Homemade Vegan Black Bean Chili is an easy one-pot meal you can make in 30 minutes with pantry ingredients, dried spices and a few veggies. It's comforting and perfect for weeknight dinners served with your favorite toppings.
There's nothing like a hot bowl of chili to warm you up on a cold evening. I used to buy canned chili at the supermarket until I discovered how easy and economical it is to make yourself.
But there's something special about the simplicity of Vegan Black Bean Chili that keeps me coming back to it. Inspired by Amy's brand canned black bean chili, it's made with sweet bell peppers, mild green chiles, and a hint of lime.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's ready to eat in 30 minutes.
- It's incredibly flavorful yet only requires a few dried herbs and spices to season it.
- The leftovers taste amazing, plus they are freezer friendly.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Oregano: While you can use regular or true oregano in this chili, I recommend preparing it with Mexican oregano. It has an earthier and more pungent flavor that works well with spicy dishes.
Reserve ½ cup of the liquid from the canned beans before draining them to use in the recipe.
- Saute the onion in olive oil until soft and slightly translucent.
- Add the garlic and red and green bell peppers and saute for a few more minutes.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, black beans with the reserved liquid, green chiles, and seasonings. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chili has reached your desired thickness.
- Add a squeeze of lime and season with salt, to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with your favorite toppings.
- For a spicier version, add diced jalapeño peppers or serrano peppers along with the bell peppers.
- Instead of a chili powder blend, choose your favorite dried chile pepper such as ancho chile powder or chipotle chile powder.
- For a smoky chili, add a little liquid smoke, smoked paprika, or your favorite smoky hot sauce.
Vegan Black Bean Chili is delicious served with tortilla chips, corn bread, or potato wedges.
Offer a variety of toppings at the table such as vegan cheese shreds, vegan sour cream, diced or sliced avocado, pickled jalapeño slices, chopped onions, and fresh cilantro.
Storing and freezing
Leftover chili can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing it in individual servings in small glass containers or mason jars with lids. Be sure to allow a little room at the top since it will expand a little when frozen.
To reheat, first defrost the frozen container of chili in the refrigerator overnight. Then reheat it in a pot on the stove or in a microwave-safe bowl.
For tips on freezing, refer to USDA Freezing and Food Safety.
Chili powder is a spice blend made with ground dried chilis and other seasonings such as cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, and salt. On the other hand, chile powder is usually made solely from ground dried chiles.
If you don't have chili powder, you can make your own blend with paprika, cumin, and a few dashes of cayenne pepper.
True oregano is part of the mint family, and Mexican oregano is part of the verbena family. While you can use regular oregano in recipes calling for Mexican oregano, the Mexican variety tastes more citrusy and floral with hints of licorice. It works very well with spicy dishes like chili.
More black bean recipes
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Easy Vegan Black Bean Chili
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced (white, yellow, or red)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 15 ounces canned tomato sauce
- 3-15 ounce canned black beans, (3 cans or about 4½ cups cooked black beans) DO NOT RINSE with ½ cup of the liquid reserved (see Notes)
- 4 ounces canned roasted diced green chiles
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, or any dried oregano
- squeeze of lime juice, to taste
- salt , to taste
- lime wedges, diced avocado, tortilla chips, etc., for serving (optional)
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and saute about 5 minutes until soft and slightly translucent.
- Add the garlic and saute about 30 seconds.
- Add the bell peppers and saute about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, black beans with the reserved liquid, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, and oregano to the pot.
- Stir the ingredients to combine, then simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
- Add a squeeze of lime juice and salt, to taste.
- Ladle the chili into bowls. Serve with lime wedges, diced avocado, and tortilla chips, if desired.
- When draining the canned black beans, reserve ½ cup of the liquid from the cans. Do not rinse the beans.
- If you are following a low-sodium diet, choose no salt added beans and tomato sauce.
- Leftover chili can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove or in a microwave.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.
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This recipe was originally published 2/11/2019. The recipe remains unchanged, but the post was updated for better user experience.