As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This one-pot black bean chili is a must-have cold-weather comfort food! High in protein and easy to make in less than 30 minutes, it’s perfect for filling family dinners or healthy meal prep.

a bowl of black bean chili.
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email & get this sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get great new recipes from us every week!

A 30-Minute Protein-Packed Black Bean Chili Recipe

It’s amazing what you can do with a can of black beans. When we aren’t turning this ‘meaty’ bean into veggie burgers, tacos, and meatballs, we’re dumping them into a pot of chili. So hearty and satisfying, they’re a shining star in this vegan black bean chili recipe.

It’s an easy, one-pot, and budget-friendly dish with sneaky protein (about 30 grams worth!) and indulgent layers of smoky-savory flavors. It’s also naturally gluten-free and oil-free, so you can feel great about every bite.

The best part? This chili is a breeze to put together, whether you’re a beginner home chef or already a pro. Simply cook the everyday ingredients in one pot, then let them simmer for less than 30 minutes. Curl up with a steaming hot bowl on chilly evenings or store the batch for later—it’s perfect for meal prep!

One way we like to take this vegan bean chili to the next level is with fun toppings. Dressing up each bowl with shredded vegan cheese, a dollop of vegan sour cream, salsa, or sliced jalapenos gets us excited to indulge in each spoonful. There’s lots of room for customization here, so feel free to get creative.

Looking for more vegan chili recipes? Check out cozy quinoa and sweet potato chili, vegan bean chili, easy vegan roasted red bell pepper chili, and lentil bean chili.

Ingredients and Substitutes

ingredients for black bean chili.
  • Black beans: Canned black beans are the star of the show in this vegan chili recipe. They’re not only a wonderful source of plant-based fiber and protein, but also make this chili feel super hearty and satisfying! Remember: don’t drain the liquid from the canned beans; it adds a lot of great flavor!
  • Aromatics: Fresh garlic and onions start the chili with a baseline of savory flavor. Use any type of onion you like, such as red, white, or yellow.
  • Bell pepper: We added green bell peppers but you could use red or orange bell peppers instead. Alternatively, use a combination of different colors for extra color and flavor.
  • Crushed tomatoes: We only used ¾ of a can of crushed tomatoes, but the leftovers can be used in your favorite pasta dishes, tomato sauces, or soups.  

You can use fresh chopped tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes when they come into season (usually during summer and early fall).

  • Green chilies: Canned green chilies are a source of subtle heat. You can substitute these for diced jalapeno or serrano peppers if you’d like.  
  • Spices: We seasoned the chili with a blend of ground cumin, cayenne, and chili powder.
  • Water: The aromatics are sautéed in a small layer of water to make this black bean chili recipe oil-free.

What Else Could I Add?

Customize the flavor of the chili with any of these add-in ideas:

  • More beans: Make this a mixed bean chili by swapping some of the black beans for pinto beans, chickpeas, white beans, or kidney beans.
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: We love the smoky flavor and touch of heat from chipotles in adobo! Add only 1 pepper, plus 1 to 2 teaspoons of adobo sauce, for a mild heat or up to 3 peppers and 4 teaspoons of sauce to make the chili extra spicy. 
  • Lentils: Substitute ¼ cup of black beans with cooked red, green, or brown lentils. 
  • Vegan ground “beef”: Sauté your favorite store-bought vegan ground “beef” with the aromatics to make the chili extra hearty.
  • Bay leaf: Simmering a bay leaf in the chili (discard before serving) will add a nice earthy flavor.
  • Cinnamon or vegan chocolate: 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon or cocoa powder pairs surprisingly well with the bold spices in chili!
  • Other vegetables: Add vegetables like carrots, corn, celery, butternut squash, pumpkin, or sweet potato for a thicker and more nutrient-dense dish. 
  • Whole grains: Add bulk with cooked quinoa, buckwheat, or bulgur.
  • Citrus juice: Finish the chili with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice for a bright and balanced flavor.

Another surefire way to give your homemade chili a boost is with lots of chili toppings. Our favorites include:

How to Make Vegan Black Bean Chili

  • Heat the water in a large skillet.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper to the skillet and sauté until softened. 

This black bean chili recipe is naturally oil-free! The aromatics are sautéed in a thin layer of water, but you could also use vegetable broth. Or, if you don’t mind the oil, use olive oil or avocado oil instead.

pouring water into a skillet.
cooking onions, garlic, and peppers in a skillet.
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes, canned beans (with the liquid), green chilies, and spices.
pouring chopped tomatoes into a skillet.
pouring black beans into a skillet.
pouring green chilis into a skillet.
pouring spices into a skillet full of black bean chili.
  • Heat the chili to a simmer.
  • Cook the chili until the flavors have come together.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  • Serve the vegan black bean chili in bowls with the toppings of your choice.

FAQs

Is black bean chili spicy?

The green chilies and cayenne add a subtle spice to the chili, but the heat is mild. If you don’t like spicy food, omit the cayenne pepper.

Can you make this recipe in a slow cooker instead?

Yes! Sauté the onion, peppers, and garlic in a skillet as normal, then add them and the rest of the ingredients to a slow cooker. Place the lid on top and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.

Can you make this with dry black beans?

Yes, you can use dried beans instead of canned. Soak the beans in water overnight, then boil them in fresh water the next day until they’re soft and tender. Add the cooked beans and the bean cooking water to the chili as normal.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • For a smoother consistency: If you like your chili with a little less texture, you can blend a portion of it with an immersion blender or a regular blender until smooth.
  • If the consistency is too thick: Stir a splash of vegetable broth into the chili to thin the consistency.
  • Double or triple the recipe: If you’re serving a crowd or want to have extras on hand for meal prep, double or triple the recipe and store the batch in individual airtight containers in the fridge or freezer.
completed black bean chili in pan

Serving Suggestions

After you’ve dressed up the chili with all kinds of delicious toppings, complete the meal with any of these tasty side dishes:

You also can’t go wrong serving the black bean chili on top of baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, french fries, vegan nachos, dairy-free mac and cheese, or vegan hot dogs!

Storage Instructions

This black bean chili stores very well in the fridge and freezer. After the leftovers have cooled to room temperature, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw leftovers in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Reheat the vegan bean chili in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave until warmed through. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth to thin the consistency, if needed.

black bean chili in a storage container.

More Vegan Black Bean Recipes

You’ll also love the recipes in this list of 59 Ways to Use a Can of Beans!

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Black Bean Chili

4.92 from 35 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 -6
This one-pot black bean chili is a must-have cold-weather comfort food! High in protein and easy to make in less than 30 minutes, it’s perfect for filling family dinners or healthy meal prep.

Ingredients 

  • About 3 tablespoons of water (or more as needed), for sautéing
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • ¾ of a (15-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes, in their juices
  • 2 (15-ounces each) can black beans, in their juices (don't drain)
  • 4 ounces of can diced green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

Instructions 

  • Heat the water in a large pot. Add chopped onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Sauté over high heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add water as needed.
  • Add crushed tomatoes in their juices, beans and their liquid, chilies, and spices, and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until flavors are blended.

Video

Notes

  • For a smoother consistency: If you like your chili with a little less texture, you can blend a portion of it with an immersion blender or a regular blender until smooth.
  • If the consistency is too thick: Stir a splash of vegetable broth into the chili to thin the consistency.
  • Double or triple the recipe: If you’re serving a crowd or want to have extras on hand for meal prep, double or triple the recipe and store the batch in individual airtight containers in the fridge or freezer.

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 15gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 932mgPotassium: 1035mgFiber: 17gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 389IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 127mgIron: 6mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Miranda Rivera

Cooking vegan meals brings such excitement and richness to my life! The simple things in life are so beautiful to me. I love meeting new people. Welcome to my plant-based journey!

More about Miranda Rivera

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. I just made this and will update this with a review soon. I added a few drops of liquid smoke and used one can each of black beans and garbanzo beans since that’s what I had. I took your suggestion and blended ~1/3 cup with my immersion blender to thicken. This recipe is definitely closer to 4 servings.

      1. 5 stars
        I wasn’t sure about a chili recipe that used only 0.5 t chili powder. but it worked! This recipe is a keeper.