Easy Three Bean Chili Recipe - The Simple Veganista (2024)

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This quick and easy Three Bean Chili recipe is warm, cozy and ready in 30 minutes. It’s a hearty vegan chili and perfect for a healthy lunch, dinner or meal prep idea!

Easy Three Bean Chili Recipe - The Simple Veganista (1)

I love a good chili, a few of my favorites include this Quinoa Chili Verde, Butternut Squash Chili, Easy Vegetable Chili and this hearty Ultimate Tempeh Chili.

A good chili recipe is a must and this vegan Three Bean Chili is loaded with flavor, protein and fiber. Plus, it’s easy to put together and ready in about 30 minutes!

When the chilly weather sets in, cozy up with a bowl of this flavorful and hearty chili!

Easy Three Bean Chili Recipe - The Simple Veganista (2)

Table of Contents show

Ingredients You’ll Need

In this recipe we’ll simmer together onion, garlic, jalapeno, 3 types of beans, tomatoes, chili powder, chipotle powder and a bit of cocoa creating a delicious, warm and hearty lunch or dinner.

  • The Beans. This chili recipe calls for a mix of kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans, but of course use your preferred combination of beans or whatever you have on hand.
  • Aromatics. You’ll start the chili with onion and garlic, and jalapeno for a little heat.
  • The Spices. This 3-Bean Chili is loaded with spices. I find it’s pretty much a perfect combination of chili powder and chipotle powder. Feel free to adjust the amounts to suit your taste.
  • Liquids. Use either water or vegetable broth. For the most flavor, use veggie broth.
  • My Favorite Secret Ingredient.Adding a little bit of cocoa gives depth. Do use the darkest chocolate you can, 70% and above. It’s super delicious and I always try to add a bit to all of my chili recipes.

Easy Three Bean Chili Recipe - The Simple Veganista (3)

How To Make Three Bean Chili

  • Saute: In large pot heat olive oil over medium heat, saute onion for 5 – 7 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, jalapeno, chili and chipotle powder, cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  • Simmer: Add the beans, tomatoes, chocolate, and liquids, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover askew, and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Add more water as needed. Taste for flavor, season with salt and pepper, and add anything else you feel it needs.

Now all you have to do is enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

It’s great served with a sliced green onions, a dollop of vegan sour cream, a squeeze of lime.

I love pairing my chili with this vegan Sweet Chia Cornbread or Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins. Break up the cornbread and add to the chili, it’s the perfect compliment of spicy chili with sweet cornbread. There’s just something about this combination that takes chili over the top, making it a perfect meal!

Easy Three Bean Chili Recipe - The Simple Veganista (4)

How Long Will Leftovers Keep?

Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container. Re-warm on the stovetop or the microwave. It makes a great meal prep for the week with vegan cornbread on the side.

Can You Freeze Chili?

Yes, it freezes wonderfully for up to 2 – 3 months! My favorite ways to freeze chili is in individual portion sizes using freezer safe containers. Then when I want to cozy up with a bowl of warm chili I can just pull it from the freezer and warm it up. You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags or containers.

More Recipes You’ll Love!

  • Sweet Potato + Black Bean Chili
  • Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
  • Vegan Minestrone Soup
  • Cajun Red Beans and Rice
  • West African Peanut Stew
  • Easy Vegetable Chili
  • The Ultimate Tempeh Chili

Easy Three Bean Chili Recipe - The Simple Veganista (5)

If you try this easy vegan chili recipe, please let me know!Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



Easy Three Bean Chili Recipe - The Simple Veganista (6)
Print Recipe
★★★★★5 from 32 reviews

This quick and easy 3 bean chili is perfect when you want a cozy warm vegan chili in 30 minutes or less! Healthy, hearty and perfect for lunch, dinner or meal prep ideas.

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Entree, Chili
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Vegan, American



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water (for water saute)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds removed and diced (a few seeds ok for extra heat)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder or small piece of dark chocolate (about 1/2 oz.), optional
  • 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth, + more if needed
  • mineral salt & pepper, to taste

To garnish

  • green onions, sliced
  • cashew sour cream
  • lime wedges


Saute: In large pot heat olive oil over medium heat, saute onion for 7 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, jalapeno, chili and chipotle powder, cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

Simmer: Add the beans, tomatoes, chocolate, and liquids, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover askew, and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Add more water as needed. Taste for flavor, season with salt and pepper, and add anything else you feel it needs.

Serve with the sliced green onions, cashew sour cream and vegan sweet chia cornbreador jalapeno cornbread muffins.

Serves 4

Store: Leftovers can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for 5 – 6 days. To keep longer, freeze in freezer safe containers for up to 2 – 3 months.


Mix and match your beans to whatever you like or have on hand.

Add veggies if you like such as chopped celery, carrots, bell peppers, corn, etc…delicious! Adding more vegetables will make this go further giving about 5 servings.

UPDATED: This 3 Bean Chili was originally posted in August 2012, and has been updated with new photos and helpful tips in September 2019.

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Easy Three Bean Chili Recipe - The Simple Veganista (2024)


What is the best bean combination for chili? ›

The best beans for chili are pinto, kidney, and black beans, like in this easy and tasty recipe. This 3-bean chili freezes great for meals later in the week. If you prefer thinner chili, add an extra can of tomato sauce. The green chiles are not hot and add a wonderful flavor, so don't be afraid to use them.

Do I drain canned tomatoes for chili? ›

DO NOT DRAIN CHILI BEANS. (That's what thickens it up, I don't use tomato paste) add juice and all! Do Not drain Stewed tomatoes,diced tomatoes,or tomatoes with green chiles. Add all ingredients, and seasoning, mix.

Should chili be thick or soupy? ›

Traditionally, we expect a robust, spicy base, meat and/or beans, perhaps some bonus veggies, and a thick, rich consistency. Unlike soups, which are brothy, or even bisques, which are creamy yet thinner, chili is meant to be more stew-like; it's a definite stick-to-your-ribs creation.

How do you make chili more flavorful? ›

Elevate with Extra Flavor

Elevate your chili recipe by adding an extra layer of flavor. Cocoa powder, bacon, cinnamon, ground coffee and tomato paste will all add a rich sweet & salty flavors that are sure to surprise and delight.

Are dry beans or canned beans better for chili? ›

As to whether to choose canned or dried beans, that's your choice, but many outlets — Taste of Home among them — argue that the latter option works best, as dried beans retain their shape better and tend not to go mushy once cooked.

Should I use crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce for chili? ›

If you are making chili that will cook for 30 to 40 minutes, diced tomatoes will work best. If you want to make a quick, fresh-flavored tomato sauce with basil, choose the crushed tomatoes.

Do you use tomato paste or tomato sauce in chili? ›

Tomato paste is a great way to add bonus tomato flavor, and thickness, to a chili recipe. To get the best flavor it needs to be browned. Add a couple tablespoons (or a whole can if you want a thicker soup base) directly to the pan after cooking the meat and onions.

What kind of onion is used in chili? ›

Yellow Onions: These are the most versatile and widely available type of onion, and are a good choice for chili con carne. They have a slightly sweet, sharp, and tangy flavor that adds depth and complexity to the dish.

Why do you put cornmeal in chili? ›

Cornmeal does an excellent job of absorbing extra liquids so adding a tablespoon of it to the chili will thicken the final dish. Mix 2 parts of cold water and 1 part of cornmeal, make it a slurry, and add this to the pot. Allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes after you add the slurry.

Does tomato paste make chili thicker? ›

Tomato paste. This is probably the easiest and maybe most common addition to add thickness to a chili recipe. Tomato paste is super thick and not only adds texture but adds a richer and deeper flavor to chili.

What liquid to add to chili? ›

Chili cooks low and slow, so you need enough liquid to tenderize the meat and keep everything from drying out. That liquid should also add flavor to the chili, so use chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or beer.

What is the secret to really good chili? ›

Add a touch of sweetness

Chili is rich, deep and often spicy, so adding a sweet ingredient is a great way to create balanced flavor. We've found that adding diced carrots is the easiest way to add natural sweetness, but you can also use vegetables like sweet potatoes or winter squash.

What is the secret to amazing chili? ›

Here Are Our Six Secret Ingredients for the Best Chili
  • Canned Puréed Pumpkin. You already use this to make pumpkin-infused quick breads and waffles, but did you know you can add it to chili too? ...
  • Cocoa Powder. ...
  • Coffee. ...
  • Maple Syrup. ...
  • Pepperoncinis (Plus Liquid) ...
  • Root Beer.
Sep 2, 2022

Does Gordon Ramsay put beans in chili? ›

Gordon Ramsay's recipe for chili con carne includes onion, a red chili pepper, fresh tomatoes, and kidney beans. Ramsay's chili recipe is lengthy — it includes everything from ground cumin and sweet paprika to a cinnamon stick, ground beef or beef mince, and garlic.

What are the least gassy beans for chili? ›

The easiest beans to digest (therefore less likely to cause gas), according to Country Life Foods, are lentils, black eyed beans, adzuki beans and mung beans. (Click through to learn more about the amazing health benefits of mung beans.) The harder ones to digest are red kidney, soy, black and lima beans.

What beans go in chili besides kidney? ›

Best Kidney Bean Substitutes by Common Use

Black beans, garbanzo beans, and cannellini beans will work best in chili and soups where you want the firm texture of a bean. If you do not mind the beans breaking down a bit, pinto beans will also work well.

What kind of beans are in mixed chili beans? ›

We've decided to mix it up and combine two chili faves in one can: kidney and pinto beans slow-simmered in a mild sauce of garlic, onion and spices.


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