Three Bean Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Urvashee Patel | Dessarts

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili is bursting with flavor. A comforting and magnificent dinner!

I don’t own a slow cooker. Crazy right? I feel like everyone owns a slow cooker. It’s been on my list of things to explore for a while now.

There’s something about cooking food longer and letting flavors seep in really slowly. (Not to mention the convenience of coming home to a meal that’s ready to go!)

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili Photo

I’ve decided that I will definitely need to invest in one soon. But for now, I have my trusty Le Creuset pot that I use almost daily.

I want to share with you some tips I’ve learned on creating dishes that are bursting with flavor and don’t involve all the slow cooking.

I take a lot of Indian cooking techniques and incorporate them into my non-Indian food. One of the ways that we infuse more flavor into Indian cooking is by a process called tadka, which best translates into tempering.

use this method in a lot cooking, including this three bean vegetarian chili.

The process involves frying whole spices in hot oil or ghee. The heat and oil help release the flavors of the spices and create a nice aroma.

Tadka can be done at the beginning of cooking where the spices are heated and the rest of the ingredients are added after it. It can also be done separately and drizzled over a dish that is already cooked.

Either way, you get the benefit of getting all the essence out of your spice.

This chili uses whole cumin and cinnamon in a tadka, and the rest of the ingredients follow. You will immediately smell how fragrant the spices are once they hit the oil and really start to sizzle.

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili Picture

If you’re worried about the cinnamon, the flavor is subtle and not strong. Once the chili is done, you can also remove the cinnamon stick if you want.

This way no one accidently takes a big bite of it!

I also make sure I give vegetables ample time to cook down. The onions and garlic are given their time first and then the peppers.

This gives these ingredients time not only to cook but also for their flavors to really mix into the oil before we add all the beans. Finally, we let the whole pot simmer for a good 30 minutes to really let it thicken and get those deep flavors.

Oh, and there’s one more secret to this three bean chili. Adding unsweetened cocoa powder makes a big difference.

It does not taste chocolaty at all, but it really masks the slightly metallic sour taste of canned tomatoes and adds a slight smokiness to the chili.

So what are you waiting for? This is the perfect time to enjoy some delicious warm comfort food.

Serve it up with some sour cream, tortilla chips and your favorite cheese, unless you’re keeping it vegan. Then just stick to guacamole on top!

Planning a dinner party and need some inspiration?

How about looking for a new slow cooker dinner idea?

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Three Bean Vegetarian Chili Recipe

    5 Servings


  • 1 15 oz can Black Beans
  • 1 15 ounce can Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 15 ounce can Pinto Beans
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1-inch piece of Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Large, minced
  • 1/2 cup Diced Poblano Peppers
  • 3/4 cup Diced Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 jalapeños Jalapeño, Seeded and minced
  • 1 small Zucchini Squash, Diced
  • 1/2 cup Corn
  • 1 14.5 ounce can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper, Or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon. Let them change color (not burn) and become fragrant for about less than a minute.
  2. Add the onions and garlic. Lower the heat to medium and mix. Cook until the onions begin to soften.
  3. Add the poblanos, red peppers, jalapeno, and zucchini. Stir and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes, covered. Salt to taste.
  4. Add the corn, tomatoes, spices and remaining ingredients. Salt to taste.
  5. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 20-30 minutes. 


  • If you are using dry beans instead of canned, you can soak 1/2 cup of each bean, and cook them all together before making the chili.


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Related Recipes:
Vegetarian Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Chili Recipes, Soup Recipes, Easy Recipes, Simmered Recipes, Bean Recipes, Spicy Recipes, Pepper Recipes, Easy Dinner Recipes, Dinner Recipes, Healthy Eating Recipes, Healthy Recipes
Recipe Yields:
5 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
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Author: Urvashee Patel
Recipe Yields: 5 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 65 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 5

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 44
Calories 342

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g
  Saturated Fat 0g
Sodium 583mg
Total Carbohydrate 54g
  Dietary Fiber 13g
  Sugars 4g
Protein 15g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Urvashee Patel

About Urvashee

Urvashee blogs about delectable desserts on her blog, Dessarts. Lucky for us, she's sharing her delectable vegetarian dishes too as a Vegetarian Fanatic.

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