Three Bean Chili

VeganGluten-FreeNut-FreeSoy-FreeRefined Sugar-FreeVegetarianEgg-FreeDairy Free

Growing up, almost every Sunday during football season my dad made a huge pot of chili.  His chilis were totally epic.  He would taste, adjust seasonings and stir it regularly as it simmered on the stove for hours. It was a ritual.  He liked to let it really thicken and for the flavors to meld together.  I have taken aspects of his famous chili recipe and incorporated it into this plant-based version.  I loaded it with three beans (garbanzo, kidney and black beans) to really bulk it up.  I added sweet potato and carrots for a heartier texture and slightly sweet flavor.  It also adds a beautiful orange color to the chili that I love.

My dad typically used eight (yes eight!) tablespoons of chili powder but this recipe tones thing down a bit and recommends three (I think that is spicy enough but feel free to taste and add more to kick it up if you are into that).  He would probably add five tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and maybe even throw in a bottle of dark beer too!  I told you his chilis were epic.

This version is simple, healthy and totally satisfying.  I think he would approve and would have been pleasantly surprised at how filling and satisfying a plant-based chili can be with the right ingredients and spices.  This one is thick, chunky and spicy just how he liked it.

Vegan Chili Recipe

Now for the toppings.  Chili toppings can make or break a chili recipe.  I personally love loads of diced red onion, avocado, fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro.  You can also add vegan sour cream or vegan shredded cheddar cheese.  I know many people are into adding chips to the chili.  Go with what you like and make it your own.  After all, chili is a personal thing.

I’m so glad it is finally chili season.  Chili is just the perfect meal in a bowl for this chilly time of year.  I love to make it on Sundays like my dad used to do and enjoy as leftovers throughout the early part of the week.  Chili leftovers are the best since the flavors really do get better overtime and it thickens even more in the refrigerator.

I hope you enjoy this veggie-packed vegan chili as much as we do!  It is grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free.  If you give this chili a try, please snap a pic and tag #eatingbyelaine and @eatingbyelaine on InstagramTwitter or Facebook so I can see you enjoying your creations.

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Three Bean Chili

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x


A spicy, thick and hearty chili that is loaded with plant-based protein. It has a subtle sweetness from the carrots, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Top it with avocado, red onions, jalapeno, cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime for the perfect healthy chili bowl.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large sweet potato, skin removed and chopped into tiny cubes (~1/4 inch thick)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into tiny cubes (~1/4 inch thick)
  • 2, 15 ounce cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1, 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1, 14.5 ounce can pinto beans or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1, 14.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (2 tablespoons for a less spicy chili)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you want a spicy chili)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Garnish ideas: fresh cilantro, lime, avocado, diced red onion, jalapeno slices, vegan sour cream, vegan shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Place oil in a large pot and place over medium high heat. Add in onion, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add in remaining ingredients (sweet potato, carrots, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, broth and Worcestershire sauce); stir for about 20 seconds. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary. Garnish with anything you’d like (such as avocado, diced red onion, jalapeno, cilantro or lime slices).
  4. Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Category: Entree

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  1. Jennifer Bliss

    This looks pretty awesome! And so does your blog! I think this is the first time I have visited and commented! Mind if I link you!? Swing by my place and let me know when you have time! CHEERS!

    • Elaine Gordon

      Thank you! Of course, please feel free to link to me. What is your blog URL?

  2. Sani Kemppainen

    looks delicious! great for those cold winter nights 🙂

    • Elaine Gordon

      Yea! Exactly 🙂

  3. Randi

    8 tablespoons of chili powder- that sounds like my kind of chili!!! My parents would always do 4 or 5- nowadays I have to keep it at about 2 for the kids lol. But this looks amazing!

    • Elaine Gordon

      OMG totally! I know he was BIG on the spices! Definitely omit the cayenne pepper too if you aren’t into the spicy spices!

  4. SarahVeganChickpea

    I just made a big batch of chili and have been eating it for 3 days! 😀 Will have to add sweet potato next time like you did.

    • Elaine Gordon

      Yes! Sweet potato is so yummy in chili. It sweetens it slightly and makes it hearty. I also love the color and texture. And carrots too! They work well together. Let me know what you think!

  5. Amy Katz

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! I pinned this recipe to try soon!

    • Elaine Gordon

      Wow thank you so much! That comment really means a lot to me 🙂 I hope you love the recipe when you get a chance to try it!

  6. Marija

    My fav for this cold, autumn days! Thank you for this great recipe! 😀

    • Elaine Gordon

      Yea! You are welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Jeanne

    Really enjoyed your bean chili recipe. Hearty and flavorful.

    • Elaine Gordon

      Thank you so much, Jeanne! It is one of my favorite easy one-pot chilly weather meals :). I agree it is super satisfying and filling and packed with tons of flavor.

  8. Liz

    Love this chili! It has such a great flavor – def worth making! It also has a lot of ingredients you’d usually have on hand &/or can buy in bulk to make any time.

    I’ve made it a few times. I add a couple tbsps of cocoa powder & a tad bit of arrowroot starch (made into a paste with water) for a slightly thicker chili. Plan to experiment adding peppers into it later 🙂

    Thanks for all your great recipes, Elaine!

    • Elaine Gordon

      Thank you so much, Liz! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy it too! LOVE your idea of adding cocoa powder and arrowroot starch! I will try that next time for sure! Thank you again! Best, Elaine

  9. Christie

    LOVED IT!!!!! My daughter made this and we loved it and I made it last week. The flavor is wonderful, the texture is great, the calorie count is fantastic–what more could you ask for. I added some left over rotisserie chicken to my husband’s as I was trying to use up, and it was great, but certainly not necessary. I would love to add fresh roasted corn to this too. Will certainly be making this again.

    • Elaine Gordon

      Thank you so much, Christie! I’m so happy to hear you loved it so much! Please thank your daughter for cooking it up! 🙂 I am actually allergic to corn but that addition sounds so wonderful! I’m sure it would work well! If you give it a try next time you make it please let me know! Best, Elaine


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