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Black Bean Chili


Black Bean Chili

If you’ve never had meatless chili before, you might be surprised by how incredibly good it is. The black beans make it dark and satisfying, and the spices add all that just-right chili flavor. Serve it as a baked potato topping, or in bowls with toppings of its own. (Kids Advisory Board member Chananya amps up the heat with a pinch of cayenne pepper.)
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings

kitchen gear

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife (adult needed)
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large pot with lid
  • Heatproof spatula
  • Can opener
  • Colander or strainer
  • Pot holders


  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper(any color), seeded and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans black beans,drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 3 cups cups water, plus more asneeded
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt


  • Put the pot on the stove, turn the heat to medium-high, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and spices, cover the pot, and cook until the vegetables are just getting soft, about 10 minutes. Stir the vegetables occasionally as they’re cooking.
  • Turn the heat up to high, add the black beans, tomatoes and their juice, water, and bay leaf and bring to a boil (you’ll know it’s boiling when you see bubbles breaking at the surface).
  • Lower the heat to low and cook, partially covered (with the lid not quite all the way on) and stirring occasionally, until the beans are very soft and the chili has thickened, about 1 hour. If the chili gets too thick or starts sticking before it’s done, add a little more water. Taste the chili. Does it need a pinch of salt or any more seasonings? Add it and taste again.
  • Fish out the bay leaf and throw it away. Serve right away with any or all of the toppings.


For topping:
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Chopped scallions or red onions
  • Sliced pickled jalapenos
  • Diced bell pepper (any color)
  • Plain yogurt or sour cream
  • Lime wedges for squeezing
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