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3-Ingredient Black Bean Chili {vegan, oil-free, high protein}

Dinner, made simple: thick, spicy, 3-ingredient black bean chili made in under 30 minutes! It is vegan, oil-free, high in protein, and so darn good.
3-ingredient black bean vegan chili in a wooden bowl with chips in the background

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:

  • Vegan
  • Oil-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Grain-free
  • 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:

  1. Canned black beans
  2. Canned tomatoes with green chiles 
  3. 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.

overhead shot of the ingredients for 3-ingredient black bean 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.

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.

Add Everything to the Pot

Once a portion of the beans are mashed, simply add everything to a medium saucepan.

Stir to combine, and then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue boiling for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes. The chili will be thick, as though it has been simmering for hours.

Adjust the salt to taste, and then serve it up!

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, or a crumble of tortilla chips.

Happy eating, everyone!

Yield: 7.5 cups

3-Ingredient Black Bean Chili {vegan, oil-free, high protein}

3-ingredient black bean chili in a wooden bowl

Dinner, made simple: thick, spicy, 3-ingredient black bean chili made in under 30 minutes! It is vegan, oil-free, high in protein, and so darn good.


  • 2 15-ounce (425 g) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 10-ounce (284 g) cans tomatoes with green chilies (do not drain)

do not drain

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chili powder


  1. Mash 1 cup of the rinsed and drained black beans (this can be done with a fork, or pulse in a food processor; aim for a coarse mash, not mush).
  2. Place the mashed beans, remaining beans, tomatoes and chilies with their juices, and chili powder in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil; boil, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes, stirring a few times. If the chili becomes too thick, add some water.
  4. Serve plain, or add any and all of your favorite toppings (see list of suggestions in the notes).


Storage: Store the cooled chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Topping Ideas: The chili is a perfect canvas for all of your favorite toppings, such as chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, guacamole or diced avocado, nondairy plain yogurt or nondairy sour cream, nondairy shredded Cheddar cheese, toasted pepitas, sliced jalapenos (fresh or pickled), or crushed tortilla chips.

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.

Bean Options: Canned pinto beans, red beans, or red kidney beans can be used in place of the black beans.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1.5 cups

Amount Per Serving Calories 273Total Fat 1.6gSaturated Fat 0.1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 297mgCarbohydrates 59.2gFiber 16.5gSugar 4.2gProtein 17.5g

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @powerhungrycamilla on Instagram and hashtag it #powerhungrycamilla

wooden bowl full of 3-ingredient black bean chili


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Sunday 25th of April 2021

R low sodium options always available? I just found your site, recipes look great, easy AND DELICIOUS, but need LOW TO NO ADDED SODIUM OPTIONS. What companies should I look for. Thank you


Wednesday 28th of April 2021

Hi Grisha! For my baked goods, you can always eliminate the salt. I would also recommend a reduced sodium baking powder for all baking recipes that call for it (HAIN is my very favorite--their featherweight baking powder is gluten-free and sodium-free). For canned goods, like in this chili, look for BPA free cans that are no salt added (these are becoming much more available--even store brands are carrying bpa-free and sodium-free options for things like beans and tomatoes). MIYOKOS vgan butter is amazing, and low sodium. And then most of my baking recipes call for flours that are naturally low sodium or no sodium. I hope that he;ps!


Wednesday 28th of October 2020



Friday 4th of December 2020

Thank you, Sophie!

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