Three Bean Vegetarian Chilli

I like to keep this vegetarian chilli relatively mild and serve it with plenty of jalapenos and sour cream on the table. I think this is a good way to allow people to dictate their own 'heat' level.

My three bean chili is thick, tomato-ey, tangy and slightly sweet - thanks to the addition of sun-dried tomatoes. No, not terribly authentic but, then again, as I'm often told, real chili shouldn't even have beans. But where would that leave us vegetarians?

Sure you can use soya mince or Quorn to make a decent vegetarian chilli that may replicate traditional chili a little better. But my favourite vegetarian chillis use plenty of beans or lentils like a rich lentil chili or this three bean chili recipe.

A mix of beans provides really good texture. Here I've used kidney beans, butter beans and chickpeas. Any combination of beans is ok but I do think it is nicest to use beans with a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Although I generally cook beans from scratch, for this dish, I usually use canned beans. Soaking and cooking three different kinds of beans with three different sets of cooking times seems like too much work. With canned beans, this chili can be made in less than 30 minutes.


1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 large onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon of chilli powder

1 tablespoon of ground cumin

½ tsp of ground cinnamon

1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced

200g/3 cups of sliced mushrooms

1 400g/14 ounce can of kidney beans

1 400g/14 ounce can of butter beans

1 400g 14 ounce can of chickpeas

2 400g/14 ounce cans of chopped tomatoes

200g/7 ounces of sun-dried tomatoes in oil

½ teaspoon of salt

To Serve:
Jalapenos peppers

Sour Cream


Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan and gently fry the onion until soft. Add the chili powder, cumin and cinnamon and stir for a minute.

Add the garlic, green pepper and mushroom, cover and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.

Chop the sun-dried tomatoes very finely or use a food processor to grind them to a paste with a little of the oil from the jar and add this to the pan with the beans, canned tomatoes and salt.

Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes. If the three bean chili starts to get a little too thick add a little water.

Serve with rice or crusty bread and some jalapenos and sour cream. Because this chilli is quite thick, it makes a very good enchilada or burrito filling.

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