Vegetarian Orange Black Bean Chili

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through links provided may result in this site receiving a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting us! For more information, please read our privacy policy

This vegetarian orange black bean chili is the perfect remedy for a cold winter night.

Orange Black Bean Chili

I can't help but feel like Mother Nature is toying with me. Last week, we experienced evening temperatures in the high 50's and this week we're down into the low 30's with daytime highs pushing 70. I'm at the point where she either needs to decide if we're going to have a winter or not. Beyond beautifully dry and brown California, the rest of the country experiencing freezing temperatures, rain, snow and even sleet, I thought I'd share (and update) my absolute favorite chili recipe for this time of year. Heck, I'll make this recipe throughout the year because it doubles as a fantastic appetizer for hungry house guests when served with corn tortilla chips.

This vegetarian orange black bean chili is the perfect remedy for a cold winter night.

Usually, when I think of chili, I think of the extremely spicy beef chili that my grandfather made during the winter months. While it was tasty, it was incredibly heavy, which meant it didn't take much to fill your stomach or give you a stomach ache. This chili recipe is vegetarian and smokier than spicy, which means it's the perfect hug in a bowl. Depending on how hungry your family is, you can serve it alongside warmed tortillas, cornbread or with a basket of corn tortilla chips.

This vegetarian orange black bean chili is the perfect remedy for a cold winter night.

What really makes this chili stand out is the use of orange juice and orange zest. While the chili contains usual spices often found in most chili's, the orange really adds a level of brightness to the recipe, making it feel not so... heavy. When I initially stumbled across this recipe in an issue of Food & Wine, I thought this chili needed meat. I experimented with using ground beef, pork, and even turkey and then leaving it as is. If you want to add some kind of ground meat, you can, otherwise, I actually prefer it meatless. Instead of regular fresh oregano, I prefer hot and spicy oregano, but if you can't find it (grow it yourself, it's so easy to grow and a great addition to many recipes) just use plain old oregano. I also use crushed tomatoes that include diced chiles or jalapenos.

This vegetarian orange black bean chili is the perfect remedy for a cold winter night.
print recipe
Black Bean Chili
Black beans, ancho chile, and orange come together in this delicious chili.
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • cut into 1/4 inch dice medium onion
  • cut into 1/4 inch dice medium red bell pepper
  • minced, 1/2 cup ancho chile pepper
  • minced 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon, minced fresh hot and spicy oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • to taste salt and pepper
  • 1 can 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes with diced chiles
  • rinsed and drained 2 cups black beans
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • garnish fresh cilantro
  • for serving greek yogurt or sour cream
In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is nearly smoking, add the onion and bell pepper, ancho chile and cook until just soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, oregano, cayenne and salt, and pepper. Stir for 1 minute.Add the beans, tomatoes, honey, 1/2 teaspoon of the zest and 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, and simmer. Cover and cook, stirring periodically until all the flavors are combined and the liquid is reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Add the orange juice and season with more salt and pepper. Divide the chili into individual bowls and garnish with cilantro leaves, remaining orange zest. Serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 servings