This simple vegetarian mixed bean chilli is an absolute staple of mine. It’s easy, filling, and a classic homecooked meal the whole family can enjoy – I make this for my toddler and I all the time, and she’s probably its biggest fan! This 3 bean chilli recipe uses pantry staples to create a versatile veggie chilli with sweet potato that is rich in protein and iron and, most importantly, tastes delicious!
Mixed bean chilli is a classic vegan meal that might seem boring at first, but as anyone who has spent time honing their chilli-making skills can tell you, it’s anything but!
I make this on a regular basis as a standard weeknight dinner for my daughter and me (it’s really easy to just bosh out while I’m working and allow it to simmer until dinner time!), but I’ve also made it for a dinner party fancied up with all the Mexican sides: guacamole, rice, tortilla wraps, salsa, chips, and cheese!
This rich vegetarian mixed bean chilli is full of flavour: made with pinto beans, kidney beans, and butter beans, as well as caramelised roasted sweet potatoes, it’s full of delicious different textures, and a rich chilli sauce that goes perfectly with creamy homemade guacamole and crunchy tortilla chips.
How to make this mixed bean chilli
This 3 bean chilli is made from pantry staples that most people with already have in the cupboard. The bonus of this is that it’s a cheap and cheerful meal that loses zero flavour in the process.
Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page for the full ingredient quantities and instructions.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Pinto beans
- Kidney beans
- White onion
- Sweet potato
- Tomato paste
- Tinned chopped tomatoes
- Vegetable stock
- Herbs and spices (salt and pepper, cumin, and smoked paprika are the key components of this mixed bean chilli. If you want added spice, add chilli powder – I prefer to add chopped jalapenos on top of my chilli personally.)
Tools you’ll need
This mixed bean chilli is insanely easy to make. You’ll need only a few tools to bring this together:
- A baking tray for roasting your sweet potato
- A large pot to assemble the chilli
- A spoon for stirring
- A knife and cutting board to chop your veg
To make this chilli:
- Roast sweet potato chunks with olive oil and cumin
- Add finely diced onion and carrots to a saucepan
- Then add garlic, tomato puree, and smoked paprika
- Stir in tinned tomatoes, stock, your beans, and any other herbs
- Let the whole thing simmer and bubble and meld together to really deepen in flavour
This chilli recipe takes less than an hour at the minimum – but I love letting it simmer on low heat on the hob for longer so it can really deepen in flavour.
Add your roasted sweet potato chunks to the chilli not long before serving to ensure the potato doesn’t lose that wonderful crispiness!
Substitutions and swaps: what beans to use in a mixed bean chilli?
This 3 bean chilli recipe uses pinto beans, butter beans, and kidney beans. However, I tend to just use whatever I have in the cupboard, which can differ from week to week!
Other beans/pulses that could work great include:
- Black beans
- Cannellini beans
- Haricot beans
- Black-eyed beans
- Green lentils
Aside from the beans factor, here are a few substitutions/swaps and adaptions that work great with this veggie chilli – I told you it’s versatile!
- Add in chopped celery and red pepper for an extra boost of vegetables
- Add chilli powder or chipotle paste to add extra heat to the chilli – this is something I omit because I regularly share this meal with my toddler, but I add chipotle paste when cooking purely for adults!
- Try adding a square of dark chocolate to your chilli to give it an extra depth of flavour
- Add in some vegan mince crumbles for added protein (you might also like this Homemade Vegan Chilli Recipe which uses vegan mince)
What should I serve with a three bean chilli?
My preferred way of serving this wholesome mixed bean chilli is with a squeeze of lime, slices of creamy avocado, and crunchy tortilla chips to scoop it all up!
Of course, chilli is such a versatile dish because you can serve it so many different ways. Other ways you could serve this chilli or dishes you could pair it with include:
- Served with rice and vegan sour cream or salsa
- In pitta bread pockets with guacamole
- On nachos with heaps of vegan cheese, jalapenos, and all the toppings!
- In wraps to make burritos or enchiladas
- With homemade chips or wedges for your own take on dirty fries with a creamy cheese sauce
- Paired with crunchy potato tots or rostis and creamy avocado
- As it is, with soft cornbread on the side
- Have it with fajita vegetables (you could also make these vegetarian chicken fajitas to go as a side!)
Can I replace the sweet potato with a white potato?
I wouldn’t recommend using white potato in place of the sweet potato in this veggie chilli – it might make the recipe feel more like a stew than a chilli! However, if you don’t have sweet potato or would prefer a lower-carb version, you could omit the sweet potato altogether. You might just consider adding a few extra seasonings as the sweet potatoes add extra cumin-flavouring to this recipe.
How long does this mixed bean chilli take to cook?
From start to finish, this mixed bean chilli takes about 45 minutes to cook. However, the actual hands-on cooking time required is only around 15 minutes – for the remainder of the time, your chilli will just be bubbling away happily in the background while you get on with your day!
For parents: Is this bean chilli suitable for baby-led weaning?
Yes, my 9-month-old will eat this with us! For a smaller baby, you might want to blend the vegetables and beans or mash them to make the dish easier to manage. I also omit the salt when cooking and then add it to my own bowl just before eating. You may want to use a low-sodium stock cube if you are being conscious of salt intake for your little one.
I serve this chilli with slices of avocado and a scoop of yoghurt to make it a little milder.
Other recipes you might like…
- Homemade Vegan Chilli Recipe
- Mexican Pinto Beans Recipe
- Easy Chickpea and Potato Curry
- Vegan Black Bean Burrito Recipe
- Mexican Black Beans
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into chunks
- 2 tsp cumin
- 400g tinned tomatoes
- 400g tinned pinto beans, drained
- 400g tinned butter beans, drained
- 400g tinned kidney beans in chilli sauce
- 1 stock cube
- 100ml water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
- Peel your sweet potato and chop it into bite-sized chunks, then place it onto a baking tray with a little olive oil and your cumin powder. Roast for around 35 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft
- In a large saucepan, add oil and then your onions and carrots. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add your tomato puree, spices, tinned tomatoes, stock & water, and the beans (drain your pinto beans and butter beans first)
- Stir everything well and bring to a boil, then simmer for 40 minutes until the chilli sauce is thick. (You could also just leave the chilli to simmer on low for longer so all the flavours can really deepen together!)
- Serve with a squeeze of lime, avocado, and tortilla chips!
If you can't find kidney beans in chilli sauce, substitute with standard kidney beans in water (drained). You might just want to bulk up the spices added so you don't lose any flavour!
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