Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

10 Servings
40 min

This easy and healthy chili recipe is perfect for fall and winter! Great for those who love to meal prep as it holds up well in the fridge for the week and can also be frozen to enjoy at a later date.

*Includes crockpot and stovetop directions*

We’re smack dab in the middle of soup season in our house. It’s cold outside, the snow is blowing, and the freezing air just saps the warmth right out of you! If you’re like me, there’s only one thing this situation calls for: chili.

Isn’t it a bit ironic that the dish most known for heat and heartiness shares a name with the coldest time of the year? Irony aside, this vegetarian three bean chili recipe is the sure-fire cure for the winter chills.

My husband and I have probably made this recipe more than any other during our marriage. This vegetarian chili is actually what convinced my husband that an intentionally meatless meal could a) actually fill you up, and b) be 100% delicious, even with all the extra vegetables that are in this chili (which he was initially skeptical about). So if he can sign on and say it’s worth making again and again, I think we’re on to something! This is our go-to comfort food recipe mid-winter and is also the recipe we gravitate towards when we’re looking for an easy, healthy meal to put on the table.

Another reason to love this chili recipe is that it holds up well in the refrigerator, making it an excellent option for meal prep. We always make a large batch of this vegetarian chili to enjoy all week long.

❤ Love this recipe? Click here for more delicious ideas!


Level of difficulty: Easy. Lots of chopping, but nothing fancy; only basic kitchen equipment needed too.

Flavor: The chili spices are the prominent flavor in this dish, so making sure you’ve got a blend you like is key. While making your own spice mix is fun and allows you to control what gets included, this chili recipe is written out using the chili seasoning packets you can find at the grocery store. They’re easy, convenient, cheap, and taste good.

Texture: Chunky. The variety of vegetables and the varying sizes of the beans make this three bean chili a meal, not just a side dish!

Time: This will vary depending on the cooking method you select. After 15-20 minutes of prep work, you can either cook your vegetarian chili in a slow cooker (4hrs on high or 8hrs on low) or the stove top (30 minutes cook time).


Fresh Veggies: This easy vegetarian chili recipes uses carrots, bell peppers, and a medium onion. Using fresh vegetables gives good texture to your chili. The vegetables also release water as they cook, helping to give your vegan chili a nice consistency.

Canned Beans: We’ve experimented with endless combinations of beans for this recipe, sometimes making batches with just one bean, and sometimes going all the way up to 6 types of beans. We’ve found three is just the right number. Lower and the flavor can be boring; higher, and you lose the flavor of each type of bean.

Chili Seasoning: You can use seasoning packets, bulk-purchased chili seasoning, or homemade chili seasoning for this vegetarian chili recipe.

V8 Juice or Canned Tomato Sauce: This adds liquid (and more veggies) to you chili


  1. Wash and chop your veggies: prep your veggies per notes on ingredient list
  2. Place all ingredients in the crock pot and cook: drop all ingredients into the slow cooker and mix to ensure all vegetables are coated in liquid and the spices are distributed. Select heat (low or high) and set a timer (6-8 hours for low, 3-4 hours for high).


  1. Wash and chop your veggies: prep your veggies per notes on ingredient list
  2. Give your root veggies a head start: Sauté the onions & carrot on their own before you add the other ingredients. Because raw root vegetables are tough, they need a bit of extra time to soften up and release their flavor.
  3. Add in your bell pepper: the pepper won’t need as much time as the onions and carrot, so add them to the pot about 5min after the first veggies go in.
  4. Add your chili seasoning: stir to coat your veggies.
  5. Add in tomatoes and their juices: add in the diced tomatoes. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze your pan.
  6. Add beans and V8 juice: Stir until well combined and bring your chili to a boil.
  7. Simmer low and slow: Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 20min. Chili is ready to eat once carrots are fork-tender.


You can use any of your favorite chili toppings on this vegetarian chili! Some ideas include:

  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Shredded cheese such as cheddar, colby jack, Mexican-blends, etc.
  • Lime wedges (for squeeze fresh lime juice onto your chili)
  • Sliced jalapeño peppers
  • Sliced avocado
  • Green onions
  • Oyster crackers (or crushed saltine crackers)


Help! My veggies are still crunchy! What do I do?

  • If you made your chili on the stovetop: you likely didn’t sauté them long enough at the beginning of the recipe. Think of it this way: you want the onions, carrots, and peppers to be about 90% cooked by the time you add the rest of the ingredients. No worries, though! If you’ve reached the end of the recipe and the veggies are crunchy, bring the pot back up to a boil, maintain that boil for about 5min (covered), and then reduce heat to medium-low for another 5min (covered). This isn’t optimal (the beans may become overcooked), but it’ll save the batch of chili: an overcooked bean is far more preferable than an undercooked carrot.
  • If you made your chili in a slow cooker: continue to cook your chili, it needs more time. Check in on it periodically to check the status of your veggies.

Can I use a different combination of canned beans for chili? Definitely! We also like using cannellini beans, black eyed peas, garbanzo beans, and great northern beans in this recipe. Mix and match your canned beans to find your perfect combination. Note: I would not recommend using butter beans as they tend to disintegrate as they cook...not ideal for chili.

My partner just has to have meat in their chili. What do you recommend? Leftover rotisserie chicken is a really tasty addition to this vegetarian three bean chili recipe. It adds a deep savory flavor without drawing too much attention to itself. Using chicken also adds protein without adding a lot of fat, making the chili heartier while still letting the veggies and beans be the stars of the show!


Vegetarian Three Bean Chili
Recipe details
  • 10  Servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 40 min
Show Nutrition Info
Hide Nutrition Info

  • 2, 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2, 15oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2, 15oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1 medium onion, diced⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1, 28oz can petite diced tomatoes⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1 can of V8 -OR- small can tomato sauce⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • 1.5-2 packs of chili seasoning (3-4 Tbsp)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • TBSP olive oil*⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • optional toppings of your choice
Cooking Option 1 - Stove Top Method
Sautee the onions and carrots with olive oil until onions are translucent and carrots have begun to soften, approximately 5mins⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Add bell peppers and continue to sauté another 3-5mins⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Add spices and continue to sauté until aromatic, approximately 1min⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Add tomatoes and juices. Scrape bottom of pan with a wooden spoon while stirring to deglaze your pan⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Add beans and V8 (or tomato sauce) and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer 15-20mins. Chili is done once carrots are fork tender⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Serve with your favorite toppings⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Store leftovers in airtight container in fridge for up to a week
Cooking Option 2 - Slow Cooker Method
Place carrots, onions, and peppers at the bottoms of crockpot. Then add the beans, tomatoes, and spices. Pour V8 over the top⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours, or on the high setting 3-4 hours
  • *Time noted on recipe if for cooking method option 1 - stove top
  • * You can use any combination of beans that you'd like. You just need 6,15oz cans of beans. This recipe includes black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Other great options / ideas: canellini beans, black eyed peas, garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), great northern beans
  • *Olive oil is only needed if cooking on the stove top, not required if cooking in the slow cooker
Meredith | Our Love Language is Food
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!
  • Mel Mel on Dec 06, 2021

    Seems like the recipe is missing some sort of broth?

    • Hi Mel, nope, you don't need broth in this one! The peppers and carrots release juices while cooking, as do the diced tomatoes. The v8 also adds liquid, so you won't need any broth. :)