Black Bean Chili

Chipotle chilies give this vegetarian black bean chili some serious smoky heat. With corn and red bell peppers, each spoonful is spicy, hearty and filling.

Black Bean Chili

Growing up in Cincinnati, my definition of chili was different than everyone outside the city limits.

Cincinnati chili is a mix of ground beef, tomatoes and beans served over spaghetti. I think of it more as a heavy, chunky sauce topped with an excessive amount of electric orange shredded cheese.

While I absolutely love my hometown, I’ve never been into the local chili 

And that’s why I think it took me years to discover the chili that I actually like. It’s the kind more familiar to everyone else. You eat it from a bowl with a spoon. 

I like my chili in that form of a hearty soup. 

Black Bean Chili

Whether they’re in a salad, veggie burger or burrito bowl, I am a big fan of black beans.

It’s a no-brainer for me to use them as the base for black bean chili.

I don’t want to call the beans the star ingredient of this chili even though they get top billing.

Chipotle chilies add smoky flavor and plenty of heat.

Whenever I buy a can of chipotles en adobo, I freeze the leftover chipotles and sauce in an ice cube tray.

For most recipes you only use one chipotle or just a few spoonfuls of sauce because it is HOT! I can’t stand the thought of wasting them.

Black Bean Chili

How To Make Black Bean Chili

The first step for this black bean chili is to sauté the onions. When they are soft, I stir in the fragrant ingredients: garlic, chipotles, cumin salt and pepper.

Then it’s time to add diced red peppers followed by corn, black beans and a big can of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes.

Instead of rinsing and draining the black beans, I dump them straight from the can to the pot. 

I also pour in some water to thin out the mixture and crank up the heat to bring the chili to a boil.

Once it’s really bubbling, I reduce the heat and let the chili simmer till it thickens and the flavors develop.

Toppings for chili are very important.

I garnish each bowl of black bean chili with crushed tortilla chips for crunch, sliced jalapeños for heat and shredded cheese. 


Black Bean Chili

Black Bean Chili

Chipotle chilies give this vegetarian black bean chili some serious smoky heat. With corn and red bell peppers, each spoonful is spicy, hearty and filling.

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
  • Total Time: 35-45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large red onion, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 chipotle, roughly chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from one 7-ounce can

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped

215 ounce can black beans

115 ounce can corn, drained and rinsed

128 ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

11/2 cups water

Crushed tortilla chips, sliced jalapeños and shredded Mexican blend cheese, for serving


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 4 minutes until they start to soften. Stir in the garlic, chipotles and adobo sauce, cumin, salt and pepper. Continue cooking for an additional 4 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the red peppers and sauté for 2 minutes. Then stir in the black beans, corn, tomatoes and water. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes letting the chili thicken.

Garnish each bowl with chips, jalapeños and cheese.

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