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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegan Black Bean Chili

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Vegan black bean chili is healthy, hearty, and full of flavor. It is loaded with protein rich beans, wholesome vegetables, and aromatic spices for a comforting lunch or dinner. This easy vegan chili recipe is sure to satisfy both meat-eaters and vegans alike!

Vegan black bean chili, served in a white bowl, topped with avocado and lime.

The fall and winter season is the perfect time of year for a hearty and wholesome pot of chili! While this recipe is great all year round, it provides an extra level of comfort to your weeknight dinners as the weather cools down. With the perfect mix of spices and hearty beans simmered in a fragrant tomato sauce, you will fall in love with this easy recipe! 

One of my favorite things about this chili is the wide array of colorful vegetables. They add a variety of nutrients to your diet, and give this chili a cute nickname – rainbow chili!

This black bean vegan chili is a true winner, as it requires minimal effort and comes together in under 45 minutes. Even on busy days, you can whip together a healthy meal. This will definitely become your favorite chili recipe! 

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Fast: With only 10 minutes of prep and 35 minutes of cooking time, this easy vegan black bean chili recipe is so simple and quick to make.
  • Easy Meal Prep: Make a big batch of this rainbow veggie chili and store in an airtight container in the fridge for easy meal prep!
  • Customizable: This vegan bean chili is very customizable so feel free to switch things up. See my suggestion for sweet potato black bean chili in the variations section!

Latest Recipe Video!

🥘 Ingredients

Make this vegetarian black bean chili recipe with staple pantry ingredients! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for nutritional information and daily values. Here is what you need for a veggie loaded chili:

Ingredients for vegan black bean chili recipe on a white background.
  • Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is a fragrant oil to saute your vegetables in! 
  • Veggies: Onion, garlic, celery, zucchini, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, green bell pepper, and corn combine for the best combination of hearty vegetables. (Red onions or white onions work fine here)
  • Herbs & Spices: Dried oregano, cayenne pepper, chipotle chili powder, and cumin will be mixed in for the highest levels of flavor in this easy vegetarian chili.
  • Tomato: Canned tomatoes and tomato paste give this black and kidney bean chili the thickness and tomato-y flavor we all know and love.
  • Beans: Kidney beans and black beans are the beans of choice for this rainbow chili recipe! You can use dry beans, but I suggest saving time with canned beans.
  • Salt & Pepper: Sea salt and black pepper add that perfect touch to enhance the overall flavor in this vegan black bean recipe. 
  • Vegetable Broth: Veggie broth, or any broth of choice, are used to stew the veggies, beans, and seasoning. It is the perfect base for this vegan bean chili recipe.
  • Optional Toppings: Sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream or sliced green chiles make great toppings for your vegan black bean chili.

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Oil: Any oil can be used to saute your vegetables for this kidney and black bean chili. If you have a different oil on hand as part of your pantry staples, go for it!
  • Vegetables: Customize your chili with whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. 
  • Spices: Play around with different spices like onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, or your own chili flavor blend.
  • Tomato: Spice it up with canned fire-roasted tomatoes.
  • Beans: You can make this easy black bean chili with whatever beans you have on hand. Cannellini is a good swap for dark red kidney beans, while pinto beans are a good swap for black beans. 
  • Broth: Chicken broth can be used in place of the vegetable stock if you are not vegetarian or vegan. You can also use water, but it won’t be as flavorful!

🔪 How To Make Vegan Black Bean Chili

Making meatless black bean chili requires just a few simple steps. Here is how to make this vegan chili with kidney beans and black beans:

Saute Onion & Garlic: In a large pot sauté the oil and onions until softened. To the onions add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Onions sauteeing in a large stock pot on the stove.

Add Veggies: Next, add the celery, zucchini and diced bell peppers. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until softened.

Veggies sauteeing in a large stock pot on the stove.

Add Seasonings: Now, add the corn, oregano, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, diced tomatoes and tomato paste to the large saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Rainbow veggie chili simmering in a pot on the stove.

Cover & Cook: Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook, covered, for another 10 minutes.

Ingredients for rainbow chili cooking in a pot on the stove.

Simmer: Remove the lid and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly.

Kidney beans and black beans added to tomatoes and veggies cooking in a large stock pot on the stove.

Serve: Serve the black bean vegetarian chili immediately with your favorite toppings.

Vegan black bean chili, served in a white bowl, topped with avocado and lime.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Adjust Heat: Adjust the heat by adding more cayenne and chili powder or reduce the amount if you’d prefer a milder chili.
  • Dice Veggies Uniformly: Dice all vegetables the same size to ensure even cooking.
  • Adjust Thickness: If the sauce isn’t as thick as you’d like when it has finished cooking you can gently mash some of the beans while stirring or use an immersion blender for a few seconds.
  • Cooking Methods: This can be made as an Instant Pot chili recipe – just dump everything into the Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for 5 minutes, natural release for 10 minutes, and then manual release. All of these ingredients can also be thrown into a slow cooker on high heat for an easy, hands-off simmering stew.

📖 Variations 

  • Add Lentils: Make a black bean and lentil chili by swapping the kidney beans for green or red lentils. They make a great addition!
  • Add Sweet Potatoes: Give this recipe more flavor and added comfort with sweet potatoes. You’ll love this as a vegan black bean sweet potato chili!
  • Add Pumpkin: Next time, make a pumpkin chili for the fall season by adding small chunks of pumpkin (or butternut squash). You can add a touch of sweetness with maple syrup.
  • Add Cocoa: Yes, cocoa! A small amount of cocoa powder complements the taste of the tomato and beans really well and brings out a bold rich flavor. It won’t taste chocolate-y! It is a common addition to Mexican black bean chili recipes!
  • Add More Protein: The beans are already a good source of protein but feel free to add more beans or other legumes to this dish. You also can use plant based meat crumbles like Beyond Meat crumbles for that classic meaty texture. If you are not vegan, you can add in ground beef or ground turkey, and cheddar cheese.

🍽 Serving Suggestions

Plant based black bean chili can be enjoyed just as it is, topped with your favorite toppings such as avocado, cilantro, vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, or green chilis. Pair with a side of cornbread or tortilla chips and lime wedges (for a squirt of fresh lime juice)! To level up this dish, here are a few suggestions:

🙌 Dietary Adaptations

This delicious vegan chili recipe is already gluten free, vegan, and sugar free. It will naturally be safe for many different dietary needs, but feel free to customize and remove ingredients that do not work for you. For an oil free option, simply saute the veggies in a bit of the vegetable broth.

🫙 Storage Directions

To Store In The Fridge: The chili can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. This recipe for black bean chili tastes even better the next day – so feel free to make a huge batch and eat for a few days!

To Freeze: Let the chili cool completely, then transfer to an airtight freezer safe container. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge the night before you want to reheat it!

To Reheat: Reheat the leftover vegan chili with black beans in a microwave safe bowl, covered, or heat over the stovetop in a pan on medium heat. Stir occasionally and add a splash of water if needed.

❓Recipe FAQs

CAN YOU USE BLACK BEANS INSTEAD OF KIDNEY BEANS FOR CHILI?

While this is a chili with black beans and kidney beans, you can always double down on the black beans and skip the kidney beans entirely. However, I love the combination and extra benefits you get from kidney beans. Having 2 or even 3 types of beans in a chili allows for variation in texture and flavor.

WHAT ARE THE BEST BEANS FOR CHILI?

Any bean can really be added to chili, depending on your preference. The most common beans for chili are pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans. Other beans that could be used include fava beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, or navy beans. Some chili recipes even include lentils for a meatier bite.

SHOULD BLACK BEANS BE DRAINED BEFORE ADDING TO CHILI?

It depends! If you like a chili that is a bit thinner, feel free to toss the whole can in there! The black bean water can actually add a nice flavor. I do recommend draining the kidney beans, as those do have more of a slimy film and the water doesn’t really enhance the flavors of this vegetarian chili recipe.

Vegan black bean chili, served in a white bowl, topped with avocado and lime.

🥣 More Easy Vegan Recipes!

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📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

https://youtu.be/_C0wx8M-bNs
Vegan black bean chili, served in a white bowl, topped with avocado and lime.
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Vegan Black Bean Chili

Vegan black bean chili is healthy, hearty, and full of flavor. It is loaded with protein rich beans, wholesome vegetables, and aromatic spices for a comforting lunch or dinner. This easy vegan chili recipe is sure to satisfy both meat-eaters and vegans alike!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Vegan, vegetarian
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Calories: 210kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

For The Chili

Optional Toppings

  • diced avocado or guacamole
  • fresh cilantro
  • vegan shredded cheese
  • vegan sour cream
  • sliced green chili
Shop Ingredients on Jupiter

Instructions

  • In a large pan sauté the oil and onions until softened.
  • To the onions add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Next, add the celery, zucchini and diced bell peppers. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  • To the pan add the corn, oregano, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook, covered, for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly.
  • Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.

Notes

  • Chili can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings.
  • Adjust the heat by adding more cayenne and chili powder or reduce the amount if you’d prefer a milder chili.
  • Dice all vegetables the same size to ensure even cooking.
  • Water can be substituted with vegetable or chicken broth to add some additional flavor.
  • If the sauce isn’t as thick as you’d like when it has finished cooking you can gently mash some of the beans while stirring.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1071mg | Potassium: 927mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 9g

10 responses to “Vegan Black Bean Chili”

  1. I’ve been trying to eat less meat, so made this chili for dinner tonight. It was INCREDIBLE! I didn’t even miss the meat!5 stars

  2. This chili has so much flavor, we thoroughly enjoyed every bite and no one missed the meat. Thanks for such a tasty recipe!5 stars

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