Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili

Three-bean Vegetarian Chili

Sometimes, it can be hard to find healthy meals that fill you up too, or at least, it can feel that way to me. This is a super tasty, filling and low-calorie vegetarian chili that I found in the latest Cooking Light magazine. Talk about getting your veggies in! I analyzed the recipe as written below using the Recipe Analyzer and it came back at less than 400 calories at 6 servings and just under 550 calories if it feeds four.

Now, I'll warn you, it does take a while to make, especially if you're going to cook your own beans. It's worth it, trust me. We made this over the course of the afternoon after returning from our walk and the thick, hearty chili was just right for a cold and snowy evening.

While I do show this in its chunky, fresh from the pot state, we both found that we preferred it after pureeing for a few seconds. It was smoother and more to our taste - however, I know that many chilis are very chunky, so puree or not as you like.

Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili [printable recipe] [latviski]

Adapted from the January 2010 issue of Cooking Light
Serves 4 - 6

  • 3 oz / 1/2 cup dried black beans1
  • 3 oz / 1/2 cup dried great northern beans
  • 3 oz / 1/2 cup dried kidney beans
  • 2 red bell peppers2
  • 2 cups (about 1 small yellow) onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (if available)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 - 6 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cubed, peeled winter squash (about 1 medium-large acorn squash)3
  • 800g / 28 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Preparing Beans4: Soak beans in a jar full of water overnight. Drain beans and pour into a large pot, covering with lots of water, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender. (In my case, it took about 2 hours or so.)

Preparing Bell Peppers: Cut peppers in half and remove seeds, stems and membranes. Place skin-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until blackened - about 12 minutes. Place in a paper bag and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel away the blackened skin and chop finely.

Preparing the Chili: Heat oil in a large pot over low to moderate heat. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes until nicely browned. Stir in cumin, crushed chili flakes, paprika(s), a pinch of salt and garlic, plus a splash of white wine, then cook for 2 minutes. Add peppers, broth, squash and tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Add cooked beans and continue simmering for an additional 25 minutes. Puree about a third to a half of the chili using an immersion blender or blender/processor to make it thick and tasty. Serve with sour cream.


  1. Obviously you can use whatever mixture of dried beans you like. Or, you can use canned - the ratio is 1/2 cup dried beans (makes approximately 1 1/2 cups cooked) to 1 15oz can of drained, canned beans.
  2. Or, you can use about 4 canned roasted red peppers. Sometimes red bells are just too expensive to buy here, so I always have some canned on hand.
  3. In this case, I used acorn, but you could use butternut, delicata, hubbard or even pumpkin. Or just about any other winter squash I've forgotten to name here, except maybe spaghetti squash. That I don't think would work.
  4. I use the overnight soaking method, but you can also do a "quick soak." I don't like it because it's more work and takes just as long as the overnight soaking method! It's really only useful when you forget the put the beans in a jar the night before.