This delicious vegan black bean chili is so easy to make and requires very little effort in the kitchen. Served with all the toppings, it is a taste sensation! It is such a tasty vegan and gluten-free meal to serve to guests and can be made in advance and re-heated on the day. This recipe is not spicy so that it is suitable to cook for children for a family-friendly plant-based meal. Just add sliced jalapenos and tabasco to the adult portions!
I don’t know about your family but my kids are really not fans of beans. Apart from Heinz baked beans, I really have to work hard to try to get my kids to eat a dish that contains beans in it.
I’m so pleased to have developed this vegan and vegetarian chili recipe that has been accepted by all three children – hooray! The secret ingredient to make this a winning recipe for kids? Chocolate!
Sell this dish to your kids on the basis that they’re having chocolate in their supper and then they’re likely to actually try it with an open mind rather than the usual closed mind attitude to things they’ve already decided they don’t like!
Why you will love this vegan bean chili recipe!
- It tastes so good with such rich flavours, like it’s been bubbling away on the stove for hours and hours but with such little effort!
- With all the toppings, there’s so much going on with this dish. It’s a great way to introduce non-vegans to really tasty plant-based food.
- This is a great recipe for busy weeknights when you haven’t thought about what to cook for dinner and you’re short on time. It uses common ingredients you likely already have and takes only a few minutes to start off the cooking, then just leave it to cook while you get on with something else.
- A super tasty vegan and gluten-free meal so that you can accommodate different dietary needs!
Honestly, once you try it, I’m sure this will become your favourite chili recipe!
Beans are a fantastic plant-based source of protein. They are naturally rich in fibre and many vitamins and minerals and of course without the saturated fat of meat sources of protein. Each different type of beans has other added benefits. So, black beans are also rich in the phytonutrients contained in the purple fruits and vegetables and also a great source of vitamin B6, folate and potassium. Aduki beans (sometimes called adzuki beans) are rich in manganese. This is why I like to use both. You can find more information about each bean (black bean health and aduki bean health).
This recipe also uses amaranth for thickening (optional). If you havent’ heard of it before, amaranth is a really interesting “pseudo-grain”. It is rich in protein, fibre and many different nutrients like iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. See this Healthline article to read all the many health benefits of amaranth!
This dish is really healthy, not only because of the healthy bean content but it also has vegetables, spices that are full of interesting benefits, and of course the healthy toppings that provide a variety of nutrients to this tasty dish.
- Tinned black beans and/or aduki beans – I usually use one tin of each because I love both of these beans and I like the variety it brings. However, it would be just fine if you only want to use one or the other. I like these beans best because they are slightly firmer than the others and don’t go mushy like some other beans do. However, other kinds of beans that would work well are pinto beans, borlotti beans or red kidney beans.
- Vegetables – onion, garlic and red peppers and sweetcorn – you could add more veggies here but I’ve kept this simple since this is really a dish that I cook when I need ease and simplicity in my kitchen! I have thrown in courgette and celery in the past which were fine. Sweet potatoes or butternut squash would also work well. Mushrooms would also be an excellent addition if you kids will allow them (mine would make a dreadful fuss and it’s just not worth ruining the meal for myself!). As for the sweetcorn, I usually just pour in frozen sweetcorn straight from the freezer but you could use tinned or leftover cooked corn on the cob if you like.
- Spices – ground cumin and smoked paprika – keeping it simple, these two spices provide the perfect flavour base for this dish. Smoked paprika can be either sweet or hot. If you’re cooking for children who don’t tolerate spicy food, make sure to use the sweet kind not the hot version! If you’re not cooking for fussy kids, you can by all means add a teaspoon of chili powder as well! I prefer to add my spice to each portion instead so that everyone gets the spice level they like.
- Passata – this is basically sieved tomatoes. If you are cooking on the stovetop, you could use tinned tomatoes instead but for the instant pot, I find the passata is better at making sure you don’t get the burn message.
- Vegetable stock – again, this is to water down the passata to avoid the instant pot displaying the burn message. If you are cooking on the stovetop, you could substitute with more tinned tomatoes if you prefer.
- Dark chocolate – this adds a deliciously rich background flavour to the chili. Mexicans have used dark chocolate in their cooking for generations and once you try it, you’ll wonder why you never did it before! Make sure to use good quality dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa solids. You definitely don’t want a sugary chocolate in this dish!
- Tamari – this adds saltiness and umami rich background flavour. Substitute with gf soy sauce or coconut aminos if you like.
- Amaranth (optional) – if you haven’t heard of this ingredient before, don’t worry, it is not widely known! Amaranth is a pseudo-grain and looks like tiny little beads (about ¼ of the size of quinoa or millet). I like to add it as a little thickener because it is very nutritious and adds an interesting texture. You could substitute for quinoa if you like or just leave it out altogether and sauté without the lid on at the end of the cooking time to reduce the sauce to a thicker consistency instead.
If you wish, you could also add a little tomato paste (if you like a more tomatoey chili), some chili powder or cayenne pepper (if you don't need to cater for kids), or throw in a bay leaf for extra layers of flavour.
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for quantities of ingredients.
How to make this recipe
You can make this delicious vegan chili recipe in the Instant Pot or on the stove top. Both start with sautéing for a few minutes then adding all the ingredients and cooking the mixture down. The only difference is the cooking time.
Overall, there isn’t a huge time saving by using the instant pot once you factor in the coming to pressure and releasing pressure time, but the reason why I end up using it for this recipe is because I can lock the lid on and then leave it and not worry about it catching. With the stovetop version, you do need to check on it every now and then and give it a stir.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Set the Instant Pot to the Sauté function and add the olive oil and the onion. Sauté the onion, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until browned.
- Once browned, add the red pepper, garlic, cumin powder and smoked paprika and stir over the heat for a minute or two. (add a splash of water if it starts to burn on the bottom).
- Add the rest of the ingredients, stir together, put the lid on and lock it. Make sure the valve is set to closed and set to pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Leave to release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes then quick release. Once the steam has all released and the valve has dropped down, open the lid and stir the chili to combine.
Stove Top Instructions
- In a shallow casserole, Dutch oven or sauté pan, pour in the olive oil and add the onion. Sauté over the heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until browned.
- Just as for the IP version, add the bell pepper, garlic, cumin powder and smoked paprika and continue to sauté for another minute.
- Add the remaining ingredients, give it a good stir, put the lid on, turn the heat down and simmer over a low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If it looks like there is too much liquid at the end of the cooking time, just sauté for 5-10 minutes (with no lid) until it reduces down a little.
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for full instructions.
This chili is perfect served over rice or a baked potato with any of the following toppings (I go a little crazy and have them all!):
- Cashew cream soured with a little lemon juice (or vegan sour cream);
- Guacamole or sliced avocados;
- Fresh salsa (or some chopped tomato and red onion drenched in lime juice);
- Lime wedges to give a good squeeze of lime juice over the top;
- Sliced jalapeno chilis and/or tabasco or some spicy chili sauce (for the adult portions);
- Coriander leaves (fresh cilantro) to garnish;
- Tortilla chips.
Since this is a family-friendly recipe, I have not made it in the least bit spicy (as kids generally turn their nose up at spicy food), so it will definitely need a good splash of tabasco and perhaps some sliced jalapeno chilis on top for the adult portions.
Making Ahead & Storage
This dish keeps really well in the fridge and tastes even better the next day! Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Re-heat either in the microwave or in a pan over a gentle heat.
You can re-purpose this chili quite easily by serving it in wraps for a burrito style lunchbox or poured over tortilla chips and baked in the oven with vegan cheese sprinkled on top (this is my kids favourite way to have this!). Or whizz it together and thin down with a little extra veggie broth for a delicious adzuki / black bean soup!
Yes! I would half the amount of stock because the slow cooker doesn’t require as much liquid. Then set to slow cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.
Since I don’t really like to have the cooking water in my food (it gives it a beany taste) I like to pre-cook my beans first, then drain them before adding to the food I’m cooking. So you can use dried beans but you will need to soak them for 8 hours or more first and then pressure cook for around 30 minutes until they are soft. Then drain and rinse them and use in place of the canned beans. You will need around 3 cups of cooked beans for this recipe which is about 1¼ cups of dried beans.
📖 Recipe 📖
Vegan Aduki Bean and Black Bean Chili (Instant Pot / Stove Top)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 onions diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ -1 teaspoon salt
- 120 ml passata
- 240 ml vegetable stock
- 1 tin aduki beans drained
- 1 tin black beans drained
- 100 g frozen sweetcorn
- ¼ cup amaranth optional
- 2 tablespoon tamari
- 20 g dark chocolate 70% cocoa solids, broken up
- any combination of the following
- Cashew cream soured with a little lemon juice or vegan sour cream;
- Guacamole or sliced avocados;
- Fresh salsa or some chopped tomato and red onion drenched in lime juice;
- Lime wedges to give a good squeeze of lime juice over the top;
- Sliced jalapeno chilis and/or tabasco or some spicy chili sauce for the adult portions;
- Coriander leaves fresh cilantro to garnish;
- Tortilla chips
- Either set the Instant pot to Sauté (high) or set a shallow casserole or large sauté pan over a medium high heat and pour in the olive oil.1 tablespoon olive oil
- Once hot, add the onions and stir over the heat for 5 minutes until browned.2 onions
- Once browned, add the garlic, bell peppers and spices and stir over the heat for another minute (add a splash of water if the spices start to burn).4 garlic cloves, 1 red bell pepper, 2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Add the rest of the ingredients, stir together well then put the lid on and either:a. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 20 minutes at high pressure; orb. Put the lid on the casserole, turn the heat down to its lowest setting and leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom.½ -1 teaspoon salt, 120 ml passata, 240 ml vegetable stock, 1 tin aduki beans, 1 tin black beans, 100 g frozen sweetcorn, 2 tablespoon tamari, 20 g dark chocolate, ¼ cup amaranth
- Once cooked, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes in the Instant Pot, then turn the valve to quickly release the rest of the pressure.
- Remove the lid, stir the chili really well, taste and season with salt and pepper to your taste. If the sauce is not thick enough, sauté without the lid for 5 minutes on a high heat (stirring constantly) to reduce the sauce to a thicker consistency.
- Serve over rice or a baked potato with the your favourite toppings.
- The ingredients are for the instant pot version. If you are making this chili on the stovetop instead, you may prefer to use tinned tomatoes instead of the passata and vegetable broth.
- Amaranth is a pseudo-grain that you can find in the supermarket near the quinoa and millet. It is highly nutritious and helps to thicken the sauce a little. However, you can leave it out altogether and just sauté without the lid on at the end of cooking to thicken the sauce a bit.
- You could also use a potato masher to press down into the chili to mash up a few of the beans to help thicken it if you like a really thick consistency.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ star rating ⭐ on the recipe card!
If you like this vegan black bean chili recipe, you may like these other delicious vegan and gluten-free family-friendly recipes too: