A hearty 5 bean chilli is the perfect store cupboard dinner. Healthy, rich and full of flavour, it’s perfect for colder days. Serve on its own, heaped onto a baked potato, or with rice. This delicious chilli is easy to make and comes together quickly as it uses tinned beans. Substitute your favourite!
5 Bean Chilli
I do love to batch cook. It feels good to fill the freezer with some homemade meals, ready to defrost and reheat. This delicious 5 bean chilli is the perfect winter warming, crowd pleasing dish. It is super easy to make, adaptable, and uses store cupboard ingredients, so it’s perfect for when you can’t get to the shops. It’s frugal as well as vegan and gluten free.
This no fuss vegan 5 bean chilli could also be called 7 can chilli as it uses 7 cans of beans and tomatoes. The recipe makes enough for 10 bowls of chilli and would probably stretch to 12 if you served it with rice and baked potatoes as well as lots of toppings. Perfect for family and friends after long country walks, going to the game – any time you come home and want a hearty meal to feed a crowd ready and waiting, or if you are stuck at home and want an easy meal from your pantry.
Why is it so easy?
The real secret to this five bean chilli is that it uses tinned beans. You could start from scratch by soaking and then cooking all the different beans, but it’s far easier just to pop some cans open. It really is the perfect larder recipe, with no shopping required.
The recipe itself is straightforward. You dry fry the spices until they’re releasing delicious aromas and filling the kitchen with those mouth-watering smells. Then sweat down some onion and celery until translucent, and then add back the spices, canned tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients.
Why do you blend half the black beans?
We like to blitz about half the black beans with a little of the canning liquid, because this is an easy way to thicken the chilli. Using blitzed beans to thicken rather than flour also means that the chilli is gluten free. It’s one of our favourite ways of thickening a casserole, adding depth of flavour and an almost creamy texture.
Once all the ingredients are in the casserole dish, pop in the oven for a couple of hours, or slow cooker so that the flavours come together.
Can 5 bean chilli be cooked ahead?
Absolutely! In fact, if you prepare the chilli a day or so ahead, the flavour will develop and mature. This results in a dish that’s even better than when first cooked. Just be careful, because the the level of heat from the spices will also increase. You might want to moderate the spiciness if you’re going to keep it in the fridge for long.
Can I freeze vegan 5 bean chilli?
Yes! The 5 bean chilli freezes beautifully. I pack double portions into plastic takeaway trays and fill the freezer for healthy ready meals when ever you need one.
Which beans are best for 5 bean chilli?
We love this combination of haricot (also called navy beans), black eyed, aduki, kidney and black beans. But feel free to substitute in your favourite. Any robust bean would do. You could even use chickpeas or some lentils.
Is this 5 bean chilli vegetarian?
Yes. The recipe below is actually vegan. Obviously, adding sour cream or cheese when serving will mean that the dish as served is no longer vegan, but you could use a suitable vegan cheese or sour cream substitute. And don’t worry about meat-eaters. We think this recipe is so delicious that they won’t notice that it’s meat-free.
How to make it
Step one – Grind the cumin, coriander seeds and chillis.
Step two – Add the ground spices to a pan and dry fry until aromatic. Remove and set to one side.
Step three – Fry the onion, celery and garlic in the sunflower oil until starting to turn golden brown.
Step four – While the onions are cooking, drain and rinse the tinned beans. Reserve half the black beans together with their liquid and blitz with a stick blender to a smooth liquid.
Step five – Add all the ingredients to the pot, and stir. Put the lid on and cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours at 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
Can I make chilli in a slow cooker?
Yes, we often make this vegan mixed bean chilli in our slow cooker. Dry fry the spices, and the onion, celery and garlic beforehand in a frying pan on the hob. Then add all the ingredients to the slow cooker pot. About eight hours on low or 4 on high should give a delicious result. Adjust timings according to the temperature of your slow cooker.
How do I serve 5 bean chilli?
Here are a few suggestions – this really is the perfect week night after work supper.
- A bowlful on its own topped with your choice of grated cheese (vegan if needed), sour cream and cubes of avocado or guacamole for creaminess. Add sliced chillies, chopped spring onion and sliced radishes for some extra heat and texture.
- Topping a baked potato. Perfect for an outdoor winter lunch! Ideal for supporters at a sports event.
- With rice. Use a long-grained version, such as basmati. We cook rice in the microwave, in a microwave rice cooker. It’s a foolproof method, easy and convenient. Quick too, taking just fourteen minutes for brown rice.
- Add a little vegetable stock and whizz into a delicious soup.
Sauces to serve with bean chilli
I love to garnish, and if cooking for a crowd I’ll serve this and a chilli con carne, with a choice of
Easy rice dishes to serve with chilli
Plain basmati rice is delicious with this, but choose from
Leftovers are delicious in a baked potato or on a slice of no yeast bread.
Lemon posset makes an excellent dessert after a chilli!
Slow Cooker 5 Bean Chilli
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 chillies (large, dried)
- 2 tsp sunflower oil
- 2 onions (chopped)
- 2 celery stalks (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tins plum tomatoes
- 1 tin haricot beans
- 1 tin black eyed beans
- 1 tin aduki beans
- 1 tin kidney beans
- 1 tin black beans
- 1 tbs cocoa powder
- 1 tbs paprika
- 1 tbs sweet chilli sauce (or tomato ketchup)
- 2 tbs tomato puree
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated cheese (or vegan alternative)
- sour cream (or vegan alternative)
- chopped avocado
- sliced chillies
- sliced radishes
- lime wedges
- baked potatoes
- Grind the cumin, coriander seeds and chillis.
- Add the ground spices to a pan and dry fry until aromatic. Remove and set to one side.
- Fry the onion, celery and garlic in the sunflower oil until starting to turn golden brown.
- While the onions are cooking, drain and rinse the tinned beans. Reserve half the black beans together with their liquid and blitz with a stick blender to a smooth liquid.
- Add all the ingredients to the pot, and stir. Put the lid on and cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours at 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Serve with baked potatoes or rice topped with any of grated cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream (vegan if required).
To make in the slow cooker
- Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker pot. Cook for 4 hours on high, or 8 on low. Adjust for your slow cooker.
- Adjust the spicing and heat to suit your taste. This chilli is quite earthy from the cumin. Use less if you prefer.
- Timings will vary depending on the brand of beans you use (the texture varies widely) and on your slow cooker. Adjust timings accordingly.
- Freezes well.
- Nutrition is for just the 5 bean chilli without toppings.
- This recipe without the toppings is 8 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion.
Recipe for vegan, gluten free 5 bean chilli originally published way back in March 2008. And just to show how our photography has improved, here’s a pic from the original post!