A hearty and delicious chilli doesn’t have to have meat in it and this Bean Chilli with Avocado Salsa will hit the spot this on a cold day. This one pot wonder is protein packed, low in fat, high in flavour and easy to adapt with other ingredients you might have that need using up. Easy to freeze too, which makes it perfect for batch cooking.
This dish is super cheap to make (with a few optional add-ins if you aren’t on such a tight budget) and vegan as well, making it perfect if you are trying to reduce your food shopping bill, and also eat more meat free meals. You could easily add some cheese and/or meat to it if you didn't want it to be vegan.
This is a cupboard staple meal, and using canned or dried beans makes it ideal for when money is a bit tight. If you are looking for other ways to use beans, why not try our Chipotle Bean Stew, Mexican Beans on Toast, or Spanish Bean Stew.
Why you will love it
- Healthy and hearty - It doesn't get much more comforting than a big bowl of beans. A low in fat, but high in protein dish that will keep you full.
- Budget friendly - We love bean based meals for a budget friendly dish. Beans help to bulk it out and keep it filling, without any expensive ingredients. You can use whatever beans you have too.
- Freezable - This bean chilli freezes and defrosts really well, making it perfect for bulk cooking. We try to keep a big batch of this in the freezer to add to jacket potatoes for an easy filling meal.
- Easy to adapt - Use this bean chilli as a base and then adapt it to suit your own tastes or to add whatever vegetables you have that need using up. We have added some of our favourite variations below.
- Onion - This is the base of the chilli. We added a small brown onion, however you could swap it for diced shallots which would add some sweetness. You could save time by using frozen onions.
- Carrot - This not only adds some colour, but crunch as well. Make sure you finely dice the carrots, so that they cook at the same rate as the other ingredients. You could swap these for diced bell peppers if you prefer.
- Celery - This also adds some chunky texture and a unique salty flavour. You can leave if out if you aren't a fan of celery.
- Mushrooms - Beans are great for a vegan dish, but we love mushrooms too because of their meaty texture. We like to add a selection of mushrooms like shiitake and chestnut, as they have such different textures.
- Garlic - Save some time and use frozen chopped garlic.
- Canned beans - The star of the dish. We used black beans, cannellini beans and haricot beans, however you could use butter beans, chickpeas or another canned bean if you prefer.
- Canned tomatoes - This is what makes up the base of the sauce. Try to use the best quality tinned tomatoes you can, as the inexpensive ones tend to be really watery and you use up with a watery sauce, rather than a rich one. We love Mutti crushed tomatoes.
- Lime - A squeeze of lime juice adds some lovely freshness to the chilli and some is added to the avocado salsa too.
- Coriander - This also freshens up the whole dish. I know not everyone is a fan, so this can be left out if you prefer.
- Cumin and paprika - These add plenty of flavour to the bean chilli. Make sure that the spices are in date, otherwise they won't have any flavour.
- Chipotle paste - This is what adds the heat and plenty of smokiness. This is quite a spicy chilli, so use less chipotle paste if you don't like really spicy food and you can always add more at the end if you like.
- Tomato - This is the base of the salsa. Make sure that the tomatoes are nice and ripe, otherwise they won't have any flavour to them.
- Avocado - This is mixed with the tomatoes to make a creamy salsa. Make sure the avocados are ripe, otherwise they will be hard and tasteless.
- Spring onion - We use this instead of red onion in our salsa as we prefer the flavour.
- Jalapeno - This adds a kick of heat to the salsa. Add more or less to suit your own tastes.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Heat the oil over a medium heat and cook the onion, carrot, mushroom, celery and garlic. Cook until softened - about 5 minutes.
Two: Add the rest of the ingredients for the chilli, mash down the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, mix well and simmer for 30 minutes.
Three: Meanwhile, make the avocado salsa by mixing together the ingredients in a bowl and let the flavours come together until the chilli is ready
Four: Serve it all up with some rice and tortilla chips.
Health benefits of beans
Whilst they might not be the first things you think of when you think of nutrient dense ingredients, beans have lots of great health benefits. They are a great source of protein, and much cheaper than other protein sources like chicken, beef or fish, which makes this a budget friendly protein packed meal.
They are also loaded with with fibre, folate and potassium (which can help lower blood pressure), as well as helping to lower "bad" cholesterol. The magnesium in black beans also plays an important role in protecting your bones.
You can use any beans you like, or use a mix like I did. I used black beans, cannellini beans and haricot beans - but any would work. I like making recipes where you don't have to go out and buy new ingredients, just use whatever beans you already have, or whatever ones are on offer.
This is such an easy recipe to adapt. Use the bean chilli as a base and then add lots of extra vegetables to bulk it out and make it go further. Here are some of our favourite ways to adapt it:
- Bell peppers - These help to add some crunch to the chilli, and you can use any colour peppers. You could also use frozen ones.
- Spinach - This is an easy way to give a green veggie boost to the bean chilli. You could use kale instead, or even a mixture of the two.
- Sweet potatoes - If you didn't want to serve this bean chilli with anything and wanted to make the chilli itself a whole meal, then why not add some small cubed sweet potato. It makes it extra hearty. You could even use butternut squash or a mixture of the two.
- Leek - The onion can be swapped for leek that has loads of extra flavour.
- Cauliflower - Not only does this add some extra nutrients, but it adds some chunkiness and extra creaminess to it too.
- Meat - This is delicious meat free meal, however if you wanted to add some meat to it then you could either fry up some chorizo, or stir through some shredded leftover cooked chicken before serving.
- Cheese - Why not top this chilli with some crumbled feta or even some grated mature cheddar. You could use a vegan alternative to keep it vegan too.
What to serve it with
Chilli and rice is the obvious combination and we love serving it with our Lime and Cilantro Rice. But this chilli is great with so many other things. Try it on top of a baked potato or a hot dog to make a chilli dog. If you want to stick with a traditional chilli and rice combo, then why not add our Easy Homemade Flatbread or some simple tortilla chips to dip in?
We always make sure that we have some leftover for the next day, as it makes an epic nacho topping. Also, stir some into Mac and Cheese. AMAZING! Or make a spicy lasagna with it. See, SO many uses.
Frequently asked questions
Leftovers store well in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Be aware that the chilli flavour gets strong as time goes on and it is spicier when reheated.
Yes, this freezes really well. Let it full cool and then portion it out in to freezer containers and it will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Make sure the chilli is fully defrosted and then heat it through in a pan. Make sure it is piping hot before serving.
Yes, this is a gluten free recipe. Just make sure there is no cross contamination and that the sides you are serving it with are gluten free too.
Yes, you can use dried beans you make this chilli. You would need to soak them first and then cook them according to instructions and then add them to the dish as in this recipe.
• Rinse the beans from the can before adding them to the pan.
• Leftovers are delicious served on a jacket potato or nachos.
• Feel free to adjust the spiciness by using more or less chipotle paste.
• You can use any beans you like or just one kind. We like using a mixture for a mixture of texture and taste.
• For an extra rich flavour, add a little grated dark chocolate to the mixture. Bean chilli with chocolate is delicious!
• This tends to thicken as it sits, so you might been to add a little stock to thin it out before serving if you prefer a thinner chilli.
More vegan recipes
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Red onion - diced
- 1 Carrot - peeled and diced
- 6 Mushrooms - diced
- 1 rib Celery - diced
- 4 Garlic clove - crushed
- 1.2 kg (6.75 cups) Canned beans - drained (we used black beans, cannellini beans and haricot beans)
- 800 g (1.75 lb) plum tomatoes - canned
- 1 Lime - (juice only)
- 4 tablespoon Fresh coriander (cilantro) - chopped
- 2 tablespoon Chipotle paste
- 1 teaspoon Ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 Avocado - diced
- 2 Tomatoes - diced
- 4 Spring onion (Scallion) - sliced
- 2 Jalapeños - sliced
- 1 Lime - (juice only)
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon Olive oil over a medium heat and cook 1 Red onion, 1 Carrot, 6 Mushrooms, 1 rib Celery and 4 Garlic clove. Cook until softened - about 5 minutes.
- Add 1.2 kg Canned beans, 800 g plum tomatoes, juice of 1 Lime, 4 tablespoon Fresh coriander (cilantro), 2 tablespoon Chipotle paste, 1 teaspoon Ground cumin, 1 teaspoon Paprika and 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper. Mash down the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, mix well and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the avocado salsa by mixing together 1 Avocado, 2 Tomatoes4 Spring onion (Scallion), 2 Jalapeños1 Lime and 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper in a bowl and let the flavours come together until the chilli is ready
- Serve it all up with some rice and tortilla chips.
- Leftovers are delicious served on a jacket potato or nachos.
- Feel free to adjust the spiciness by using more or less chipotle paste.
- You can use any beans you like or just one kind. We like using a mixture for a variety of texture and taste.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.