Aluminum-Free and Hearty Multi-Bean & Chia Seed Chili

This is one of those recipes that is delicious right away and just tastes better and better with each day. It’s a perfect make-on-Sunday chili since it does take time to prepare. There are no canned ingredients for this recipe (so no dangerous aluminum) and I’ve worked in our Whole Food of the Month—Chia—as well. All ingredients are prepared for optimal nutritional benefits (ie: soaking) but know that your efforts will yield a large batch of I-can’t believe-it’s-vegan chili that will be a household fave from now on. Serve with Gluten-Free Amaranth Jalapeno Bread if you want to take it to the next level. Try it out on the omnivores in your life without telling them it’s a plant-based recipe. I bet they will never know.

Makes: 10-15 servings

Large stock pot
Chef’s knife

Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
1 1/2 cup dry black beans*
1 cup dry red kidney beans*
1/2 cup dry garbanzo beans*
1/2 cup dry green lentils*
1 yellow pepper, seeded, ribs removed and diced**
1 orange pepper, seeded, ribs removed and diced**
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, ribs removed and diced
15 medium tomatoes (on-the-vine size), blanched (here’s how) and chopped
2 large yellow onions, diced (here’s a tip)
8 cloves garlic, peeled (here’s a tip) and minced
3 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp chipotle powder (I use 2 tsp because I like a lotta kick—with each day the chili is stored in the fridge, the less spicy it becomes, stay with 1 tsp if you don’t like “heat”)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
1 tsp liquid smoke (optional, but recommended)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1-2 cups low sodium vegetable stock (optional, but try making your own)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp + 2 tsp sea salt (possibly more to taste)
1/4 cup cilantro, removed from stems and chopped
3-4 tbsp chia seed

*Soak in pure water overnight and then cook according to the instructions in this important post. Feel free to play around with different legumes if you like.
** You can definitely substitute red pepper if you can’t locate orange or yellow.


Let’s get started.
The day (or better yet, night) before you will be making your chili, soak the garbanzos, kidney beans, black beans and lentils in pure water for at least 8 hours.

Read this post for more tips and info about why this is so important. In the morning, drain and rinse well. Cook the legumes/beans according to the instructions in this post. You can used canned, pre-cooked beans, but read this post so you know what you are consuming when you eat canned beans. Ultimately, you choose what to eat, but make informed choices, that’s all I ask for.

While legumes cook, start a large pot of boiling water for blanching tomatoes (here’s how).

Chop (here’s a tip) and brown onion in a large stock pot over medium-high heat with coconut oil for 10 mins. Stir occasionally. When your water is boiling, blanch tomatoes, chop up and set aside. After onions cook 10 mins, add all chopped peppers. Cook 10 more minutes. Then add garlic and cook 5 more mins.

Add all remaining ingredients, except cilantro, veg stock and chia, to the stock pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and keep a rolling, low boil going for 30 minutes. Wash and chop cilantro leaves while chili cooks. Turn off heat and stir cilantro into warm chili and add chia seeds. Your chili may be the perfect consistency, or you may want to add more liquid. If this is the case, add some veggie stock until you reach a desired consistency. I have prepared this recipe many times without any veggie stock at all (thanks to juicy tomatoes) and sometimes, I like to add a bit. It’s up to you.

Put a lid on the stockpot and keep in the fridge overnight if you can hold off—the flavors get better overnight. I’m not gonna keep you from eating it immediately though.

Serve warm, reheated on the stove (never the microwave), topped with fresh chopped cilantro and if you are feeling fancy, a tiny bit of shaved vegan chocolate bar.


Substitutions: feel free to play around with the legumes in this chili. For example, I made a batch recently that didn’t use kidney beans at all (none in my kitchen at the time), but used chickpeas, lentils, black beans and cannellini instead.

– – –
Now, I want to hear from YU.
Tell me what you think of this recipe with a comment below.


Read the comments or add yours.

Comment Rules

  1. Tracy

    Made this Chili for friends and family a few weeks ago. WOW, everyone thought it was absolutely delicious!! Some were even having thirds! The best part is that it’s vegan 🙂 thanks!

  2. Alex

    Is there some liquid missing in this recipe? When I added all of the ingredients (leaving the veg stock out as instructed), there was very little liquid. I had to add 2-4 cups of water/veg stock. I just wondered if maybe something was accidentally omitted?

    • Heather Crosby

      Hi Alex,
      No liquid missing from the recipe, but I’m glad you just did what I would have suggested, which is to add more liquid to reach the consistency you like. 🙂

  3. Mary Nielsen

    I made this and it was great! Just a little tip on blanching the tomatoes…I had a huge bumper crop this summer in my garden. I gave a ton away, dehydrated a bunch, ate a bunch, made some into sauce and froze it and I still had lots of tomatoes left. I threw them in the freezer whole in a zip lock bag. When I need some tomatoes for cooking, I take out what I need and when they thaw the skin slips right off. No need for blanching, plus no waste of excess tomatoes in the summer. I just picked up a 3lb bag at my organic grocery store for $2 (they were still good, but nearing the end of their shelf life) and into the freezer they went for my next batch of chili!

    • Heather Crosby

      Great tip Mary! Thanks for sharing 😉

  4. melly earth

    Before I try this recipe, does it taste like chocolate? Just curious

    • Heather Crosby

      Melly~ Ha. Great question. It doesn’t taste like chocolate, the cocoa just adds a nice complexity of flavor and richness 😉

  5. Dominique

    Did you ever try to freeze it? 🙂

    • Heather Crosby

      Yes! You can even freeze it into ice cube trays and then transfer to a larger container. That way you have small serving sizes that are easy to add into sautéed or fresh veggies, to top a salad or tacos with, too 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *