This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer.
This easy vegan chili made with black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans is super simple to pull together for a weeknight meal and takes only 30 minutes to prepare. Full of heart healthy plant protein, high in fiber, and low in calories, this chili is super satisfying.
A good chili is the perfect anecdote for a rough day, making it one of my go to meals when I come home from a challenging day at work. It’s warm and comforting with a bit of a kick.
Chili was one of the first vegetarian recipes I made when I graduated from college and found myself living on my own. I was totally broke living in Los Angeles, spending most of my money on rent, with little left over for groceries. My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, joked that I lived on rice and beans, but he kinda wasn’t lying.
I found that if I made a big pot of chili it could last me through most of the week. With some steamed brown rice it made for a hearty and filling meal.
Back then I substituted ground beef with veggie protein crumbles and used kidney beans. Now, I use a combination of three different beans. After looking at the long list of ingredients in the veggie protein crumbles, I decided to stick with whole ingredients.
When I prepare plant-based vegan meals for my family I use whole foods which means I use minimally processed ingredients. My rule of thumb is if it’s in a package trying to be something it’s not supposed to be, it’s best left on the shelf. I used to rely on a lot of meat substitutes when I was vegetarian. Now that I’m plant-based I don’t use those substitutes at all. Instead opting to make my own whole food plant-based substitute with lentils, vegetables, or in this case beans.
I do however need shortcuts which means I often use canned beans to save time and energy. Preparing dry beans isn’t difficult, but having a can of beans in the cupboard simplifies my life.
This easy vegan chili uses some shortcuts to make it quick to pull together while still using all whole food ingredients.
Ingredients you’ll need for Easy Vegan Chili:
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 organic green pepper
- 1 organic red pepper
- Vegetable Stock or Broth
- 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 can of organic black beans
- 1 can of organic kidney beans
- 1 can of organic pinto beans
- Ground Cumin
- Chili Powder
- Salt and Pepper
This recipe doesn’t use any oil. Instead I simmer the onions, garlic, and peppers in about 1/4 cup of vegetable stock. When first following a whole food plant-based diet I wasn’t sure I was going to prepare stir-fries, roasted vegetables, or simmer onions without oil. Vegetable stock is a great substitution in these instances.
Tools and equipment you’ll need to make Easy Vegan Chili:
A good dutch oven is your best friend when it comes to stews and chilis. I have used mine countless times as I’m a big fan of one pot meals. It makes clean-up so much easier! I’ve been phasing out my nonstick cookware, but this Calphalon Dutch Oven has been my best friend. I’ve had it for 14 years, and it still looks like new.
I also find using a mesh strainer is the best way to rinse canned beans. It’s also great for rinsing fruit and vegetables. This one is extremely sturdy and I can rest the handles on either end of my sink to make rinsing hands free!
HOW TO MAKE EASY VEGAN CHILI – STEP BY STEP
- In a large dutch oven sauté onions and garlic in 1/4 cup of vegetable stock. Cook until tender.
- Add chopped green and red peppers. Cook until soft.
- Add vegetable stock, fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, cumin, chili powder, and paprika.
- Let simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
WHY IS THIS EASY VEGAN CHILI HEALTHIER THAN TRADITIONAL CHILI?
Without ground beef and using only beans this chili cuts back on the fat and increases the fiber. It’s lower in calories than a traditional chili, yet still has a ton of flavor with the mixture of spices. It’s also heart healthy and full of vegetables.
HOW DID THE FAMILY LIKE IT?
My husband has been doing his best to eat healthy lately. It’s challenging for him since he eats out often for work. He’s an omnivore and enjoys a good meaty chili, but he’s been married to me for years, and has eaten my vegetarian chili countless numbers of times. However, he used to load my chili with cheese. This time I served it to him with the nutritional yeast and guacamole. He thought it was very filling and tasty. He’s still not sure about nutritional yeast (he’d rather have cheese) but he’s warming up to it.
My oldest son loved this chili. I didn’t make it too spicy by leaving out cayenne which I love. I’m never sure how he’s going to react to the meals I make. The kid loves his veggies but he’s not into big flavors. This time, the chili was a hit! He asked for a second helping!
My husband and I added cayenne to our portion of the chili. We like ours with a bit more kick, but I left it out of the recipe so that the kids would eat it. Add cayenne to your level spiciness level. A little goes a long way.
You can use whatever beans you have on hand. I’ve made this chili with chickpeas before and it turns out great. You can also add any additional veggies you want to cook. Carrots or celery would add a bit of crunch. Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or with tortilla chips. I also like to pair this chili with my vegan version of Mac and Cheese.
Vegan Chili Toppings
Nutritional yeast, avocado, or guacamole make for delicious vegan chili toppings in place of cheese and sour cream.
CHECK OUT THESE OTHER EASY WEEKNIGHT MEALS!
If you’ve tried my Easy Vegan Chili recipe, please rate it and let me know how it turned out. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more plant-based family recipes your whole family will enjoy!
Easy Vegan Chili
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 organic green pepper chopped
- 1 organic red pepper chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups vegetable stock plus 1/4 cup to simmer vegetables
- 14 oz can organic black beans
- 14 oz can organic kidney beans
- 14 oz can organic pinto beans
- 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large dutch oven or pot sauté onions and garlic in 1/4 cup of vegetable stock. Cook until tender.
- Add chopped green and red pepper. Cook until soft.
- Add vegetable stock, fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, chili powder, cumin and paprika.
- Let simmer on low with the lid on for about 20 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- This recipe tastes great with a spoonful of nutritional yeast and sliced avocado or a dollop of guacamole. The nutritional yeast gives a “cheesy” flavor and the guacamole gives it a creamy texture.