This easy, one pot, vegan 3 bean chili is the ultimate comfort dish this fall and winter! Ready in less than 30 minutes, it's the perfect option for a quick, simple, & hearty lunch or dinner.
There are so many ways to make homemade chili but I decided to stick the basics for this recipe and keep it incredibly simple, using beans, corn, tomato sauce, and a whole lot of spices.
It's made in one pot (with the option to cook a crockpot, instant pot, or slow cooker included), is loaded with flavor, has a ton of plant-based protein, is ready to serve in less than 30 minutes, and is perfect for meal prep because it freezes so well. This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, hearty, and comforting.
- Beans: it wouldn't be a proper three bean chili without 'em! This recipe calls for canned kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans, but you can use whatever beans you prefer or have on hand.
- Corn: I love adding corn to my chili, I feel like it adds a touch of sweetness to help balance the flavor! This recipe calls for canned whole kernel corn.
- Marinara Sauce: as our liquid! Depending on the marinara sauce you choose, you'll get some chunks of tomato in your chili as well.
- Garlic: of course.
- Onion: for added flavor!
- Vegan Ground 'Beef': I used Gardein's meatless crumbles for this recipe. I have also made this with Beyond Meat Beyond Beef plant-based ground and it works perfectly. If you use Beyond, sauté the plant-based grounds in the beginning with the onions rather than adding it in later with the beans to ensure they're fully cooked.
- Taco Seasoning: feel free to use 1 packet of taco seasoning or make our taco seasoning with chili powder, paprika, cumin, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
Vegan chili is incredibly quick and easy to make and will serve a large crowd!
- In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add in your spices, or your taco seasoning packet. Stir to coat the onion and garlic and let it cook for a minute or two.
- Add in pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, meatless/plant-based ground beef, corn, and marinara sauce. Stir to combine and then let simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust, as desired. If the chili is too thick/hearty, add in 1 cup of vegetable broth.
- Serve over rice or quinoa and top with your preferred garnishes. I personally chose lime juice, sour cream, cheese, and avocado.
Variations & Substitutions
I love this recipe as is, but there are so many ways you could successfully switch it up!
Make this 3 bean chili spicy by adding in jalapeños, chiles in adobo, cayenne pepper, and/or red pepper flakes. As is, this recipe is not spicy.
Feel free to add in whatever veggies you like! I love adding diced tomatoes, zucchini, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, mushrooms, or red peppers.
Swap out the meatless grounds with lentils, tofu, seitan, or textured vegetable protein (TVP).
Turn this into a no bean vegan chili (a similar idea to Texas chili or Chili con carne) by replacing the beans with hearty vegetables and meat alternatives!
In my opinion, choosing what toppings to pair with chili is the best part (aside from eating it)! Here are some of my favorites:
- Brown rice
- Vegan sour cream
- Vegan cheddar shreds
- Diced tomatoes
- Lime Juice
- Tortilla chips
- Fresh cilantro
- Make your own taco seasoning! This way you have full control over how flavorful (and what kind of flavor/how spicy) your chili is.
- Add the spices early on. Adding the spices in with the oil and sautéed onions allows for the spices to 'bloom'/sauté the aromatics, making them more potent and complex.
- If the chili is too hearty, add 1 cup of vegetable broth. This will not only add a bit more liquid, but it will also add more flavor.
Yes, you can make this chili in a crockpot, slow cooker, or an instant pot without having to change any of the ingredients!
For an instant pot, first turn it to sauté mode and add the oil, garlic, and onions, cooking until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients, secure the lid, and cook on manual or high pressure for 8-10 minutes. Immediately release the pressure, then serve.
For a crockpot or slow cooker, add all of the ingredients to the crockpot and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 4 to 5 hours.
You can put in whatever beans you like! This recipe calls for kidney, black, and pinto beans but if you don't like one of those, feel free to get rid of it by upping the quantity of one of the other beans already in the recipe or replacing it with a totally different bean. I personally love to add white beans or garbanzo beans to my chili from time to time.
You can! If you choose to use dried beans for you chili, I recommend soaking them overnight, or at least 12 hours, before cooking them. Once soaked, drain the beans and add them to the pot with the marinara sauce, simmering for 20 minutes.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, warm on the stovetop in a saucepan until heated through. Make sure to thaw beforehand if you're reheating from frozen.