Oh, dinner. Haven’t I made you six thousand times in the last two months?
And yet, I can’t quit you. My hunger persists.
I propose a compromise: a hearty dish that is 100% dinner-worthy but requires no more than a few minutes of my time and 3 ingredients from my pantry.
It sounds like a win-win to me. It’s my 3-Ingredient Black Bean Chili.
3-Ingredient Chili Highlights
This chili is every bit as good as it looks, and so much more. Namely, it is:
- Very high in fiber (16.5 g per serving)
- High in protein (17.5 per serving)
- A good source of iron (37% of your daily needs)
The Chili Ingredients
The rich flavor and thick texture of this chili belie the ease of making it. Yet, really and truly, it is made with 3 ingredients:
- Canned black beans
- Canned tomatoes with green chiles
- Chili powder
You can always add more spices, if you like–for example, ground cumin, ground coriander, or a pinch of cinnamon–but they are not needed to create a wicked good chili.
Use Canned Tomatoes with a Green Chile Kick
Canned tomatoes with green chiles are familiar fare here in Texas. In case they are unfamiliar in your neck of the woods, look for brands such as Ro-tel alongside other canned tomato products (once you find the Ro-tel you’ll find other varieties shelved nearby).
The cans are smaller than many other canned tomato products (10 ounces for the former, 15 ounces for the latter). I have some easy substitution in the recipe notes if you cannot find them.
Look for Reduced Sodium Options
Both of these canned goods come in low- or no- sodium options. I strongly recommend using both, as it allows greater control over the salt content. If you cannot find the educed sodium options, no worries, just be sure to give the beans a very thorough rinsing to remove excess salt.
The Secret to Thick Chili in a Fraction of the Time
So here it is, the key to giving this chili a rich, slow-cooked texture in a fraction of the time: mash a portion of the beans before adding them to the saucepan.
How to Make 3-Ingredient Vegan Black Bean Chili
Step One: Coarsely Mash Some of the Beans
I prefer mashing with a fork and a bowl or cutting board. If you prefer, pulse the beans in a food processor. Be careful, do not puree the beans, just break them down into a thick mash with plenty of uneven pieces.
Step Two: Add All Ingredients to a Saucepan
Once a portion of the beans are mashed, simply add everything to a medium saucepan.
Step Three: Cook the Chili
Stir to combine, and then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue boiling for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
Step Four: Adjust the Seasonings
Adjust the salt to taste, and then serve it up!
Add Optional Toppings, If Desired
I managed to find the last bits of a cilantro bunch in my produce drawer, so I chopped and sprinkled them onto my bowl-ful.
Have fun topping this easy chili with what you have and love, such as:
- diced avocado
- sliced green onions
- sliced jalapenos
- a squeeze of lime
- crumbled of tortilla chips
- shredded vegan Cheddar or Jack cheese
- Toasted pepitas
- freshly diced tomatoes
How to Store the Chili
Store the completely cooled chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days or the freezer for up to 6 months.
Canned Tomato Options
1 and 1/2 15-ounce (425 g) cans of fire-roasted or chili-ready (seasonings added) diced tomatoes can be used in place of the tomatoes with chiles. Plain diced tomatoes can also be used in a pinch.
Canned Bean Options
Canned pinto beans, red beans, or red kidney beans can be used in place of the black beans.
Happy eating, everyone!