A hearty vegetarian chilli is the perfect winter dish. Healthy, rich, flavourful and filling, it’s perfect for colder days served on it’s own, heaped onto a baked potato, or served with rice. This delicious five bean chilli is easy to make and comes together quickly as it uses tinned beans. Substitute in your favourite! Oven bake or make in the slow cooker.
I do love to batch cook and to fill the freezer with some homemade meals, ready to defrost and reheat when I don’t want to cook of an evening. This delicious 5 bean chilli is perfect the perfect winter warming, crowd pleasing dish. It is super easy to make, adaptable, uses everyday ingredients, is frugal as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten free.
This vegan 5 bean chilli could also be called 7 can chilli as it uses up 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 both rice and baked potatoes as well as lots of toppings. Perfect fodder for family and friends after long country walks, going to the game – any activities when you come home and want a hearty meal to feed a crowd read and waiting!
How do I make this 5 bean chilli?
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. The recipe itself is straightforward: 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?
One of the things we like to do is to blitz about half the black beans with a little of the canning liquid: 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, and be even better than it was when first cooked. Just beware the the level of heat from the spices will also increase, so you might want to moderate the spicyness if you’re going to keep it in the fridge for long. This dish also freezes well – we prepare a large casserole dish full, portion out into individual portions and freeze for healthy home-made ready meals.
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 bean is 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, even 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.
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 first, 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:
- A bowlful on its own topped with your choice of grated cheese (vegan if needed), sour cream of cubes of avocado or guacamole for creaminess. Add sliced chilies, 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.
A hearty vegetarian chilli is the perfect winter dish to feed a crowd. Healthy, rich, flavourful and filling with a gentle heat and earthy notes from the cumin. Cook in a casserole in the oven or in the slow cooker.
- 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 chill 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.
Whilst 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 9 minutes to 2 hours at 180C / 350F / Gas 4
Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker pot. Cook for 4 hours on high, or 8 on low. Adjust for your slow cooker.
Serve with baked potatoes or rice topped with any of grated cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream (vegan if required).
Adjust the spicing and heat to suit your taste. This chilli is quite earthy form the cumin, use less if you prefer.
Timings will vary depending on the brand of beans you use - the texture varies widely and your slow cooker. Adjust timings accordingly.
Nutrition is for just the 5 bean chilli without toppings.
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!