Vegetarian Three Bean Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 3-4 TBSP olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into half rounds
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds and veins removed, finely diced
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 2½ tsp. chili powder
  • 1½ tsp. cumin
  • ¾ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. finely ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • -
  • Toppings of choice: cilantro, sour cream (or plain greek yogurt), red onion, avocado, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, etc.
  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven (big enough to hold at least 6 quarts), heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and saute for 5 minutes, or until the onion has just started to soften. Add the garlic, bell peppers, and jalapeno, and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the oregano, chili powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper, bay leaves, and a big pinch of salt, and cook for another 1-2 minutes to toast the spices.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, crushed tomatoes, all of the beans, and the unsweetened cocoa powder. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer, covered, for 45-50 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid, and stir in the sweet corn and cilantro, if using. Season with salt to taste, and if you prefer your chili on the spicy side, adjust the level of heat by adding cayenne pepper, more chili powder, or your favorite hot sauce.
  5. Serve as is, or with your favorite toppings. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to a week, or frozen for several months.
*Cocoa powder is my secret weapon when it comes to making chili -- the dark bitter flavor adds just that little extra depth of flavor, without being too noticeable. It's a trick my mother always used when she made chili, and now I never leave it out (though you certainly can, if you want to). I've also had success using just a tiny bit of instant espresso powder, or a splash of really dark, hoppy beer to add that extra something.
Recipe by Will Cook For Friends at