Black Bean Chili

BY : PUBLISHED : September 15th, 2021 UPDATED: October 19th, 2021

How to make a hearty, wholesome vegan black bean chili in one-pot and under 30 minutes, primarily using pantry staples. The result is a budget-friendly, flavor-packed, protein-dense, and gluten-free nourishing black bean chili perfect for the budget-friendly vegan!

 30-Minute, Protein-dense Vegan Black Bean Chili

With Fall just around the corner, it’s officially time to start enjoying more wholesome, comforting dishes like warming soups, stews, and this vegan black bean chili! Combining just 9 ingredients, this black bean chili recipe is made up primarily of pantry staples for a budget-friendly, ready-to-throw-together dish!

In fact, vegan bean chili recipes are one of our favorite last-minute weeknight meals to make because you can really can practically just grab some cans, do minimal chopping, lightly sauté, then chuck it all together to simmer. Then, 15 minutes later (for this black bean chili recipe, anyway), and you have a warm, comforting meal ready to top and serve in several ways. From kitchen to table, this recipe takes just 30 minutes!

Even better, this black bean chili recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, oil-free, and vegan. Luckily, it’s still packed with flavor, protein, and fiber, though. More so, this vegan chili recipe is perfect for meal prep and freezes well, too, making it great for packing for work lunches and traveling. 

Best of all, just like with any chili recipe, feel free to mix it up with all your favorite toppings; herbs, cheese, vegan yogurt, avocado slices – just use what’s available to you and enjoy! If you’re serving a large group, you could even make a topping platter for everyone to pick and choose. 

And if you’re looking for more hearty chili recipes, you might enjoy this one-pot pumpkin chili, quinoa sweet potato chili, creamy roasted red pepper chili, crockpot 4-bean chili, or 3-bean chili over crispy corn cakes (can you tell that we’re obsessed!)! 

The Ingredients and Substitutes

  • Black beans: Two 15oz cans of black beans, with the liquid (not drained). This vegan black bean chili would also work with other beans, though, like pinto beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, or whatever you have in your pantry.
  • Aromatics: You’ll need garlic and onion (red, white, or yellow would work) for this black bean chili recipe. In a pinch, you could use onion powder and/or garlic powder. 
  • Bell pepper: We used green peppers (which are more bitter). However, you could also use red or orange bell peppers instead. 
  • Crushed tomatoes: Use ¾ of a 15oz can of crushed tomatoes (juices included). You can use the leftovers to add flavor to grain dishes, with sauces, soups, and more. 
  • Green chilies: We used a 4oz can of diced green chilies, though you could also use fresh. 
  • Spices: You’ll need ground cumin, cayenne, and chili powder. Adjust the amount to personal taste (especially the chili powder, as it can vary in strength globally). 
  • Water: This black bean chili recipe is oil-free, by using water instead for sauteing. 

The Add-ins and Variations:

  •  Chipotle in adobo sauce: We love this recipe for its smoky flavor and heat (plus the long shelf life of jarred versions is great for budget-conscious vegans). We recommend adding a teaspoon of diced chipotles in adobo, increasing to taste. You can then use leftovers in these Southwest black bean burgers or no queso-dillas!
  • Lentils: For extra fiber and protein, you could add lentils (between ½-¾ cup added in the last 10 minutes) to this black bean chili recipe. You can use canned lentils or use split red lentils. You will need to add extra vegetable broth to the recipe, though – if cooking them in the pan. I recommend only adding it, as required, when the dish becomes too dry. 
  • Other aromatics: For extra flavor, you could add a bay leaf (discard before serving) or even a little cinnamon (¼-½ tsp). 
  • Other vegetables: To further boost the nutrients in this vegan black bean chili, you could add other vegetables like carrots, corn, or celery. You could also add heartier vegetables like sweet potato, squash, or pumpkin (though you will need to increase the cooking time, until the veg is tender). 
  • Lemon/Lime: Serve the black bean chili with lemon or lime wedges to squeeze into the dish just before serving for a bright, fresh flavor. Alternatively, a little vinegar (like sherry vinegar) could be added towards the end, just before serving. 
  • Sugar: If the canned tomatoes are very acidic, you may want to add some sugar (a large pinch) to balance the flavors.  

finished black bean chili in brown bowl against a white background

Optional Toppings:

One of the best ways to boost homemade bean chili is with your choice of toppings/garnishes. Our favorite options include:

  • Vegan sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cilantro, parsley, or scallions
  • Avocado slices
  • Jalapeno chili slices 
  • Fresh salsa – like Pico de Gallo
  • Sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Vegan cheese – like a cotija, feta, or even cheddar-style cheese. 

How to Make Black Bean Chili

Keep scrolling to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and recipe instructions. 

  1. First, prepare the vegetables by finely chopping the onion and bell pepper (seeds and top removed) and mincing the garlic.
  2. Then, heat the water in a large saucepan and add the chopped onion, garlic, and bell pepper. 
  3. Sauté the vegetables over high heat, often stirring, for five minutes (or until the onion is translucent). Add more water as needed (one tablespoon at a time). 
  4. Then, add the crushed tomatoes, beans (with their liquid), chilies, and spices. Then stir to combine. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the flavors are well combined. 

Taste and adjust the seasonings to personal preference then serve your vegan black bean chili with your toppings of choice!

How to Make-Ahead and Store?

Store any leftover vegan black bean chili in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days or the freezer for between 2-3 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. 

You can reheat the black bean chili either on the stovetop or in the microwave until piping hot. Add an extra splash of water/ vegetable broth if needed. 

How To Serve Vegan Black Bean Chili?

There are several ways to enjoy this hearty black bean chili. Enjoy it as-is, with the toppings of your choice and a side of bread (or cornbread – skillet or jalapeno baked). Alternatively, you could serve the chili within burritos (or quesadillas), over a large plate of nachos, or spooned over a baked potato or your grain of choice. 

Top Recipe Tips and FAQs

  • Can you cook black bean chili in a crockpot? You sure can- start by sautéing the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes (optionally, add the pepper too), then adding the spices to ‘bloom’ for a further minute or so. Then add all the ingredients, mix well, and transfer to the slow-cooked. Cook on low for between 4-6 hours or on high for between 1-2 hours. Check on it several times to increase the liquid (with veg stock), if needed. If you’re adding the beans from raw, increase the time to 6-8 hours LOW or 3-4 hours on HIGH.  
  • For a ‘creamier’ black bean chili: You can transfer a small portion of the chili to a blender (or use an immersion blender) to blend some of the chili into a creamy consistency. Then pour it back into the black bean chili. 
  • To adjust how ‘brothy’: Feel free to add vegetable broth to the black bean chili recipe to adjust how ‘soupy’ the results are. 

More Ways to Enjoy Black Beans

You might also enjoy browsing through this collection of 59 Ways to Use a Can of Beans.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

finished black bean chili in brown bowl against a white background

Black Bean Chili

Miranda Rivera
From the author, Miranda Rivera: One of our family favorites! Pretty quick, tasty, and simple to make. Oil free! It’s mostly made up of staples you can stock up on in your pantry. We’ve served this to a couple of people who are not vegan, and they thought it was delicious! Enjoy!
4.95 from 19 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 219 kcal
METHOD Stovetop
DIET Vegan


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 12 ounces of a can of crushed tomatoes 3/4 of the can
  • 30 ounces of black beans (don't drain)
  • 4 ounces of diced green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of water, for sautéing


  • 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, beans and their liquid, chilies, and spices, and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until flavors are blended.


Calories: 219kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 13gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 205mgPotassium: 783mgFiber: 14gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 390IUVitamin C: 37mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 4mg
Keyword black bean, black bean chili, chili, gf, gluten free, glutenfree, plant-based, 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!

View all posts by Miranda Rivera