Mains Recipes Soups

Smoky Black Bean Chili

I love a good chili. It’s not only a dish that is easy to make, but also very tasty – and healthy, too, thanks to lots of beans, tofu, spices, and not too much oil. This Smoky Black Bean Chili is quite, well, smoky, has a nice dark color and is all vegan, of course. It’s also great for when you don’t feel much like standing in the kitchen for a long time – apart from frying the tofu and the veggies, there really isn’t all that much to do. You just need a little time to let the chili simmer on the stove while all the magic happens practically on its own.

I think the texture of tofu is great in a chili, but you could also use TVP granules or even tempeh. If using TVP granules, simply cover them with hot water or vegetable broth beforehand. Let sit for maybe 10 minutes, squeeze out the liquid, being careful not to burn your hands, and it’s good to go.

As for the beans, any kind of beans you like will work here. And of course you can use any kind of bell pepper and, if you’re so inclined, other veggies of your choice. It’s a versatile recipe and really up to you what you throw into the pot. I love the smokiness of this recipe, but if you’re not a fan of liquid smoke, or don’t have any lying around, simply omit it.

I love this black bean chili on its own, but it’s great served over a bed of rice or with some bread on the side, too.


Smoky Black Bean Chili

Makes 3-4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons neutral-tasting vegetable oil, like canola oil
  • 400 g / 2 blocks firm tofu
  • 1-2 red onions, diced
  • 1 red chili, sliced thinly
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican spice mixture
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans
  • 1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar


  1. Pre-heat a skillet. Squeeze excess liquid out of the tofu blocks with your hands. Add the oil to the skillet and, when hot enough, add the tofu. Fry for 15 to 20 mins, or until lightly browned, stirring often.
  2. Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes.
  3. Add chili and bell pepper. Sauté for a couple minutes more.
  4. Add garlic, spices, and tomato paste. Mix well and sauté for about a minute.
  5. Add the vegetable broth and the canned tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes in your hands to break them up (but be careful or you’ll end up with tomato juice on the wall or other places you don’t want it). Heat it up and bring to a boil.
  6. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour. The longer you cook the chili, the more the flavors will develop.
  7. Now, add the beans and corn. Mix well.
  8. Lastly, add barbecue sauce, liquid smoke, cocoa powder, and white wine vinegar.
  9. Taste for salt.
Sautéing tofu, chili, and bell pepper ©HappyChickpeas

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