Slow-Cooker Easy 3-Bean Vegetarian Chili (with Optional Ground Beef)

THE Chili recipe in our house. Super simple and easy to throw together on a busy day! Three kinds of beans along with onions, green peppers, and fire-roasted tomatoes bubble with chili spices in the Crock Pot while you go about your day. A good amount of ground beef goes into the carnivores’ half, if you desire. Chili two ways = a happy household!

Options:

Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes

Slow Cooker Easy 3-Bean Chili - THE Crock Pot chili recipe in our house. A vegan recipe with options for the carnivores, if you like.
I originally posted this easy chili recipe on March 29, 2012. It’s continued to be a mainstay around here. We made it again for a crowd this past weekend and I decided it was time to update the photos and add a few notes to the recipe. We still love it as much as we did when I first shared it, and we hope you do too!


I’ve tried many, many variations of chili over the years. Super simple chili, chili with a gazillion ingredients, chili with “secret ingredients” like unsweetened cocoa or brewed coffee (both very good, actually).

But this slow cooker chili recipe is the one that’s been floating around on a piece of paper with the title of “THE Chili.” My guy took a bite of his version (with meat) and said, “This is it. You can stop at this one. It’s perfect.” I feel the same way about the vegan version.

Slow Cooker Easy 3-Bean Chili - THE Crock Pot chili recipe in our house. A vegan recipe with options for the carnivores, if you like.

The bonus is that this Slow-Cooker Easy 3-Bean Vegetarian Chili is super simple to throw together, and takes next to no work to cook.

It bubbles in the Crock Pot all day, simmering to dinnertime perfection. If you’re okay with the vegan version, it’s done when you get home. If you want it one-dish-two-ways style, just brown the ground beef, simmer some of the chili together with the meat for a bit, and dinner’s ready.

Slow Cooker Easy 3-Bean Chili - THE Crock Pot chili recipe in our house. A vegan recipe with options for the carnivores, if you like.

As-is without the Tabasco, this is a nice, mild, family-friendly chili – not much heat at all. Add the Tabasco at the end, offer it up as a topping, or omit it altogether, depending on your preferences.

Freezer notes

This chili freezes really well. I scoop leftovers into freezer bags, label, and stick in the freezer for super-easy future meals or even to top nachos. Double the recipe to ensure lots of extra – just make sure you’re using a big Crock Pot!

Slow Cooker Easy 3-Bean Chili - THE Crock Pot chili recipe in our house. A vegan recipe with options for the carnivores, if you like.

Slow-Cooker Easy Three-Bean Chili

Yield: Serves 6-8

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes

THE Chili recipe in our house. Super simple and easy to throw together on a busy day! Three kinds of beans along with onions, green peppers, and fire-roasted tomatoes bubble with chili spices in the Crock Pot while you go about your day. A good amount of ground beef goes into the carnivores' half, if you desire. Chili two ways = a happy household!

Ingredients:

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chili beans in sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes (crushed tomatoes are also good)
  • 2 medium green peppers, chopped (about 3 cups chopped)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 3 cups chopped)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Optional: 20 dashes Tabasco sauce

If adding ground beef to half:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

If adding ground beef to all:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef

Directions:

Assemble the chili:

Add all ingredients except the Tabasco (if using) and the ground beef to the slow-cooker/Crock Pot. Stir. Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. Taste and add Tabasco if desired. If serving an all-vegan chili, skip to "Serve with toppings."

If adding ground beef to half:

In a medium or large saucepan, brown the ground beef over medium heat with a little salt and pepper for flavor, if you wish. Drain off any fat. Add five cups of the chili to the browned ground beef. Stir, continuing the medium heat, and heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes.

If adding ground beef to all:

In a medium or large saucepan, brown the ground beef over medium heat with a little salt and pepper for flavor, if you wish. Drain off any fat. Add to the chili in the Crock Pot either at the beginning of the cooking process or near the end.

Serve with toppings:

Serve with assorted toppings such as diced avocado, fresh cilantro, chopped onions, sour cream (or vegan sour cream), grated cheddar or jack cheese (or vegan cheese), and some Tabasco or Tapatio sauce.

More Crock Pot chili recipes

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Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.

17 Responses to “Slow-Cooker Easy 3-Bean Vegetarian Chili (with Optional Ground Beef)”

  1. This sounds DELISH! I need to pick up some fire roasted tomatoes and give this a try~

  2. Pingback: 17 Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili Recipes (+ 5 Bonus Meaty Chili Recipes for the Carnivores) | Kitchen Treaty

  3. Made this recipe and got rave reviews from my daughter’s basketball coaches and team. I made one minor modification because I did not have all the ingredients. I substituted one can of roasted tomatoes, 1 medium onion, and tabasco sauce with one 16-ounce jar of Herdez Casera salsa. Thank you for posting!

  4. What if I added some cubes of steak at the beginning?

    • I’m sure that would be great! I’ve not made it that way, but it’s a very versatile chili. I’d think it’d be nice if you quickly browned the steak with a little salt and pepper before you put it in the Crock Pot with everything else. If you try it please come back and let us know how it turned out!

  5. Was fantastic! I made it tonight and I used Boca Crumbles, and used Siracha Sauce instead of Tabasco.

  6. Can’t wait to make this! Do you think I could cook it on high for 4 hours in a pinch? 

  7. The recipe calls for 2 cans of chili in sauce. So is this already made chili beans like Nalley’s chili or chili beans that are not drained?

  8. Thank you so much Karen I really appreciate the help. I’m going to make this tomorrow along with some cornbread, yum!!

  9. Pingback: 21 Crockpot Chili Recipes

  10. I’m getting this ready for the crockpot now to serve for 40 tomorrow. Does it not require extra liquid? I’m a novice crockpot user, but it seems like most recipes add water? Thank you!

  11. I love how bright and vibrant this chili is!

  12. This is exactly what I was searching for. I have to make chili for vegan and meat eaters and I wanted a slow cooker version of it so I can start it tonight. I may put a little red wine in this (I’ve made beef chili before with red wine or beer added). Then I am going to try to add some sauteed ground beef and maybe some sausage to half of it around a half hour or so before serving. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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