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My Famous Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

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This famous three bean vegetarian chili is a hit with vegetarians and meat-eaters alike! And the only prep required is to chop up some veggies, open some cans and throwing it in the crockpot! 

Happy Fall weather! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love fall. Besides the crisp weather and the excuse to cuddle in a blanket – I think I love this season the most because some of my favorite recipes are very “Fall-y.” Pumpkin Gingerbread anyone? But really, this chilly weather gives me the perfect excuse to make my famous three-bean vegetarian chili.

If you are wondering how my three-bean vegetarian chili became famous, well, that’s a funny story.

When I first moved to Winston-Salem 14 years ago, I bribed myself into new friendships by purchasing a huge cable TV package and inviting people over for football and food. For one of these get-togethers, I threw together this chili recipe, and it was a HUGE hit. It’s been requested many times since then. It was even referred to as “Teri’s Famous Chili” and requested at future football watching parties. I’m so easily flattered. I’ve been living in Winston-Salem for a WHILE years now and I still love this recipe just as much!

UPDATE: I’ve heard from a number of people that the recipe was a bit overspiced so I played around with it and updated some measurements. I hope you’ll give it another try! Thanks for your comments and feedback – it always helps make my recipes better and helps others!

My Famous Three Bean Vegetarian Chili My Famous Three Bean Vegetarian Chili Recipe

My Famous Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili


Black beans
Kidney beans
Pinto beans
Diced tomatoes with juice
Tomato paste
Tomato sauce
Yellow onion
Red or green bell pepper
Chili powder
Worcestershire sauce – make sure you buy a vegetarian one! Some have anchovies.
Dried oregano
Ground cumin
Dried basil
Black pepper
Brown sugar or coconut sugar


There’s just one step in making this chili. I am not kidding.

Step 1

Throw ALL of the ingredients into a Crockpot/slow cooker and cook over low for at least 4 hours (or 2 hours on high if you’re in a hurry). It gets better the longer it has to cook so I recommend the 4+ hours.

If you want to be a little fancier, you can sauté the onion in some olive oil first to release the onion’s flavor a little bit more, but it’s totally not necessary.

My Famous Three Bean Vegetarian Chili Vegetarian Chili Ingredients My Famous Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

Chili Topping Options

I have about a million and one toppings that taste amazing with this chili – depending on my mood. But here are some of my favorite go-to if you want to spice (not literally – that’ll come later) up your chili.


Shredded cheddar cheese works best. If you find your chili is too spicy for your taste, cheese will help bring that spice level down a notch. Vegan cheddar works well too.

Sour cream

I love me some sour cream and chili. Just a dollop is fine. And again, sour cream will help bring down the heat (both temperature and spice!) if things are too hot for you! I love Trader Joe’s organic sour cream. Plain greek yogurt is also a good option if you don’t have sour cream handy! Since I’m not eating dairy while I breastfeed, I’ll be sad not to have the sour cream this year.

Tortilla chips

I love chili paired with tortilla chips. The lighter and crispier the better! The Xochitl brand or the Tostito lime are my two favorites! I’m not really a fritos person, but hey, if that’s your jam, go for it!

Sliced avocado

I LOVE avocado on top of chili. It provides the same cooling effect as sour cream with just a little different flavor.

chili topping options
My Famous Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

Recipe Variations

Chili recipes are usually pretty forgiving – within a limit. Here are some options for ingredient variations so you can adapt this chili to your tastes.


I get it – some people like the spice. If you want your chili extra spicy, include the entire jalapeño, skin, and seeds. Basically, just dice the jalapeño and throw the whole pepper in the Crockpot, except the stem. Pickled jalapeños also work well.

I also recommend starting light on the jalapeños and adding more after you do a taste test. Nothing is worse than throwing too many in and having a chili that’s so spicy you can’t even eat it. (Been there!)


I don’t always have the right vegetables handy when I am throwing together this recipe. Maybe you can relate?

So I have tried many other vegetables in this recipe over the years. The veggies that work best (and are not in the ingredients list above) in this chili include carrots, sweet corn, peas, and green beans. If you LOVE veggies, then I would say try out different ones. It just depends on how you like your chili to taste. I tried broccoli in my chili once, and I won’t lie, it was weird. Don’t do that.


I mentioned this in my beef chili recipe post but I’ll say it again here. My better-than-Martha-Stewart-cornbread recipe is an amazing side to this chili. Cornbread and chili are the best. Head on over to that recipe and cook that up while this chili cooks in the crockpot!

So there you have it – my famous chili recipe! What recipe do you have that is famous? And please leave a link to the recipe if you have it posted on your blog.

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My Famous Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

  • Author: Teri from A Foodie Stays Fit



1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)

2 cans kidney beans (drained & rinsed)

1 can pinto beans (drained & rinsed)

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 red or green bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno, finely diced (to taste…I like things medium spicy, so using half the pepper will do)

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 large (or 4 average) garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon brown sugar or coconut sugar


Throw ALL of the ingredients into a Crockpot and cook over low for at least 4 hours (or 2 hours on high if you’re in a hurry). It gets better the longer it has to cook so I recommend the 4+ hours.

If you want to be a little fancier, you can sauté the onion in some olive oil first to release the onion’s flavor a little bit more, but it’s totally not necessary.

Enjoy this old photo from when I posted this back in 2011.

fall winter chili recipe

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    63 responses to “My Famous Three Bean Vegetarian Chili”

    1. Sounds DELICIOUS! I’m going to make it for sure. I love easy recipes with no hassle of meat… I’m not a huge fan of cooking meat. I have a famous White Bean Chicken Chili… actually a girl on Rachel Ray made it famous but I’ve had to give it out multiple times.

      • I made this vegetarian chili for my grandsons not realizing that the Worcester Sauce I buy has anchovies in it so they couldn’t eat it, live and learn!

    2. mmm. can i have two? i really do have two signature aubry recipes:

      french toast and buttermilk syrup {seriously, every utahn has had buttermilk syrup, but it’s really the super fluffy – with flour! – french toast recipe that makes this fab}


      banana bread {there is SUCH a good story attached to this post. promise it’s worth the click.}

      • your french toast sounds amazing. and apparently i’m not from utah because i didn’t know that every utahn had their own buttermilk syrup.

        that banana bread story is classic. and terrible. and the bread looks incredible.

    3. This is perfect in cold days here in my country.. i wanna try it, my family
      will love it.. thanks for sharing.

    4. My fudge is pretty “famous” among friends and family. Secret recipe though! 😀

      That chili does look amazing. I’ve been having lots of soup this week because of the new chill too.

    5. YUM! I am personally not ready for summer…although that is because I am in Texas and I am not ready for the 110 temps. I hate that it is March and we hit 90 last week! UGH!

    6. yum. you can never go wrong with chili! i have a few recipes on my blog that are famous and are my mom’s…gotta love mom recipes 🙂
      Her granola:
      Her praline mix:

      And this recipe of mine has become famous in my mom’s opinion…she makes it every time they have a little get together!

      • there are a lot of ingredients but most of them are spices that are already in the cupboard! 🙂

    7. I love one step recipes! This looks delicious…and it’s snowed 2 days in a row here, so chili sounds wonderful. 🙂

    8. I also have a famous chili recipe! It’s made with bulgur wheat, so it gets that meaty-thick texture without the meat. I just checked, but unfortunately have not posted it to my blog thus far. I’m sure it could be worked into an existing chili recipe, though.

    9. Maple cinnamon almond butter!!!! Definitely my most made + raved about recipe. I might just have to make this chili while we have no kitchen! <3

    10. you are the cutest ever.

      your law prom outfit was ADORBS! i am so glad we could help you out via twitter. and that house of harlow ring is TO DIE FOR! loves.

      this chili doesn’t look so bad either…

      p.s. downloaded boxcar and LOVE it!

      • why thank you! 🙂

        so glad you like boxcar! it’s saving me from my inbox since i unsubscribed from all email notifications in twitter and facebook and just see them in boxcar.

    11. I just had to give you props and kudos galore! I tweaked of your chili on Sunday and it was PHENOMENAL!!! It was so ridonkulously easy and so, so good! So I just wanted to say Thank You!

    12. Hi Teri, I was searching for a spicy three bean chili and came across your site. After looking at the ingredients, I just wanted to make sure you meant 3 stalks of celery and not three sticks of celery? Thanks!

    13. Yum!! So glad you shared this! I’m going to make it this weekend! 🙂 Happy New Year!!

    14. I just made this tonight and it was delicious!! I’ve been craving a veggie chili and finding this on pinterest was meant to be!

      My modifications: I used a mild chili seasoning packet instead of the seasonings listed (honestly I was just lazy and had it on hand), used the canned diced tomatoes made for chili, a half jalepeno without the seeds, the worcestershire sauce and a little extra brown sugar. I also added some vegetable broth since I like to rinse my beans.

      It was absolutely delicious!!! I’ll try it with different toppings throughout the week. Fritos to make a frito pie, burrito wrap to try a frito wrap (sonic inspired), cheddar cheese, sour cream, romaine lettuce to make a chili salad and I even have some macaroni pasta to mix with it the last couple of days to make it last longer. This will definitely be a staple! Thank you!!

      • yum!!! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. And thank you for sharing your modifications!! I love hearing what others do. I appreciate your feedback and comment so much! 🙂

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