Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Make this vegetarian black bean chili on a Sunday and enjoy it for lunch or dinner all week. Or make it for the family on a busy weeknight. Keeping your pantry stocked with cans of beans and chickpeas, high-quality spices and chiles, and lots of different whole grains is an easy way to prepare quick meals on the fly and to ensure you eat well and stay ageless.

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

A quick-fix dinner that's nourishing and totally satisfying. It's got complex, layered flavors from the orange zest, fresh chiles, and spices, but a cinch to make.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Author Tania Van Pelt


  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced
  • 1 jalapeño seeded, diced
  • 1 pasilla or poblano chile seeded, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle (chile) powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Three 15-ounce cans black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • ½ fresh lime juiced
  • ½ fresh lemon juiced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, chopped, plus more for garnish


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and papilla pepper, and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6-8 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, chile powder, cumin, oregano and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, black beans, teaspoon of the orange zest, fresh lime juice, and 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until all the flavors meld and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice, 1/2 cup cilantro, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Divide the chili into bowls, and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with a big green salad. Chips and guacamole.

Recipe Notes

For leftovers, reheat over low to medium heat, for 5-10 minutes, and add a little water to thin the chili if it's too thick.