COOKIN’ RECIPE: The Best Bean-Only Chili

Smoky vegan chili - plated with avocado and cilantro

Chili bowl with all the trimmings

One of the things I am getting better at is preparing food for my husband even when I’m on a fast. To me, preparing food  (raw or cooked) is very therapeutic and it alleviates any craving I may have for eating–weird, I know, but it works! In fact, most of the best food I made are developed and made when I am not eating. Deciding to outdo the “performance” of my old recipe for meat chili, I embarked on an ambitious journey with the goal of trumping it with an all-bean, hearty, plant-based, no-animal-product pot of chili.

For starters, I did my due diligence. I took out my mental notes on my meat chili, what made it stand out? Learning how to make chili from my Mexican classmates back in college, the secret was chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. I searched high and low, no chipotle, no adobo sauce either (I mean Mexican-style adobo, very different from the Filipino adobo). So what do I do? I rolled my sleeves and set to work. After all, I am Filipino–ingenious extraordinaire is in my DNA.

Alvin enjoying his chili

KK enjoying his bowl of chili


  • 2 cups dried beans  (I used black and white, you can use pinto, black-eyed, pinto, etc.) – soaked overnight
  • 8-10 cups of water (for the beans)

Cook the beans until tender. It will take approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. (I like using dried than canned because it’s tastier and  more economical). Do not add salt while cooking the beans, it will make it tough. The beans will be seasoned once the chili is put together.

Makeshift Adobo Sauce

  • 4-6 red and green bell peppers – roasted, skins and seeds taken off
  • 1 jalapeño pepper – roasted, skins and seeds taken off
  • 2 siling pangsigang – chopped
  • 3 T ketchup
  • 1 T cider vinegar (either coconut or apple)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons oregano

Blend until smooth. Set aside.

All-Bean Chili

  • All the cooked beans
  • All of the adobo sauce
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 T oil
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cacao powder or 1 tablea
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (more or less, depends on your preference)
  • 2 teaspoons Bovril or Vegemite or Marmite (This is optional, you can use nutritional flakes instead)
  • 1.5 T coconut aminos or 1 T Bragg’s aminos
  • Salt to taste

In a dutch oven, saute the onions and celery until translucent  (about 4 minutes) then add the garlic, oregano and cumin. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the beans, adobo sauce, crushed tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste. For a thicker chili, blend 2 cups of the chili and put it back in the dutch oven.

Serve hot with some avocado chunks, lots of chopped cilantro, lime, tortilla chips or brown rice. This recipe makes approximately a gallon of chili. It freezes well and the leftovers taste much better.


5 Responses to “COOKIN’ RECIPE: The Best Bean-Only Chili”

  1. Kat says:

    It sounds delicious and looks very easy to make.

    Aside from nutritional flakes, what’s an alternative to Vegemite or Marmite should I not be able to find them in local stores? :)

    • Lakapati says:

      You can add sauteed mushrooms instead. This is not really required but it does lend a lot of umami to the pot to make it really hearty.

  2. LJ says:

    I bookmarked this for meal next week! We love our pinto beans chili and we will try your sauce!

    Love and light from Cebu


  3. Nics says:

    Where can you buy jalapeno peppers? Havent seen them in grocery stores

    • Lakapati says:

      I got mine from SM grocery (it’s not available all the time) and some organic produce suppliers who sell in the weekend markets have them. Hope you find some, if not, you can definitely substitute with other local green chilies.

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