Three Bean Chili is the perfect comfort food for cold winter's evenings. Loaded with vegetables, this is the best vegan chili out there! Enjoy it for lunch or dinner. This easy recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
Three Bean Chili
I rarely cook the same dish twice but this Three Bean Chili is one that I make a few times a year during the cold months. I like to use canned beans and tomatoes, making it an easy dish to cook with items that I already have in my pantry. My 3 beans of choice when making chili are black, kidney, and pinto.
The recipe makes a whole lotta chili, so invite some friends over and chow down! I’ve made it for potlucks, casual gatherings with friends, and movie nights. I even made it for a chili cook off at the office once, and several of my omnivore coworkers told me that they preferred it to the meaty versions others brought in.
How to Make Three Bean Chili
This recipe is super easy to make!
- First you sautéed the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, until it softens.
- Then you add the peppers, zucchini, and squash and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until they soften.
- Next you add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, and spices.
- You bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for about half an hour.
- Serve your chili topped with diced avocado, sliced scallions, and chopped cilantro. You can also add vegan sour cream and non-dairy cheese shreds, if you like.
Serving Your Three Bean Chili
I like to serve my chili in a big bowl, topped with avocado, scallions, and cilantro, and sometimes a dollop of non-dairy sour cream, if I happen to have it on hand. Sometimes I'll serve it over a baked potato or a baked sweet potato. You can top a vegan smudge or tofu pup with a few spoonfuls, too.
Slow Cooker Chili
This recipe can cook up easily in a slow cooker, if you want, so that dinner is ready when you are. Just place all of the ingredients in your crockpot in the morning and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low.
Using Dried Beans
If you prefer to cook dry beans and use fresh tomatoes, the recipe will work just as well. You'll need about 6 or 8 diced fresh tomatoes, depending on their size. And you'll need 1¾ cup of each type of bean: black, pinto, and kidney.
How to Customize Your Chili
It's easy to customize this recipe and make it your own.
- If you don't like summer squash or zucchini, you can substitute them with other vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes.
- Instead of bell peppers, you can use poblano or anaheim.
- You can change the beans buy using white beans or even chickpeas.
- If you'd like to add a little meatiness to your chili, you can add crumbled tempeh or veggie burger crumbles.
Freezing Your Chili
Since this recipe does make so much chili, I like to freeze some of it so that I have dinner ready to go on busy days. It will last for about 3 or 4 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer. When you're ready to eat it, just thaw it in the fridge or at room temperature and reheat it in a pot on the stove until hot and bubbly.
Three Bean Chili
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 or 2 small chili peppers such as habanaro or jalapeno, chopped
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 yellow summer squash, diced
- 1 14-ounce can kidney beans
- 1 14-ounce can pinto beans
- 1 14-ounce can black beans
- 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 28-ounce can plain tomato sauce
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 avocado chopped, for serving, optional
- 2 scallions sliced, for serving, optional
- In a large pot over medium heat, cook the onions in the oil for about 5 minutes, until they become soft and translucent. Add the garlic, peppers, zucchini, and squash and cook for about 10 minutes, until they soften.
- Add the tomatoes, sauce, beans, stock, and spices. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Let simmer for half an hour or longer.
- Serve hot, garnished with chopped avocado and scallions
Other Chili Recipes You Might Enjoy Include:
- Black Eyed Pea Chili from The Plant-Based Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson
- Pumpkin White Bean Chili
- White Bean Chili