Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

5 from 7 votes

Hearty and filling, this black bean chili with quinoa is a meatless wonder! This bean chili is delicious and full of flavor!

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This Vegetarian Black Bean Chili with quinoa is a hearty, meat-free meal that is perfect for a cold winter night. The black beans, bell pepper, onions, and crushed tomatoes create a flavorful base, while the warm spices and jalapeno give it just the right amount of kick. Serve it with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt with a side of cornbread for the perfect comfort food meal.

Overhead shot of chili in a white bowl with another filled bowl off to the side.

There’s nothing quite like a big pot of chili simmering on the stove on a cold winter day. This vegetarian black bean chili is perfectly spiced and hearty, making it the perfect meal for any occasion. Black beans are high in fiber and protein, making them a great choice for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. This chili is also vegan-friendly and gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy it!

why you’ll love this quinoa and black bean chili

  • Filling. This black bean chili is sure to keep you sated, thanks to the addition of quinoa. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need.
  • Flavorful. A mix of spices, including chili powder, and cumin, give this chili its flavor. Fresh jalapeno adds a touch of heat, while crushed tomatoes give it a slight acidity.
  • Easy to make. This black bean chili can be made in under an hour, making it perfect for a weeknight meal. Simply sauté the veggies, add the spices and quinoa, then let it give this chili its flavor.
  • Great for lunch or dinner. This chili is hearty enough to be a meal on its own, or you can serve it as a side dish. It’s also great for leftovers, so make sure to make a big batch to pack in a lunch box the next day!

Ingredients to make black bean chili

  • Black beans: Black beans are the star of this chili. They’re high in fiber and protein, making them a filling and nutritious addition to any meal.
  • Quinoa: Adds a depth of texture and flavor to this chili, plus it’s a complete protein.
  • Bell pepper: Bell peppers add a touch of sweetness to this chili.
  • Onion: Onion is a classic ingredient in chili, adding depth of flavor.
  • Crushed tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes give this chili a slight acidity and sweetness.
  • Jalapeno: Jalapeno adds a touch of heat to this chili. If you don’t like spice, you can leave it out.
  • Spices: A mix of chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper give this chili its flavor.
Ingredients for recipe before prepping: uncooked quinoa, jalapeno, black beans, oil, chili powder, green bell pepper, onion, crushed tomatoes, and spices.

How to make black bean chili

  1. In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed deep pot, add olive oil and heat. Once shimmering, add onion, bell pepper and jalapeño and cook until the vegetables have softened and the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the chili powder, cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until the spices begin to toast and smell fragrant.
  3. Add the tomatoes, black beans, quinoa and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, then cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and the chili has thickened.
  4. Taste the chili, adding a pinch more salt and pepper as needed. Top with optional toppings and serve warm.
4 image collage on how to make recipe in one pot.

Tips for making quinoa and black bean chili

  1. Adjust your liquid. Depending on how saucy your canned tomatoes are and how thick you prefer your chili, you may need to add more or less water. You can also add more flavor by using vegetable broth instead.
  2. Use low-sodium black beans. Black beans can be high in sodium, so make sure to use low-sodium black beans to control the amount of salt in this chili.
  3. Make sure to finely dice your onions & peppers. You want the onions and peppers to be small enough so that they blend into the chili and aren’t too chunky.
  4. Start with less spice and add more as needed. It’s always easier to add more spice than it is to take it away. So, if you’re unsure about how much heat to add, start with less and then add more to taste.
Top down shot of pot of chili garnished with cilantro with fresh diced red onions and avocados in small bowls nearby.
  • Make it less spicy. If you prefer things less spicy, you can omit the jalapeño or at least remove the ribs and the seeds of the pepper, which will tame the heat significantly. 
  • Make it more spicy. Alternatively, if you crave even more spice, try adding 1 chipotle pepper in adobo (minced) along with 1 tablespoon adobo sauce into the chili when you add the tomatoes for a sweet, smoky heat.
  • Add more vegetables. This chili is already packed with veggies, but you can add even more if you like! Try adding corn, zucchini, or sweet potato for extra nutrients and flavor.
  • Use a vegetarian friendly meat alternative. If you want to add “meat” try using a “ground beef” alternative for additional texture and flavor.
  • For a richer flavor, try using fire roasted diced tomatoes. Fire-roasted diced tomatoes will give this chili a smokier flavor.
  • Omit the quinoa. If you’re not a fan of quinoa or are looking for a grain-free option, you can simply omit it from the recipe. The chili will still be just as delicious!

what to serve/pair with your Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Two bowls filled with recipe and topped with avocado, yogurt, cheese, and onions.

how to store & reheat quinoa and black bean chili

I recommend storing any leftovers in a glass container in the fridge. When reheating, make sure to add a splash of water or broth to loosen it up as it will thicken as it sits.

how long will black bean chili last in the fridge?

This chili will last in the fridge for up to four days. Beyond that, I recommend freezing it.

can I freeze black bean chili?

Yes! Any leftover quinoa and black bean chili can also be frozen in individual portions and then reheated as needed. This is a great option if you’re meal prepping or want to have an easy lunch or dinner on hand during the week. Simply thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat on the stove or in the microwave. 

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to drain the black beans?

I do. The liquid tends to make the chili turn brown and murky looking. Taste wise, it won’t really do much but looks wise, it’s not as pretty.

Can I use dried beans?

Yes! If you want to use dried beans, simply cook them ahead of time according to package instructions. You’ll need about three cups of cooked black beans for this recipe.

What can I use instead of quinoa?

If you’re not a fan of quinoa, you can use rice, couscous, or even lentils. Just cook them according to package instructions and add them into the chili when directed. 

Two bowls of chili with one close up with a spoon scooping up some, garnished with greek yogurt, chopped avocado and red onions, and shredded cheese.

Whether you’re serving it up for a quick weeknight meal or packing it for lunch, this vegetarian black bean chili is sure to please. And, it’s easily customizable to fit your preferences. So, whether you like it spicy or mild, there’s a version of this chili for you.

So, what are you waiting for? Give this vegetarian black bean chili a try today! You won’t be disappointed.

More vegetarian soup recipes:

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Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Hearty and filling, this black bean chili with quinoa is a meatless wonder! This bean chili is delicious and full of flavor!
5 from 7 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Dinner, lunch, Soup
Calories 244
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 small jalapeño seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 14.5 ounce can black beans , drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup quinoa rinsed
  • 2 cups water

Optional toppings:

  • Greek yogurt
  • cilantro
  • chopped red onions
  • diced avocado
  • shredded cheddar

Instructions

  • In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed deep pot, add olive oil and heat over medium heat. Once shimmering, add onion, bell pepper and jalapeño and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and the onion is translucent.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook 1-2 minutes or until the spices begin to toast and smell fragrant.
  • Add the tomatoes, black beans, quinoa and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and the chili has thickened.
  • Taste the chili, adding a pinch more salt and pepper as needed. Top with optional toppings and serve warm.

Notes

Tip: Store any leftover chili in a glass container to avoid the tomato staining a plastic container. 

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 840mg, Potassium: 1057mg, Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1513IU, Vitamin C: 43mg, Calcium: 124mg, Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Overhead shot of chili in a white bowl with another filled bowl off to the side.

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