Hearty Three-Bean Chili

DSC_6898Back as a grad student, I  had limited time to cook  between class and internships.  Very often I’d make a large pot of this vegetarian chili. I would enjoy a few meals in the week and freeze the rest in Ziploc containers. This chili freezes really well and tastes just as good reheated.  Needless to say, this dish has an insane amount of protein. I always find you feel better when you eat food cooked at home and this chili gave me that luxury and didn’t cost me too much effort.

Health stuff:

Beans:  Chili is a one pot meal. You’ll likely be full without needing any sort of carb dish. An interesting fact about beans, is that they are comparable to meat when it comes to calories. However, because of the high fiber found in beans, they will keep you full and satisfied for much longer. They are also low in sugar and saturated fat.

Peppers:  Unfortunately, cooking peppers on high heat removes a large portion of their phytonutrients. Don’t be too sad! They do still retain some of their antioxidant properties, and chili peppers in particular have proven to help burn calories.


You will need:

  • 1 can of organic garbanzo beans
  • 1 can of organic red kidney beans
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 packet of Morningstar Farms meatless crumbles
  • 2 cans no sodium diced tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • 3 different types of bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion (I used half red, half yellow), diced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Chili seasoning (Not to be confused with red chili powder which is pure pepper. Chili powder comes in the spice aisle and has a mixture of chili, garlic, and other spices.)
  • Red chili powder (optional)
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced,  (seeds optional)
  • Cumin seeds
  • Cumin powder
  • Lime
  • Salt n’ pepa

Optional toppings: greek yogurt, sour cream, cheese, sliced jalapeño, onion, cilantro, a few dashes of cholula hot sauce



1. Thoroughly rinse the beans, and prep the veggies. Ideally, the healthiest option would be to use dried beans that have been soaked and pressure cooked. I found canned beans to be the quickest and easiest option.

2. In a large non-stick pot, add a few tbsps of olive oil and 2 tsp or so of cumin seeds

3. Once the cumin seeds start to ‘pop’, add in the onion, garlic and jalapeño.

4. Allow the onions to become slightly translucent before adding the peppers. I always use peppers of three different colors because I like the color combinations in the dish. Eat with your eyes folks!

5. Once the peppers are sautéed for a couple minutes, Add about 3 healthy tablespoons of chili seasoning (or one packet), one tbsp of cumin powder, and salt to taste.  You can add some red chili powder at this stage if you would like it to be extra spicy.

6. Add two cans of diced tomatoes that have been drained of the juice, 2 tbsp of tomato paste,  and the crumbles (it doesn’t matter if it is defrosted). Add water and reduce to medium.

7. Finally, cook, cook cook! The longer the chili cooks, the the tastier it will be. Stir occasionally, and check back in 20 minutes. If you’d like a thicker, heartier chilli, let it cook longer.

8.  When you think it’s done, squeeze the juice of half a lime and add in some chopped cilantro.

Serve with any of your favorite toppings. I served it here with some greek yogurt, red onion, jalapeño and cilantro.




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