Slow Cooker Sundays: Three Bean Chili {recipe}

This post might be more appropriately titled “HOLY COW, I COOKED!”

three bean chili - 1

After months of neglect, I dusted off the crockpot and kicked off the arrival of Fall, my favorite season of all, with a hearty chili recipe.  What I like most about this chili, besides how tasty it is, is that it’s equally delicious with or without meat.  Over the past six months or so, I’ve drastically reduced my meat consumption, a change that was (unintentionally) spurred by a sausage making class I attended.   Since then, our food focus has shifted substantially, and meat now serves as more of a side dish than the main event.

three bean chili - 2

To accompany this three bean vegetarian chili, we cooked a few links of chicken sausage in the oven (375 degrees, ten minutes each side).  Then we each added meat (or no meat) as desired to our individual bowls.

Three Bean Chili

Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (with the seeds and ribs if you like heat, seeded if you do not)
  • 1.5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 29oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 cans beans of choice (rinsed and drained–I used black, cannellini, and garbanzo)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Chicken sausage (optional)

Note:  This recipe can be prepared in a crockpot or on the stove top using a large soup pot or Dutch oven.  Season the chili with salt and pepper, to taste, and toppings of choice.  We like chopped white onion, cheese, and Fritos.


Step 1:  Preheat crockpot on the low setting.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet, then add onions, green pepper, garlic, and jalapeno and saute until softened.  Add all of the seasonings, stir, then add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 2:  Transfer mixture to the crockpot and add the beans and bay leaf.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Before serving, use a wooden spoon to mash a third to a half of the beans.  This gives the chili a thick hearty consistency.  Add cooked meat if desired.

Stats on 1 serving (no meat, no toppings):  253 cals, 46g carbs, 4g protein, 15g fiber

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  1. I made a pot of really good multibean soup, though the vegan sausage I wanted to add didn’t work out so well. Tofurky should be call Tohurky, and Field Roast sausage, while pretty tasty, is better suited to grilling than to soup (it looses texture in broth) . . .

    1. I tried Trader Joe’s vegetarian sausage links, and they were pretty good. I seared them in a pan to give them extra texture. I wonder how they’d hold up in soup?