Slow cooker black bean chilli is perfect for busy families needing flavour-packed meals that are also easy to prepare and stuffed full of plant-based nutrition.
This chilli is suitable for everyone especially vegans, plant-based dieters, vegetarians and gluten-free. Simply chuck in all the ingredients and leave for 4 hours to cook in the slow cooker or crockpot. So easy. I love it!
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Quick Origins of Chilli Con Carne
Chilli con carne is argued to be an American concoction strongly influenced by Mexican food and flavours.
Chilli con carne likely originates in San Antonio, Texas, way back to the 1800s when woman known as chilli queens sold bowls of chilli as a form of street food. The first chilli was basically a tomato based spicy meat stew.
By the early 1900s chilli parlours were common eating establishments in Texas and throughout the Western US.
In 1977 chilli con carne became known as the national dish of Texas where it is fondly termed ‘a bowl of red’.
Beans were a later addition to chilli con carne, albeit not an agreeable addition to a Texan chilli who would argue that beans have no place in a chilli.
However for the meat-free version chilli sin carne beans are generally the main delicious ingredient.
What Is Chilli Sin Carne?
Growing up in Scotland chilli con carne was a popular dish and I always associated this meal with kidney beans.
I remember a dried packet of vegetarian Mexican chilli known as bean feast. Water was added to the dried mix and simmered for about 20 minutes. I remember enjoying this exotic meal immensely as there was not many vegetarian options to be had back then! Bean feast has since been discontinued.
Chilli con carne prepared without meat is known as chilli sin carne. Which basically means chilli con carne with no meat.
It does sound like the name indicates that the meal is lacking or being deprived in some way but seriously beans are so nutritious and delicious they marry so well with a spicy tomato sauce.
Slow Cooker Chilli Sin Carne
This black bean chilli is prepared in the slow cooker which is also known as a crock pot. I love using my slow cooker as it is just so easy to chuck all the ingredients in and forget about the meal for a few hours, with no worrying about sticking to the pan.
And the versatility of the slow cooker in that you can control the amount of time needed to cook by selecting low, medium or high heat.
Chilli sin carne is the perfect dish to prepare in the crock pot as the flavours develop beautifully as the chilli is allowed to slow cook.
For this chilli recipe I use black beans and white kidney beans, as I am always looking for ways to add black beans to my family’s diet as they are so high in nutrition.
The usual flavourings for chilli are added, such as chilli powder, paprika and cumin. But I have also added a pinch of cinnamon and oregano as they just add lots of tasty flavour.
The veggies are celery, bell peppers, onions, and carrot. The recipe calls for grated carrot as I find it just cooks better that way in the slow cooker, less likely to be still hard at the end of cooking while releasing more sweetness.
Quinoa is the perfect accompaniment and brings a soft, fluffy and interesting texture that compliments the bean chilli wonderfully.
In all this chilli is super tasty, easy and incredibly budget-friendly. It will likely become a favourite stand-by meal for your family as it is for mine.
How To Prepare Black Bean Chilli:
Recipe Notes And FAQs
Leftover chilli and quinoa can be stored in the fridge, in a covered container, for 3 days.
Or frozen for up to 4 months.
Chilli can be reheated in a saucepan or skillet and simmer over a medium heat until piping hot. A little extra veggie stock can be added to loosen up the sauce if required.
Leftover quinoa can be mixed through the chilli in the saucepan and reheated with the chilli. Or place the quinoa in an oven dish, add a cover, and heat in a hot oven until piping hot. Or microwave for a few minutes.
* vegan garlic bread
* tortilla wraps
* taco shells
* crusty bread
* corn bread
* American biscuits
* bread sticks
* quinoa, as well as tricolour quinoa
* rice, including red and black varieties
* tortilla chips/crisps
* corn chips
* guacamole/sliced avocado
* salsa/ fresh diced tomatoes
* vegan sour cream/mayonnaise/yogurt
* vegan coleslaw
* vegan potato salad (boiled new potatoes with a little vegan mayonnaise, chopped chives, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Enjoy hot or chilled)
* potato skins
* sliced spring/green onions
* mixed salad
* chopped coriander/cilantro
* steamed greens
* roast broccoli
* sweet potato wedges/fries/chips
* white potato wedges/fries/chips
* baked sweet/white potato
* vegan refried beans
* use scoops of this chilli to top vegan carrot hotdogs (perfect way to use up small amounts of leftovers)
All the ingredients work together to create an amazing flavour profile but a few substitutions can be made:
* use any beans you prefer
* use 2 cans of chopped tomatoes instead of passata
* 4-6 fresh minced garlic cloves instead of dried garlic
* 1 tbsp of dried onion to replace the fresh onion
* sweet or regular paprika instead of smoky
* apple cider vinegar in place of the red wine vinegar
* dried mixed herbs to sub for oregano
A few ideas:
* small can of sweetcorn, drained
* small can of green chilli’s, drained
* a fresh green chilli, sliced and added to slow cooker
* fresh chopped tomatoes
* a few squares of vegan dark chocolate
For a gluten-free chilli check your flavouring labels carefully especially your vegan stock, soya sauce and any spices. Especially if you use a spice mix. The vegan stock I use (link in the recipe card) is gluten-free and I also use tamari soya sauce which is usually gluten-free.
Absolutely. Anything that is vegan is suitable for vegetarians.
Simply add all the ingredients to a skillet or similar pan, and stew for 30-45 minutes. More vegan stock may need to be added as the chilli cooks as the liquid will evaporate much more compared to the crock-pot.
Slow Cooker Black Bean Chilli
- Slow cooker/crockpot (at least a 3.5 litre)
- Saucepan, for cooking quinoa or rice, optional
- 2 cans black beans 2 x 400g/14/15oz cans, drained so will result in less beans
- 1 can kidney beans red or white variety 400g/14/15oz can, drained
- 120 g carrot 1 medium, grated
- 95 g celery about 2 sticks/ribs, diced
- 120 g red onion 1 small, diced
- 100 g bell pepper 1 small-medium, diced. Your preferred colour choice.
- 500 g passata (in the US known as tomato sauce or puree) or use 2 400g/14/15oz cans chopped tomatoes.
- 1 tbsp tomato puree concentrated tomato paste
- 1 tbsp garlic powder or 4-6 cloves, minced
- 1 tsp chilli powder use more to taste depending on how spicy you prefer
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp smoky paprika or regular
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp soya sauce tamari or regular
- 2 tsp soft brown sugar or your regular sugar
- 125 ml vegan stock I used 125ml water plus 1 tsp vegan chicken flavour stock powder
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes to mix through chilli after chilli cooked
- 200 g quinoa dried, 50g (1/4 cup) per person, cooked according to packet instructions. Alternatively use rice. Cooking the quinoa in vegan stock is tasty.
- 550 ml vegan stock or water, to cook the quinoa.
- Turn on your slow cooker to the high setting.
- Add all the ingredients, including a pinch of salt and some black pepper, and give everything a good stir.
- Place a lid over the slow cooker and leave for 3 1/2- 4 hours.Check the seasoning and add enough salt to taste. And mix through nutritional yeast flakes if liked.
To cook the quinoa:
- Wash the quinoa using a sieve to catch the tiny seeds.
- Place the quinoa in a saucepan.Pour boiling vegan stock over the quinoa. I used a vegan 'chicken' flavour stock.Mix well, breaking up any clumps of quinoa seeds.
- Bring to a boil, lower the heat, simmer for 15-20 minutes.Remove from the heat and pop a lid over, until ready to serve.
- Serve the quinoa with black bean chilli.A little vegan grated/shredded cheese and a sprinkle of chopped parsley are optional extras.
- Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary. Data is analysed using computerized nutrition apps.
- Nutritional data includes 200g dried quinoa.
- For a lower sodium meal use low-salt vegan stock.
- This recipe may seem like it has a lot of spices and herb ingredients but once purchased your spices will last a long time and can be used in so many more meals.
- Prepare this bean chilli on the stove-top by adding everything to a skillet or similar pan, and stewing for 30-45 minutes. Add extra veggie stock when required during cooking.
- Increase the time needed to cook this chilli in the slow cooker set on medium for 5-6 hours, low for around 6-8 hours. Exact times will depend on your crock-pot.
- Leftover black bean chilli will stay fresh in the fridge, in a covered container, for 3 days.
- Or freeze for up to 4 months.
- This recipe is perfect for batch prepping, especially if you have a larger slow cooker or crock pot and can double up the ingredients. Freeze portions for quick future meals.
- Defrost before reheating. Reheat by adding to a skillet or saucepan and bringing to a simmer, heat through for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently until piping hot.
- Serve with quinoa or rice, or simply with a chunk of crusty bread.
Want more American-Mexican Inspired Vegan Recipes?
Vegan Refried beans (quick, easy and no-oil/fat recipe)
Mexican rice and bean casserole (with a crispy cheesy nacho topping)
Loaded black bean potato wedges (tasty fake away or enjoy as a side dish)