This vegan 3 bean chili is the perfect quick and easy weeknight meal for Fall and Winter. This whole food plant-based recipe is gluten-free, oil-free, sugar-free and easy to make in less than 30 minutes.

Bowl of 3-bean vegan chili.

How to Make Vegan 3 Bean Chili

This recipe couldn’t be easier to make. You’ll need just a handful of every day ingredients and less than 30 minutes to prepare this dish. Let’s go through the steps below.

1. Chop all the veggies.

Diced jalapeno on a chopping board.

Chop up the an onion, carrots, bell peppers and jalapeno so you’re already to go once you start cooking.

Quick Tip: Wash and de-seed the jalapeno pepper before dicing then make sure you give your hands a good wash right away. If not, you’ll inevitably touch your face at some point and get jalapeno juice in your eyes or nose. This is not an enjoyable experience!

2. Saute the Onion and Garlic

Diced onion and garlic in a soup pot being stirred with a wooden spoon.

Once you’ve got everything ready to go, add the onion and garlic to a large soup pot with a few splashes of water and bring to medium heat. Cook these up for 6-7 minutes until soft and fragrant.

Note: If the onion starts to brown a bit on the bottom and the pan is drying out, no problem. Add a bit of water to “de-glaze” the pan, scraping the browned bits back into the mix to help add depth of flavour the dish.

Can I saute with oil instead of water?

Yes. If you prefer, you can saute the onions and garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil. I like to keep my recipes oil-free when possible, which is why I use water. Vegetable broth also works well!

3. Add the spices, carrot and peppers.

Diced bell peppers, jalapeno and spices in a soup pot with a wooden spoon.

Next, you can add the rest of the veggies and the spices, giving it a good stir. I used chili powder, cumin and parika. You can season the recipe with salt and pepper to taste once it’s finished cooking.

Love spicy chili? This recipe isn’t spicy as is but you can easily turn up the heat by adding 1 tsp cayenne pepper, red chili flakes or 1 chopped chipotle pepper in adobo to spice this recipe up!

Mix-and-match bell peppers. I used a green, red and yellow bell pepper but any combination of colors works. Only have green peppers? Totally fine!

4. Add everything else and simmer.

The final step is to add the beans, tomato paste and vegetable broth and simmer until the carrots are tender. This should take about 15-20 minutes.

Use any beans. Mix-and-match the beans to whatever you have available. I used chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans but pinto beans, white kidney beans, fava beans and just about anything else works. You could even stir in some cooked lentils.

Bowl of vegetarian chili with beans and bell peppers.

Quick and Easy Weeknight Meal

If you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner, this is a great option. It’s also a great make-ahead meal, it freezes well, it’s inexpensive and it’s very filling. All you have to do is chop, open a few cans, throw it all in a pot, simmer, simmer a little more and voila! Vegan 3-Bean Chili!

3-Bean Chili Topping Ideas

Bowl of vegan 3-bean chili served with green onion and sour cream.

The best part of chili is the toppings don’t you think? Here are some of my favourite chili toppings:

More Soups and Stews

This chil is also amazing served over baked potatoes.

Bowl of 3-bean vegan chili.

Vegan 3 Bean Chili

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

This hearty vegan chili is perfect for weeknights when you don’t feel like doing much more than opening a can of beans. 



  • 1 medium white onion, diced (approx. 2 cups)
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 bell peppers, any colour (approx. 3 cups)
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seed and finely diced
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (approx. 3 large or 5 small)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1 x 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 3 types of 14 oz cans of beans, drained and well-rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Add the onion, garlic and 2-3 tbsp of water to a large soup pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 6-7 minutes.
  2. Add the bell peppers, jalapeno, carrot and spices. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the tomato paste, beans and vegetable broth.
  4. Simmer lightly until the carrots are tender, approximately 15-20 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve right away with optional toppings like green onion, vegan sour cream, avocado, cilantro or crushed tortilla chips.
  7. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months.


This recipe was originally published December 3, 2013 and called for 3 cups of cauliflower rice stirred in with the tomato paste and broth. I omitted the cauliflower rice when I updated the recipe in 2019. If you’d like to add extra texture and “beef” the chili up a little, you can still add the cauliflower rice. Alternatively, you can stir in 1-2 cups of cooked quinoa or brown rice once the chili is cooked. You may need to add more vegetable broth to adjust the thickness.

For beans, choose from chickpeas, fava beans, white kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, black-eye peas or kidney beans.

Keywords: vegan chili, three bean chili, 3-bean chili

This recipe was originally published December 3, 2013. It was updated July 2019 with new photos, improved instructions and a revised recipe (see notes in recipe card).