Mixed Bean Chili

Published: 8 March 2024 by Simon Deane

Chili is one of my favourite meals. This bean chili with lentils really hits the spot. Its a delicious and satisfying high protein meal, that is relatively low in fat and overall calories.
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Chili Recipe Variations:

This chili takes around 40 minutes to make from beginning to end. If you want to reduce the cooking time you can choose tinned lentils. A lot of the simmering time is to allow the lentils to cook. If you choose pre-cooked lentils, you can reduce this to about 15 minutes.

The chili also tastes great with red lentils, and these are a bit quicker to cook. (I make this with red lentils about 50% of the time)

Chili is also a versatile meal. For the veggie option I have gone with peppers and courgette, but some corn, carrots, celery or broccoli will also work well depending on preference and what you have available.

This version is made with kidney beans and chickpeas but again you can choose any beans you like. You can go with a traditional chili with two tins of kidney beans, or mix it up with some other beans such as black beans, pinto beans or cannellini beans.

I have made chili for years without adding smoked paprika or dark chocolate but I really think that these bring the flavour to the next level if you have either or both on hand. You can leave them out if you don’t have them.

For other flavour enhancers you can also add a squeeze of lime juice. If you have fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, that also really completes the experience in my humble opinion.

I like a very spicy chili so will often choose a combination of fresh chili and cayenne pepper powder in order to increase the heat. We make this at home for dinner for all of the family including our three young kids, leaving out the chili/cayenne pepper and the kids love it. These can then be added separately to our own plates.

A Recipe for Batch Cooking:

This is a great recipe for batch cooking. You can double up and make twelve large dinner size portions at once, and refrigerate/freeze the extra portions. This recipe makes six large portions so if you don’t have too many hungry mouths to feed, you can keep the extra portions for later.

From a nutritional point of view, if you have the time and like the taste, I recommend serving the chili with wholegrain rice. This it is more nutritious than white rice. If you can’t wait the 40-45 minutes for wholegrain (brown) rice to cook, easy cook brown rice takes less time.

a mixed bean chili in a serving bowl

Mixed Bean Chili

This mixed bean chili, with the combination of beans and lentils is hearty, satisfying and delicious. 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Meals
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 547 kcal


  • 250 g green lentils dried
  • 1 tin chickpeas (1 tin drained)
  • 1 tin kidney beans (1 tin drained)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes (2 tins)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions (medium, peeled and chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 1 yellow pepper (chopped)
  • 1 courgette (chopped)
  • 1 fresh chili (chopped and de-seeded if you don't like ti too spicy)
  • 3 tbsp of tamari or soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika optional
  • 20 g dark chocolate optional
  • 420 g Basmati rice approx. 70g dry weight per portion
  • 1 tbsp oil


  • Add the oil to a big pot on a medium/high heat and sauté for about 5 minutes until it softens up, then add the garlic and chilli and cook for another minute.
  • Add the peppers and courgette to the pot along with the cumin, cinnamon, coriander, smoked paprika, tamari and vinegar and cook for another two minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Add the two tins of chopped tomatoes, lentils and drained beans. Fill both of the empty tomato tins with water and add to the pot.
  • Bring to the boil, then bring down to a simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking to the pot. 
  • While the chilli is cooking, cook the rice according to the packet instructions.
  • Add the squares of dark chocolate the pot with the chilli, and stir in once sufficiently melted. 
  • Taste the chili to check if lentils are sufficiently soft. If not, leave to simmer for another few minutes. 
  • Serve the chili with the rice along with some chopped fresh chilies if desired


Calories: 547kcalCarbohydrates: 102gProtein: 22gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 0.1mgSodium: 520mgPotassium: 990mgFiber: 20gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1159IUVitamin C: 84mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 7mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Some similar recipes to try from TheFitDish:

If you like this sort of satisfying dinner recipe I recommend checking out the following:

Creamy Lower Calorie Black Bean Curry

Creamy Red Lentil Curry with Coconut Milk

Butter Bean Curry

Veggie Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils

Heart Healthy Potato and Lentil Dahl

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  • Simon Deane

    My mission is to provide the resources to help people to prepare their own healthy and tasty meals at home and to teach people about nutrition and how to eat healthier...

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