Three Bean Chili

This is a simple, vegetarian chili recipe that can be customized to your tastes or what you have available. It freezes well and can be reheated in the microwave. Different vegetables and beans may be used, and cheese or sour cream make great toppings. Fresh beans may be used, but canned are easier and the liquid in the can helps thicken the chili. I buy canned beans without salt added, or at least labeled as having reduced sodium. If you use canned beans that do not say “reduced” or “no” salt on the label, then do not add the 2t of salt with the beans and only add additional salt to taste after everything is fully cooked and reduced.


Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Wait: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1t oil
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, diced
  • 3t salt, divided (less if the beans used have added salt)
  • 1T cumin
  • 1T chili powder
  • 1T oregano
  • 1t ground mustard
  • 1/2t cayenne (optional)
  • 1T tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15oz cans fire roasted tomatoes (or diced, or equivalent amount of fresh, diced tomatoes)
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 15oz can black beans, undrained
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 4oz can of green chilis, diced
  • 2oz dark chocolate


  1. Add 1t oil to a large dutch oven or similar pot and put over medium heat.
  2. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the bell pepper, onion, jalapeño, 1t salt, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and optional cayenne. Mix well and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions and peppers start to soften.
  3. Add the tomato paste. Mix well and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the garlic. Mix well and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the tomatoes, the beans and their juices, 2t salt (or less especially if your beans have added salt),the smoked and regular paprika, the green chilis, and the dark chocolate. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
  6. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.


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