Smoky Black Bean Chili with Caramelized Onions

black bean chili

Wow – a whole week of recipes! I’ll be honest: this baby has been making me super hungry lately, and he’s not doing wonders for my staying power in the kitchen, either. Easy black bean chili to the rescue!

The first time I made this recipe, I used a tablespoon of chipotle chili powder, and holy moly was that chili h-o-t! I love me some spicy food, but this was almost too hot to even enjoy. Dave and I made it through the pot by dousing each bowl with lots of sliced avocado and soy yogurt. If you like things atomic-level spicy, you can up the chili powder in this recipe. You can also use a bit less if super spicy chili isn’t your thing. Dave’s not as crazy about spice as I am, and I think he would have been happy if I’d used closer to 1 teaspoon of chili powder, rather than 1 1/2 teaspoons.

I ate this chili straight up with some sliced avocado and a side salad, but you can serve it over rice or quinoa and cover it in toppings, if you want to go all the way. That’s one of the things I think makes chili such a crowd-pleaser: you can really tailor the bowl to your tastes once it’s all cooked up!

Smoky Black Bean Chili with Caramelized Onions


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed, or about 4 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 cup corn kernels, raw or frozen
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder, you can use a bit less or more, depending on how hot you want this to be. Consider 1 1/2 teaspoons about medium spicy.
  • 1 teaspoon groun cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 cup veggie broth, as needed
  • Toppings (optional): diced avocado, chopped onion or scallions, chopped cilantro, vegan yogurt or sour cream, chopped fresh tomato, toasted pumpkin seeds

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil on medium low, and add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 20-30 minutes, until the onions begin to caramelize.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients (except the broth and toppings), and stir to combine. Cover the pot and cook on medium low, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes more, adding broth 1/4 cup at a time if things get dry.
  3. Serve with whatever toppings you choose!
7 comments on “Smoky Black Bean Chili with Caramelized Onions
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  4. Mmm chili. Love how simple the recipe is (and I’ve totally made that mistake with chipotle chili powder before. I’m always like, I mean, it’s a powder, it can’t be that strong…haha)

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