. The time will vary depending on your own beans, but you are looking at approximately 45 minutes.

  2. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet. Add a little bit of olive oil and salt, and toss the tomatoes around until evenly coated. Roast the tomatoes at 400°F/205°C until slightly charred, about 25 minutes.

  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and saute the aromatics until translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the jalapeno peppers and chili powder and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

  4. Add the celery and red bell pepper and continue stirring until softened. Chop up the roasted tomatoes and add them to the saucepan together with their juices.

  5. Add the cooked beans, a little bit of the bean-cooking liquid (or vegetable broth), and tomato paste. Stir and season with salt. Let the chili simmer for 2-3 hours. If the chili becomes too thick, add some more vegetable broth. If it's too thin, add more tomato paste or mash some beans and vegetables to help the chili thicken up.

  6. Serve immediately, or for best flavor, allow to cool and refrigerate overnight. Reheat, and serve with desired garnishes.

  7. Store leftover chili covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. The easiest way to reheat the chili is to remove it from the freezer 24 hours before reheating and place it in the refrigerator to thaw slightly. Reheat on a stovetop, adding extra 1/4 cup vegetable broth to prevent it from scorching. Stir regularly as the chili heats up. 

Chili Powder
  1. Clean the chili peppers: use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the stem away and then shake or scrape the seeds from the inside of each pepper. Cut the peppers into smaller pieces before adding them to the pan to toast.

  2. Toast the chilies and cumin in a medium cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Move the pan around constantly, until you begin to smell the cumin, approximately 4-5 minutes. Set aside and cool completely.

  3. Once cool, process the chiles, cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika in a blender. Leave the lid in place until any dust settles so you do not get a cloud of ground chili peppers in your face.

Recipe Notes

*3/4 cup dry black beans is equivalent to 1 (15 oz/425 g) can. 
*1/2 cup dry kidney beans is equivalent to 1 (15 oz/425 g) can. 
*1/2 cup dry pinto beans is equivalent to 1 (15 oz/425 g) can.
*Soak the beans for at least 8 hours (or overnight). To quick-soak, pour boiling hot water over the beans and soak for 1 hour, uncovered. Drain, rinse, and use as instructed.
**You can also use 1 (28 oz/794 g) can of fire-roasted tomatoes.
***If you're using dried beans, you can use the bean-cooking liquid instead of vegetable broth.
****The chili powder is on the spicier side, so add it in stages. If you use store-bought chili powder, 2 Tbsp./16 g should be fine.
*****The prep time does not include soaking the dried beans (8 hours).