Spice Up Your Mealtime: 3-Bean Chili Recipe

As someone who loves meals that are hearty, filling, and require minimal effort- you’re in for a treat. This Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili recipe is about to become one of your all-time favourites. Not only is this recipe vegetarian and vegan, but it is also super easy to make thanks to the trusty crockpot.

Get ready to enjoy rich, delicious flavours bursting with nutrients that will leave your taste buds singing with joy. Plus, you can personalize it according to your liking by taking advantage of the options provided in the substitutions and variations section.

Don’t settle for bland and boring meals because life is too short, and your appetite deserves better. Trust me on this, you won’t be disappointed with this 3-bean chili recipe. So grab your apron, tie it tight, switch on the crockpot and let’s get started.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili (CrockPot)
Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili (CrockPot)

Are you looking for a hearty and satisfying meal that is also nutritious and easy to make? Look no further than this three-bean vegetarian chili recipe. Not only is it packed full of flavor, but it’s also perfect for vegetarians and vegans alike.

This chili recipe is loaded with protein and fiber from the combination of dried black, kidney, and pinto beans, all soaked overnight for better texture. And if you’re worried about it being too spicy, don’t be–the seasoning is mild, with just a hint of cayenne pepper for extra kick.

But perhaps the best part of this recipe is how simple it is to prepare. Just toss all of your ingredients into your crockpot or instant pot slow cooker, set it on low for 6 to 8 hours, and let it do all the work. It’s perfect for busy weeknights when you don’t feel like cooking or for lazy weekends when you just want to relax.

So why not give this chili recipe a try? Not only will your taste buds thank you, but your body will too with its healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s a great way to switch up your regular weekday meals while staying on track with your diet plan. Enjoy!

Ingredient List

 Crockpot comfort food at its finest!
Crockpot comfort food at its finest!

Let’s Gather Our Ingredients

To make this hearty and flavorful Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili, we need to gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 can of Rotel tomatoes & chilies
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of dried kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup of dried black beans
  • 1/2 cup of dried pinto beans

Note: While using canned beans may seem like a tempting shortcut, the variations in the time beans will take to cook could result in an unevenly cooked chili.

Remember to rinse and soak your dried beans before proceeding to cook.

Let’s get cooking!

The Recipe How-To

 Dive into a big bowl of lazy vegetarian 3-bean chili.
Dive into a big bowl of lazy vegetarian 3-bean chili.

Now that you’ve gathered all the ingredients, it’s time to get started on this hearty and delicious 3-Bean Chili recipe. This recipe is perfect for when you’re feeling a bit lazy and want something warm and comforting without putting in too much effort. Just toss everything into your slow cooker or CrockPot and let it do its thing!

Step 1: Prep Ingredients

Start by preparing your ingredients. Chop one onion, drain and rinse two cans of black beans (15 ounces each), and drain one can of kidney beans (15 ounces) – be sure to say “yes” to black beans! Combine the chopped onion, drained and rinsed black beans, drained kidney beans, 1 can of Rotel tomatoes & chilies (10 ounces), 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces), and 3 cups of water into your slow cooker.

Step 2: Add Seasoning

Next, it’s time to add some seasoning to your chili. Add one tablespoon of cayenne pepper, one teaspoon of salt, and two teaspoons of cumin to your slow cooker. Be sure to give everything a good stir so that the seasoning is evenly distributed throughout the chili.

Step 3: Cook & Thicken The Soup

Set your slow cooker on low and let it cook for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Once the cooking process is nearly complete, add one can of refried beans (16 ounces) to thicken up the soup. Let it cook for an additional 20 minutes until it thickens up.

That’s it! Your vegetarian 3-bean chili is ready to be served.

Enjoy your delicious meal in a bowl, topped with diced avocado, shredded cheese or fresh herbs!

Substitutions and Variations

 Chili weather calls for a warm and cozy meal like this.
Chili weather calls for a warm and cozy meal like this.

As a chef, I know that sometimes substitutions are necessary or desired to satisfy your taste or dietary needs. Fortunately, this Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili Recipe is very versatile, so feel free to make some modifications!

First, let’s talk about beans. While the recipe calls for dried kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans, you can definitely substitute them as per your preference. For instance, if you prefer a softer texture for the chili or want to save time you can use canned beans instead of dried ones. Just be sure to drain and rinse the canned beans well and only add them in 30 minutes before serving.

If you find it challenging to find or do not have all the required bean types, you can also use refried beans or substitute different kinds of beans like navy beans or cannellini.

You can also experiment with spices to change up the flavor profile, adding smoked paprika for a smokey flavor, oregano for extra herbiness, or even cinnamon for a subtle sweetness. Similarly, if you like spicier food than average, then replace cayenne pepper with hot chili powder.

For those who don’t have a slow cooker, don’t worry! You can still make this chili in an instant pot in less than 45 minutes by following the same steps .Alternatively use a regular pot and simmer the chili on low for six hours until it thickens up.

Try these different variations out and see which one becomes your new go-to comfort food!

Serving and Pairing

 This lazy vegetarian chili is packed with plant-based protein.
This lazy vegetarian chili is packed with plant-based protein.

After all the work you put into preparing this delicious three-bean chili, it’s time to serve it up and enjoy! This easy-to-make and hearty chili is so versatile that there are endless possibilities when it comes to serving and pairing.

As a vegan chef, I love to serve this 3-bean chili with some vegan cornbread or a side of quinoa for my non-cornbread lovers. The sweetness of the cornbread matches perfectly with the spiciness and savory taste of the chili. Alternatively, you can also serve it over a bed of white or brown rice, which will absorb some of the flavors and give an extra dimension to your dish.

If you want to add some freshness to your chili, try topping it with sliced avocado or some diced tomatoes. It adds some bright colors, fresh flavors and textures to your dish.

This vegetarian chili is also wonderful as a topping for nachos, baked potatoes or even hot dogs! You can play around with different toppings like dairy-free cheese, jalapenos, cilantro, green onions or lime wedges. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed!

Looking for the perfect drink pairing? Try serving this chili with ice-cold beer or ginger ale. The bubbles will help cut through the heaviness of the dish and enhance its rich flavors. Alternatively, if you want something hot and comforting to wash down all that heat from the pepper, try a warm cup of tea or cocoa.

I hope these recommendations have inspired you to experiment with different ways of serving and pairing this three-bean chili recipe. Believe me, there are plenty of possibilities for enjoying this hearty meal in many ways!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Who says vegetarian food has to be complicated?
Who says vegetarian food has to be complicated?

When it comes to this vegetarian 3-bean chili recipe, there are a few different options for make-ahead meals and storing leftovers. Whether you’re looking to meal prep for the week ahead, or want to save some leftovers for an easy weeknight dinner, there are a few things worth noting to make sure your chili is just as delicious when reheated.

First of all, this bean chili is perfect for making ahead of time. You can easily prep all of the ingredients ahead of time and toss everything into the crockpot in the morning before work. Leave it on low for 6-8 hours and you’ll come home to a hearty, flavorful meal ready to be served.

If you have any leftovers, they will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days. When it comes to reheating your chili, I recommend doing so on the stovetop if possible. Simply warm it up over medium heat and add a splash of water or broth if needed to help thicken soup that might have thinned out during storage.

Alternatively, you can reheat your chili in the microwave. To do so without drying it out, I suggest covering the dish with a damp paper towel or microwave-safe lid and heating it on medium power for 1-2 minutes at a time until warmed through.

Finally, if you’re looking to freeze your three bean chili for longer storage, I highly recommend prepping individual portions that can be thawed and reheated as needed. This will help ensure that your chili stays fresh and flavorful even after several weeks in the freezer. When thawing, simply move your container from freezer to fridge 24 hours before eating. Then reheat as usual on stove-top or microwave.

Overall, this vegetarian bean chili recipe is endlessly versatile and delicious both right away and reheated as leftovers. Just remember these tips when making ahead or storing your leftover portions!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Spicy, savory, filling, and oh-so-easy to make.
Spicy, savory, filling, and oh-so-easy to make.

If you want to make the best Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili using your Crockpot, here are a few tips to ensure success.

First and foremost, make sure you are using high-quality ingredients. Use fresh onion and peppers for maximum flavor. Also, opt for high-quality canned tomatoes and chilies without any additives or preservatives.

Preparation is key when it comes to cooking beans. It’s important to soak the dried kidney, black, and pinto beans overnight before starting to cook them in the Crockpot. This will help reduce cooking time and improve their texture.

When it comes to spices, be mindful of your personal preferences. This recipe calls for cayenne pepper, but if you’re sensitive to heat or feeding picky eaters, you can reduce or omit this ingredient altogether. Alternatively, you can add more spices such as smoked paprika or chili powder.

To thicken the soup, puree a cup of cooked beans with water in a blender or food processor until smooth. Then, stir the puree back into the Crockpot during the last hour of cooking.

To achieve the best flavor and texture, cook the chili on low heat for six to eight hours or on high heat for four hours. Resist the urge to lift the lid of the slow cooker too often, as this can lower the temperature and increase cooking time.

Finally, don’t skip on toppings! Add a little extra crunch with tortilla chips or toasted pumpkin seeds, and top with shredded vegan cheese or sour cream if desired.

Follow these tips to create a hearty and delicious Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili that everyone will enjoy!


As they say, there are no stupid questions! Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili (CrockPot) recipe, along with some helpful answers and tips to ensure your chili turns out perfect every time.

Do you have to brown meat before slow cooker chili?

According to the vegan chef, while it may not be a requirement, browning or caramelizing the meat before adding it to a slow cooker can greatly enhance the taste and appearance of the final dish. The chef suggests that the caramelized layer on the meat can add a rich and full-bodied flavor to the dish, making the extra effort well worth it.

How long can you leave chili in a crockpot on low?

I really enjoy the convenience of this recipe because it allows me to let the slow cooker do all the work. To get the best results, it’s recommended to cook this chili on low heat for a minimum of four hours. As with most chili recipes, the longer it cooks the better it tastes. By keeping it on low, guests can help themselves throughout the evening.

Can you cook chili in the crockpot all day?

Cooking chili with a low and slow method is the key to infusing all the chili seasonings into every delicious bite, while also giving the beef time to become tender and juicy. Whether you opt for a low heat setting and let it cook for 6-8 hours or choose a high heat setting for a faster 3-4 hour cook time, your palate is sure to appreciate the results.

How do you thicken beans in a slow cooker?

Incorporating a slurry into your soup recipe can be a great way to thicken it up. A slurry is a combination of flour and water that’s whisked together until it forms a smooth mixture. To use a slurry in a slow cooker soup, it’s best to add it at the end of the cooking process so that it has enough time to thicken the soup. Ideally, you should add the slurry when there is at least 30 minutes of cooking time left to allow the raw flour to cook through and properly thicken the soup. This hack is a simple yet effective way to add texture and body to your soup recipes.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili recipe is an amazing choice for vegans and non-vegans alike. Its texture and flavors combine perfectly to create a hearty and delicious vegan chili that will leave you wanting more.

Not only is it easy to make, but it is also very affordable as well. You won’t have to worry about spending too much money on complicated ingredients or cooking techniques. Instead, all the ingredients are easily available and the CrockPot does all the work for you!

Moreover, with its adaptability in terms of serving size and storage, this recipe is perfect for meal prepping and enjoying on multiple occasions. You can even freeze it for later consumption.

So whether you are looking for a healthy vegan chili recipe that is also easy to make or simply want to try something new, Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili is definitely worth a try. Give it a chance and treat yourself with this amazing vegetarian bean chili recipe that your taste buds will surely thank you for!

Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili (CrockPot)

Lazy Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili (CrockPot) Recipe

An easy, boyfriend-approved 3-bean chili that is perfect for lazy weekends. It's great without meat, but you can always add some browned beef or turkey to the recipe to spice it up.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 12 cup
Calories 227.9 kcal


  • 1 cup dry pinto beans
  • 1 cup dried black beans
  • 1 cup dried kidney beans
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes & chilies
  • 1 (15 ounce) can sweet corn
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 (1 1/4 ounce) packets chili seasoning mix
  • 1 onion, chopped


  • Simply add all of the indgredients to your slow cooker/CrockPot and cook on high for 6-8 hours. Cook on low for an additional 2-3 hours adding additional vegetable broth if you prefer a thinner chili. Serve with toppings of your choice.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 438gCalories: 227.9kcalCarbohydrates: 44.9gProtein: 13.5gFat: 1.9gSaturated Fat: 0.3gSodium: 264.7mgFiber: 7.9gSugar: 5.5g
Keyword Beans, Beginner Cook, Easy, Inexpensive
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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