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Mexican Three Bean Chilli

Three Bean Chilli in a stainless steel pan and a bowlful of it on the side, as well as garlic bread, a bowl of yoghurt and a ramekin with vegan cheese.
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You will have a spicy and smoky Three Bean Chilli in just 20 minutes with our simple recipe that mostly uses store cupboard ingredients! We serve it with crusty garlic bread slices and top it with yoghurt for an ultimate Mexican-inspired feast! With three different beans at play, you will get most of your daily protein from this lovely filling and hearty bowl of food! Furthermore, it is the perfect recipe for meal prep and freezing!

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Why Is This 3 Bean Chilli Recipe Special

Does anybody really need another bean chilli recipe? Probably not. But since you’re reading this recipe, I’m assuming the answer to this question is YES. I’m not sure about you, but for me, it’s difficult to get too excited about a bean dish. When I read beans, I think of jacket potatoes or beans on toast! But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Here’s why this recipe is so special:

  • It packs double smokiness in it: we use both chipotle paste and smoked paprika in this chilli recipe.
  • 3-bean chilli is a perfect dish to make just before your weekly food shop, as most ingredients are not perishable (just raid your cupboards).
  • It’s a budget-friendly recipe: it costs about £1.20* per portion (including the garlic bread).
  • This Mexican chilli is vegan (if you top it with plant-based yoghurt and cheese).
  • Perfect for feeding a crowd!

*UK supermarket prices as of Jan 2021.

3-bean chilli in a large stainless steel pan set on a wooden chopping board.

What Kind Of Beans Are Best For Chilli?

To make this chilli recipe as easy and quick as possible, we use tins of beans, but you are more than welcome to cook dried beans.

Most tinned (canned) beans will work well in this chilli recipe, but we find that the best way is to mix it up with various colours and sizes. That way you get a bit of different texture and flavour in each mouthful. Here are some of the beans that work particularly well:

  • Kidney Beans
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Butter Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
  • Black Eyed Beans

In this particular Three Bean Chilli recipe, we went for a mixture of kidney, cannellini and butter beans, but feel free to experiment or simply use whatever beans you have in your cupboards. You can substitute cannellini beans with white borlotti or white kidney beans, and red kidney beans with black beans.

Method

STEP 1: Make The Three Bean Chilli

Start by chopping your garlic cloves finely. Then deseed and slice your peppers (you can use any colour peppers you have). Then drain all the beans in a large colander and run plenty of cold water through them to remove excess starch and sodium.

Three beans in a colander being rinsed in water.

Heat oil in a large pan. Add garlic, sliced peppers and brown sugar. Cook on low-medium heat for 6 minutes until pepper just starts to soften.

Add the smoked paprika, chipotle and tomato pastes and stir to coat the peppers. Cook for about a minute, then add the drained and rinsed beans.

Tip in a tin of chopped tomatoes, add 300ml of water and stir. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for about 10 minutes. The sauce should reduce and thicken slightly.

When cooked, use a potato mashed to crush some of the beans into the sauce to create a creamy and thick consistency.

Adding tinned chopped tomatoes to the bean and pepper mixture.

Divide the chilli between bowls and top with dairy-free yoghurt (or creme fraiche for non-vegan option), (vegan) cheese and spring onion!

STEP 2: Make Garlic Bread

Whilst the beans are cooking, mix dairy-free spread (or butter) with a pinch of salt, finely chopped garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Make sure your butter is at room temperature to make it easy to mix.

Place the slices of bread under the grill for 1-2 minutes until browned. Take them out, flip them over so that the untoasted side is up. Spread the herby mixture and pop it back under the grill for another minute. Serve the garlic bread with three bean chilli.

Chilli Topping Ideas

Three bean chilli is delicious topped with Greek yoghurt (or a dairy-free alternative) or sour cream and some (vegan) cheese, but if you want to make it extra special, add some:

  • Avocado Slices.
  • Roughly Chopped Coriander.
  • Crushed tortilla chips.
  • Snipped Chives.
  • Slices of Red Chilli.
  • Drizzle of Chilli Oil.
Mexican Bean Chilli in a large pan placed on a wooden chopping board with garlic crean and yoghurt in bowl on the side.

Other Recipes That Use Chilli In All Its Forms

Did you like our Three Bean Chilli Bowl? Have a look at our other recipes that use chilli in various forms:

Recipe Card

Three Bean Chilli

Mexican Three Bean Chilli Bowl

You will have a smoky and spicy Three-Bean Chilli in just 20 minutes with our simple recipe that uses store cupboard ingredients! We serve it with crusty garlic bread slices and top it with yoghurt for an ultimate Mexican-inspired feast! With three different beans at play, you will get most of your daily protein from this lovely filling and hearty bowl of food! Furthermore, it is the perfect recipe for meal prep and freezing!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 4 portions
Calories 619 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the Three-Bean Chilli:

  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 peppers sliced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tins kidney beans (2x400g) drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin canellini beans (400g) drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin butter beans (400g) drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 2 spring onions sliced, to garnish
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened (dairy-free) yogurt to top
  • 60 g (vegan) cheese grated

For Herby Garlic Bread:

  • 4 slices of crusty bread we used sourdough
  • 50 g dairy-free spread or butter room temperature
  • 15 g parsley finely chopped, including stalks
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 large garlic clove

Instructions
 

To Make the Three-Bean Chilli:

  • Heat oil in a large pan. Add garlic, sliced peppers and brown sugar. Cook on low-medium heat for 5 minutes until peppers start to soften.
  • Add the smoked paprika, chipotle and tomato pastes and stir to coat the peppers. Cook for about a minute, then add the drained and rinsed beans.
  • Tip in a tin of chopped tomatoes, add 300ml of water and stir. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for about 10 minutes. The sauce should reduce and thicken slightly.
  • When cooked, use a potato mashed to crush some of the beans into the sauce to create a creamy and thick consistency.
  • Divide the chilli between bowls and top with dairy-free yoghurt (or creme fraiche), (vegan) cheese and spring onion!

To Make Garlic Bread:

  • In a bowl, mix dairy-free spread (or butter) with a pinch of salt, finely chopped garlic and parsley.
  • Place the slices of bread under the grill for 1-2 minutes until browned. Take them out, flip them over so that the untoasted side is up. Spread the herby mixture and pop back under the grill for another minute.

Notes

Serve the Three-Bean Chilli with white rice instead of garlic bread if you want a gluten-free meal!

Nutrition

Calories: 619kcalCarbohydrates: 79gProtein: 27gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 604mgPotassium: 2199mgFiber: 20gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 1610IUVitamin C: 65mgCalcium: 282mgIron: 12mg
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10 Replies to “Mexican Three Bean Chilli”

  1. 5 stars
    I usually use the chili packets when I make chili, but I’ve been looking for another recipe. This one seems perfect! Thank you for sharing!

    1. You are most welcome! Hope you like it 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I love this chili! So many levels of spices and different flavors. It may be my new favorite chili recipe.

    1. Thanks, Kim! So kind of you! Once we started making this chilli with chipotle, we never looked back 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I love a beany chilli and this one is packed with so many lovely flavours – really easy to make too, thank you!

    1. Thanks for giving this recipe a go! Glad you liked it!

  4. 5 stars
    I love the flavors in this hearty bean chilli!

  5. 5 stars
    Loving all the beans in this! Looks like the perfect fall comfort food to me. 🙂

    1. Oh it absolutely is! Perfect comfort food for chilly evenings!

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