This 3 bean vegetarian chili is made with a hearty combination of black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans for a deliciously satisfying plant-based meal!

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I love making a big pot of chili, and this version is a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional meat-based chili. You can serve it on its own or with lots of toppings like shredded cheese, diced avocado, or sour cream. The combination of beans and vegetables provides a good source of protein and fiber, making this chili a filling and satisfying meal.

I have a hearty vegan chili recipe that uses walnuts in place of meat. It’s really good, but I wanted to share a simple vegan chili with just beans, tomatoes, and vegetables. This was surprisingly easy to make, since it’s mostly using canned goods. But the flavor turned out great! This delicious vegetarian chili might be your new go-to meatless meal.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Onion – I used a yellow onion, but a white onion works great too. Or you could substitute the onion for a shallot, if you wanted a more mild flavor.
  • Bell pepper– I used a red bell pepper which adds a little sweetness, but you could substitute it with any color bell pepper.
  • Garlic– I added a lot of garlic for a strong flavor. If you want a mild garlic flavor, feel free to reduce the number of garlic cloves.
  • Seasoning– I used a combination of chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. For a more mild flavor, skip the cayenne pepper. To add more heat, increase the cayenne pepper or add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.
  • Beans– I used a combination of black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. I like this combination because it adds different flavors and textures to the chili. I recommend using no-salt added beans to reduce the sodium. You could substitute one of the beans for garbanzo beans for a different taste. Do not try to use refried beans.
  • Vegetable broth– Use low-sodium veggie broth so you can control the saltiness of the chili.
  • Crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes– I’ve used both crushed tomatoes and fire-roasted diced tomatoes. If you want a chunkier chili, used diced. If you want a thick chili, use crushed tomatoes.
  • Brown sugar– Just a hint of sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes. You can use granulated sugar, if you prefer.
  • Corn– I used canned corn, but frozen corn is fine too.
  • Parsley– This is optional but adds a nice pop of color! You could substitute with cilantro.
  • Red wine vinegar- A splash of vinegar brightens the overall flavor of the chili. You could substitute with lime juice or apple cider vinegar.

How to Make 3 Bean Chili