Classic Three-Bean Chili (vegan | plant-based)

Chili was a frequent dinner in my house growing up. My mom would make it and serve it up with shredded cheese, sour cream, all that stuff, and it was always a favorite dinner of mine. To this day I think my mom’s chili is my number one, so I was very excited when she decided to make a vegetarian “three-bean” version of her classic beef chili. She graciously passed me her loose “recipe” so I could make it official and here it is.

This recipe makes a huge batch of chili, and even though I’m only feeding two people, I always appreciate leftovers to play around with. After making this chili I used it for some Chili Cheese Potatoes – roasted potatoes, the three-bean chili and a quick spicy “cheese” sauce made from cashews.

Classic Three-Bean Chili
serves 6-8


2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt, fine grain
1 large sweet onion, small diced
4 celery stalks, small diced
4-5 carrots, small diced
3 tablespoons chili powder
42-oz diced tomatoes
6-7 oz tomato paste
28-oz canned kidney beans
14-oz canned white beans (cannellini or great northern)
14-oz canned chili beans (or pinto beans)

To Make

In a large lidded pot, heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté for about 10 minutes. Add chili powder, stir to combine.

After a couple minutes add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and continue simmering for 2 hours, checking and stirring periodically. Cover with lid to thicken as needed, I leave it uncovered for 1 hour and covered for the last hour.


This recipe is my mom’s classic beef chili, she adapted it to be vegan and I made into a formal recipe.

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