A vegetarian black bean chili is one of those tried and true comfort food meals. It’s a crowd-pleasing, feel-good and ultra-cozy one-pot dish. Roasted sweet potato and zucchini are stars here, along with other aromatics staples like onion, garlic, carrot, celery and sweet red pepper. A fresh chili is added for an extra kick — if you like things hot. Simple tasty ingredients that taste exceptional together with chili spices.
And here is my secret ingredient to transforming a simple vegetarian one-pot dish into something rich with TexMex chili flavors. The chili seasoning is a mix of spices like smoked paprika, rosemary, cumin, oregano, along with chili powder, smoked peppercorns and cacao (the secret to a good chili!). And I’ll share another little secret, or rather a tip, it’s also is fantastic on oven roasted potatoes or homemade fries.
How to make the best Vegetarian Chili
- A good chili, of course, relies on the proper use of seasoning and aromatics to give it that aromatic, savoury and smoky note. Tomatoes lend an umami element — the so-called yum-factor. And canned beans contribute to it’s delicious plant-based protein and heartiness.
- Slow cooking (or even cooking ahead of time then reheating) allow time for the flavours to meld into something deeper, tastier. Or a little trick, blending a small portion of the chili also helps release the flavours and give it that desired look and taste of slow cooking.
- Finishing off the chili with a little squeeze of lime juice and fresh cilantro makes it taste vibrant and fresh. And make all the difference.
Not only is this black bean chili vegetarian. It’s also dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan. To keep it that way, you can enjoy served over whole grain rice. Or on its own with a dollop of coconut yoghurt and slices of avocado (healthy fats!). All natural corn tortillas chips also make a great addition!
Looking for other chili recipe inspiration?
How about trying one of these delicious recipes:
Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2.5-cm cubes (200g)
- 1 small zucchini, cut into 2.5-cm cubes
- 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 1 small pointed red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar muscovado
- 1 tablespoon Chili Spice Mix (Elle Herbs)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- pinch of cinnamon
- 400 ml water
- 1 x 400 g can organic black beans
- 1 small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
- Lime wedges, to serve
For the roasted vegetables:
Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the sweet potato pieces on the baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and roast for 10 minutes, then add the zucchini pieces, toss, and cook for a further 5–10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Set aside.
Roast for 10 minutes, then add the zucchini and cook for a further 5–10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
For the chili:
While the vegetables roast, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook gently, over medium heat, stirring, for 5-7 minutes, until softened.
Add the garlic, celery, red pepper, carrot, fresh chilli and cook for another 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the canned tomatoes along with the sugar, chili spice mix, thyme and water.
Bring to a simmer and cook, reducing heat to a light simmer, for 20 minutes or so, stirring often, until the chilli has thickened and reduced.
Add the black beans and cook for a further 10 minutes, then stir in the roasted vegetables.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro (and any other toppings of choice). Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist auf Spotify.
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