This delicious vegan adzuki and black bean chilli 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!
- The rich flavours in this chilli make it seem like it’s been bubbling away on the stove for hours even though it is really quick and easy to make!
- 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!
This vegan bean chilli is really healthy, from the healthy beans to the vegetables, spices amaranth (optional), and of course the healthy toppings that provide a variety of nutrients to this tasty dish.
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 bean variety has other added benefits.
- Black beans are rich in the phytonutrients contained in the purple fruits and vegetables and also a great source of vitamin B6, folate and potassium.
- Adzuki beans (sometimes called aduki beans) are rich in manganese. This is why I like to use both.
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!
- 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 small and slightly firmer than the other types of beans and don’t go mushy like some other beans do. However, you can choose any beans that you like! 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, as would mushrooms. 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 a tomato sauce made from sieved tomatoes. It is less bitter than tinned tomatoes because it doesn't have the seeds in there so it means you don't need to temper the sauce with sugar. If you do use tinned tomatoes instead, just add a half teaspoon of sugar to counteract the bitterness from the seeds.
- Vegetable stock – I use the powdered stock mixed with water. You could also use vegan beef stock which would give it a meaty flavour.
- 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 prefer.
- Amaranth (optional) – if you haven’t heard of this ingredient before, 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.
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. A couple of teaspoons of liquid smoke also go really well in this chilli.
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for full list of ingredients and their quantities.
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, smoked paprika and salt, 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 except the passata (or tinned tomatoes), stir together really well, then pour the passata on top and do not stir it in. (If you stir it in, it is likely to show the burn message while cooking so you need to leave the passata resting on top of the rest of the sauce to avoid the burn message). Then put the lid on and lock it, turn the valve 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 black bean & adzuki bean chilli well.
The Instant Pot instructions for this recipe were created in the Instant Pot Duo (paid affiliate link) and should work in the same way with all pressure cookers that allow you to manually set your own pressure cooking time. Please check the user manual for your own Instant Pot.
Stove Top Instructions
- In a shallow casserole, Dutch oven or large frying pan, pour in the olive oil and set over a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté over the heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until browned.
- Add the bell pepper, garlic, cumin powder, smoked paprika and salt, 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.
This is a summary only. Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this page for full instructions. Instant Pot instructions are also included in the recipe card.
This chili is perfect served over rice or a baked potato with any of the following toppings (I like to 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 Adzuki Bean & Black Bean Chilli (Instant Pot / Stove Top)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, (or grapeseed 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
- 1 tin adzuki beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tin black beans, rinsed and drained
- 100 g frozen sweetcorn, (or tinned sweetcorn)
- 240 ml vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoon tamari, (or gluten-free soy sauce)
- 20 g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, broken up
- ¼ cup amaranth (optional)
- 2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 120 ml passata, (or tinned tomatoes)
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until browned.Once browned, add the garlic, bell peppers, spices and salt, and stir over the heat for another minute (add a splash of water if the spices start to burn).1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 onions, 4 garlic cloves, 1 red bell pepper, 2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ -1 teaspoon salt
- Add the rest of the ingredients, stir together well then 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 bottom1 tin adzuki beans, 1 tin black beans, 100 g frozen sweetcorn, 240 ml vegetable stock, 2 tablespoon tamari, 20 g dark chocolate, ¼ cup amaranth (optional), 120 ml passata, 2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- Remove the lid, stir and check the consistency of the sauce. If it is too thin, boil over a high heat, stirring constantly, until it reduces to the consistency you like. Then taste to check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.Serve with rice or a baked potato or tortilla chips and your favourite toppings.
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Set the Instant Pot to Sauté (high) and pour in the oil. Once hot, add the onions and stir over the heat for 3-5 minutes until browned.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).1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 onions, 4 garlic cloves, 1 red bell pepper, 2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ -1 teaspoon salt
- Add the rest of the ingredients except the passata (or tinned tomatoes), stir together well then pour the passata on top (but do not stir), put the lid on, and turn the valve to closed. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.1 tin adzuki beans, 1 tin black beans, 100 g frozen sweetcorn, 240 ml vegetable stock, 2 tablespoon tamari, 20 g dark chocolate, ¼ cup amaranth (optional), 120 ml passata, 2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 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, set to sauté (high) for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to reduce the sauce to a thicker consistency.Serve with rice or a baked potato or tortilla chips and your favourite toppings.
- You can also add half a packet of plant-based mince with the beans if you want a meaty texture (leave it on top with the passata if making in the instant pot).
- Recommended Accompaniments - any of the following:
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ star rating ⭐ on the recipe card!
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