The Best Chilli Beans

This vegan chilli is incredibly rich, velvety and packed with layers of complex flavours. It needs some time for the flavour to deepen so it’s great to do in advance or a big pot on the weekends. You can have it with rice, whole grains, on tacos, burritos or just with bread. It’s great to bring quick mid week dinners together with the left overs.


  • 1 large Onion

  • 5 cloves of Garlic

  • 1 long Red Chilli

  • 2 Tbsp of Chilli powder

  • 1 Tbsp of ground Cumin

  • 1 Tbsp of Smoked Paprika

  • 1 Tbsp of dry Oregano

  • 1 Tbsp of Tomato Purée

  • 1 cup of Dry Red Wine (Malbec or Shiraz)

  • 2 cups of Black Beans

  • 2 cups of Pinto Beans

  • 2 Tbsp of cacao powder

  • 1 can of chopped Tomatoes

  • 1 ½ cups of vegetable Stock

  • 2 Bay leaves

  • 1 Tbsp of Miso Paste

  • 2 Tbsp of Tamari or Soya Sauce

  • 1 Scotch Bonnet chilli

  • 1 Tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar

  • 2 Tbsp of Tahini

  • 1 Lime and Coriander to finish


Step 1 – Chop the red onion and add it to a large medium hot pan. No need to add oil, cover the pan with the lid and let the onions sweat for around 10 mins. Keep stirring every few minutes. When it starts to get golden add a splash or water and let them cook until the water evaporates.
Step 2 – Add the chopped Garlic and Long Red Chilli. Keep stirring for a few minutes until it gets fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn.
Step 3 – Add all the ground spices. Stir for 1 minute until they get fragrant. Make some space in the middle of the pan and add the Tomato Purée. Cook the purée for 3 minutes before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients.
Step 4 – Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scrape all the umami and delicious bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the alcohol evaporate for a few minutes before adding the beans to it.
Step 5 – Add the Cacao Powder, chopped tomatoes, miso paste, Vegetable Stock, Tamari, bay Leaves, vinegar and the Scotch Bonnet chilli (check the notes below about it)
Step 6 – Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 1-2 hours stirring occasionally scraping the bottom. Remove the Scotch Bonnet with tongs and add the Tahini and the zest and juice of the lime. Serve with chopped coriander and Pickled Red Onions.

About the Ingredients

Red Onion: I’m using red onion as it is more nutritions and give us a deep darker colour. You can substitute for brown.

Long Red Chilli: You can omit it. If you want a mild hot chilli just cut it open, remove the seeds and membranes before cutting into very small bits. This way you are still going to have some flavour but less heat.

Black and Pinto Beans: I like to get my beans dry, I soak them overnight and cook them. They are so much cheaper, I get them organic and know where they come from. You can use canned and also different varieties of beans. Whatever beans you like more.

Cocoa Powder: Chocolate not only adds depth of flavour but also accentuates the fruitiness of the dried chilli peppers making it a more complex and rich dish.

Miso Paste and Tamari: These 2 ingredients add another layer of umami salty flavour making it more complex and rich.

Scotch Bonnet: Let’s talk about this bad boy in the room. It’s true Scotch Bonnet chillies are very very spicy but also sweet, fruity, tropical, earthy and brings a deepness of flavours you don’t find in many other chillies. Don’t cut or open the chilli with your hands, always use gloves or tongs and a knife. I just add the whole chilli to the pan. Keep tasting your beans and as soon you get your desired level of heat, take it out with tongs. I took the scotch bonnet out when it was starting to break apart. With tongs and a knife I open the chilli, scrape the membranes and seeds out and cut the flesh in small bits and add it back to the pan. You can also swap it for another milder chilli or omit.

How to serve: This Chilli Beans recipe is so good you can have it with Bread, with brown or white Rice with Tacos Tuesday or over a platter of nachos. You can top with Pickled Red Onion, Coriander and some Avocado or with some tangy Cashew Cream Cheese.