Vegetarian Black Bean, Tomato & Walnut Chili

Allison Day

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Being an autumn junkie (sweaters! apples! squash! pumpkin! Who’s with me?!), I’ve been pining for this season for months. Now that it’s finally here, the soup pot is happily home on the stove and hearty, spoonable meals have made their way back onto the weekly – sometimes daily – menu. One staple often found simmering in my kitchen is vegetarian chili. This fiery, meat-free version is made with black beans, fresh (not canned) tomatoes, extra veggies and — the kicker — crumbled, raw walnuts to capture the chewy texture you get with classic chili. If you have nut allergies, green lentils can be swapped in for a similar meaty feel.

Vegan Black Bean & Walnut Chili

Vegan Black Bean, Tomato & Walnut Chili


2 (14-oz.) cans (or 3 cups) cooked black beans, drained/rinsed
3 field tomatoes (3 cups), cut into 1” pieces
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
2 zucchini (yellow or green), sliced into quarters and cut into ½” pieces
1 large sweet potato, cut into ½” pieces
1 large onion (white or sweet), diced into ¼” pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped*
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
3 tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. chili flakes (or to taste)
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. oregano
1-2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
Ground black pepper (to taste)
Toppings: sour cream or yogurt, chopped chives or green onions

*If you have nut allergies, replace walnuts with 1 cup of cooked green lentils for a similar, chewy texture.


  1. In a large pot or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, combine all ingredients (except toppings).
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered half-way, for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  3. Remove pot from heat. Use back of large serving spoon to mash chili to thicken; stir and cook uncovered over low heat for 5 additional minutes.
  4. Serve hot, garnished with toppings of choice.

(Note: This chili tastes best made a day, or even two days, in advance. Leftovers can be stored in zipper-lock bags in the freezer for up to two months.)