When the cold months arrive, there’s nothing better than a hearty bowl of vegetarian black bean chili! It’s a healthy, filling, and oh so satisfying dish that will have your whole family asking for seconds. Made with delicious fresh veggies and mouthwatering spices, this chili is soon to be your new favorite!

A white bowl contains a serving of black bean chili, garnished with cilantro.


Is there anything cozier than a bowl full of warm chili?! I don’t think so. However, the same chili time and time again can get pretty boring. Shake things up by making this vegetarian dish!

You don’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy this meal. When I first served this to my husband, he didn’t even realize it was meat free. There’s so much flavor in every bowl, you won’t even miss the meat.

What gives this chili so much incredible flavor is the combination of spices and veggies. With ingredients like cayenne pepper, garlic, and freshly zested lime juice, it’s impossible not to crave this dinner.

Freshly sliced lime is placed next to two white bowls of chili.
A straight on picture shows a white bowl filled with black bean chili and cilantro.


For such a flavor packed dish, this black bean chili is SO easy to make! It’s a one pot recipe that only takes about a half hour to whip up. After a long day at work, this is the ultimate weeknight dinner.

The hardest part will be waiting 20 minutes for it to fully cook, because your kitchen is going to smell like heaven!

Start by preparing the pan. Over medium high heat, warm up the olive oil in a large stock pot.

Chili is filling a large metal pot.

Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook both chopped ingredients until they’re softened, but be careful not to overcook. You don’t want them to be burned or mushy in texture. They should be soft, but still firm enough to hold their shape.

Stir in the garlic and jalapeño. Once these chopped veggies are added, continue cooking the mixture for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.

Toss in the remaining ingredients. Once the mixture is fragrant, add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, black beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, lime zest and juice. Stir everything together to fully combine.

A close up image shows cilantro, cheese and a lime on top of a pot of chili.

Cook the black bean chili. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Then, allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve, and enjoy! Season with salt and pepper to taste. Be conservative with your salt! There are so many flavorful spices in this dish already, you don’t want to salt to overpower. Serve with chopped cilantro, lime slices, sour cream, green onions and shredded cheese, if desired.

Two white bowls of chili are placed on a white surface next to a sliced lime.

How long will it stay fresh?

In an airtight container in the fridge, this chili will stay fresh for up to 3 days. It also reheats wonderfully in the microwave! If you have any leftovers, I highly recommend enjoying a bowl for lunch the next day.

Can I make it spicier?

Absolutely! You can turn up the heat by adding more chopped jalapeños and cayenne pepper. Likewise, you can cut the spice in half by reducing those ingredients accordingly. Just keep in mind, the majority of the flavor comes from those two ingredients.

What other chili recipes do you recommend?

If you need a big bowl of love, you’ve come to the right place! Chili is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. One dish that my family always asks for is my creamy white chicken chili. I also can never get enough of my sweet and spicy slow cooker chili!

A spoonful of chili is scooped out of a white bowl.

Another amazing thing I love about this healthy vegetarian recipe is the fact that it’s inexpensive! When it comes to weeknight dinners, I need my recipe to be three things – inexpensive, delicious, and easy. This chili is all three!

Do you need something to serve this up with? Try making my famous buttermilk cornbread. It’s truly tasty, and pairs perfectly with this recipe. If you’re feeling fun, try drizzling a little honey on top of the bread and thank me later.


Chili is filling a large metal pot.


Hearty and healthy Black Bean Chili is made with pantry ingredients for an easy, quick weeknight dinner. Perfect for meatless Monday!
5 from 1 vote


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro, lime slices, sour cream, sliced green onions


  • stockpot


  • Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and bell pepper, cook until softened.
  • Stir in the garlic and jalapeno. Continue cooking for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, black beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, lime zest and juice stirring to combine.
  • Bring the chili to a boil then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with chopped cilantro, lime slices, sour cream, green onions and shredded cheese, if desired.


Chili can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Calories: 220kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 553mg, Potassium: 864mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1935IU, Vitamin C: 46mg, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 5mg