This Vegan Bean Chilli is an all time favourite in our house. Full of yummy beans and tasty flavours, this recipe lends itself to all kinds of other additional recipe ideas.
The very very first recipe I blogged about was my Bean Chilli. It's one of my all time favourite recipes. It's one I turn to over & over. I make it for easy Sunday lunches with friends, I make it in batches and freeze it & I make it when I'm in need of a comforting easy dish. A big pot of it feeds two people for 2-3 days. We use it in tacos, as the base for shepherdess pie and over nachos, it even gets used to fill little hand pies made from filo pastry.
It's such a beloved dish that when I was ill recently, my husband made it for me to cheer me up. And it really really worked. It felt like a hug in a bowl.
There's something about the combination of beans, warming spices and chilli that is an instant mood lifter.
- Beans: I try to use at least 3 different types of beans in my vegan chilli for texture and variation, but don't worry if you don't have three types to hand. Use whatever your favourite is. I like to use a combo of black beans, kidney beans and cannelini or butter beans, but you use your faves!
- The Chilli: I like to use a lot of sweet smoked paprika along with a regular chilli. In recent years it has become much easier to find chipotle chilli in our local supermarkets, whether whole, or in a paste form, so you can use that instead for an even better flavour. I also add a sweet pepper to round out the flavour and add extra colour.
- Onions & Garlic: Sweet onions that are slowly cooked down give this chilli a lovely rounded flavour. And garlic is always a good idea!
- Other herbs and spices: Cumin for warmth and a tiny bit of cinnamon help to round out the flavours. Bay leaves and thyme also help the overall flavour come together.
- Optional wine and/or chocolate: A glug of dark red wine is helpful but not 100% necessary. Similarly a few squares of good very dark chocolate are also delicious.
A combination of beans is good for texture and flavour. But if you just choose one, either black beans or kidney beans are a good option.
Yes, tinned beans are fine to use, as are dried beans that you have soaked and cooked.
Yes this recipe freezes very well. Make a double batch then freeze in one or two person portions so you have an easy dinner ready to go!
Serve the chilli with all kinds of yummy extras, chopped herbs, some tomatoes or salsa, some chilli flakes or some avocado slices.
Great topping ideas are:
- More chillis (Jalapenos!)
- Vegan cheese
- Vegan sour cream (use this recipe and thin it out)
- Coriander leaves (Cilantro)
- A squeeze of lime
We like to serve this chilli with some flatbreads like these Easy Triple Garlic Flatbreads
Or with a big salad too- like one of these Chargrilled Chopped Corn, Tomato & Herb Salad
Vegan Bean Chilli
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
- 500 g dried weight of 3 types of beans. Try butter beans & black beans, cannellini beans & kidney beans.. One creamy & one with more texture seems to work well
- OR 3 tins of beans (3 different types is ideal.)
- 1 medium onion- finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves -minced
- glug olive oil
- 2 tins tomatoes
- 3 tablespoon of tomato paste concentrate
- 1 large red pepper/capsicum (not necessary, but nice– finely chopped)
- a glug of red wine
- 1 small fresh chilli or one small dried chilli- finely chopped/minced- or more if you like it hot.
- 1 teaspoon mild chilli powder
- 2 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika (OR use chipotle paste and omit the chilli and paprike. )
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (this gives a deep, scented background, strange, but it really works!)
- 1 teaspoon cumin- ground
- 1 tbs vegetarian stock powder- I use Marigold (dissolved in 1 cup warm water)
- Salt & Pepper
- If you’re using dried beans- soak them over night in plenty of water. At least 12 hours- or longer if possible. then rinse the beans & drain well then cook for around 45 mins until soft.
- OR Rinse the tins of beans ready to add to the recipe.
- In a large saucepan, gently fry the onions & garlic until translucent
- Add in all the spices & the tomato paste & fry for a minute until fragrant
- Add in the beans, tins of tomatoes ( I swish each tin out with a bit of water to get all the tomatoey goodness in), the glug of wine, bay leaves and the stock.
- Put the lid on the saucepan & bring everything to the boil for 5 mins.
- Then take down the temperature and leave on a gentle simmer for around 10- 20mins, stirring occasionally. Add extra water if you need to.
- Test for spice balance at this stage too- add in more herbs or chilli if necessary. A splash of cholula sauce or other chilli sauce can be added if you think you need more of a spicy kick.
- Serve in a bowl with some herbs, a sprinkling of tomatoes, avocado or other garnishes as you like.