Smoky Black Bean Chili

By SmartyPlants | December 3, 2020
Makes about 6 bowls
Make this chili if you're having your crew over to watch football or you need a comforting dish to warm you up. It also makes a great topping for baked potatoes or nachos. It's nice and thick with great smoky flavors!


Cashew Sour Cream 4 15 oz. cans black beans, 2 undrained and 2 drained and rinsed
1 large white onion, diced
2  red bell peppers, seeded and diced
2  carrots, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1  fresh jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 4 oz. can green chilies, diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1  bay leaf
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
6 turns freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, more for garnish
3  scallions, sliced, more for garnish
1  serrano pepper, sliced very thin, for garnish, optional


  1. We’ll start by making our Cashew Sour Cream, according to the recipe below.

  2. Next, add the two cans of undrained black beans to a food processor and blend until they are well-blended and thick, about a minute. Set this aside for now.

  3. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, letting it brown and adding a splash of water to prevent sticking when needed.

  4. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the red bell peppers, carrots, garlic, and jalapeño and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until everything softens. Add a splash of water if anything is sticking. Smells good, doesn't it?

  5. Stir in all of the black beans, tomatoes, green chilies, corn, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, the bay leaf, veggie broth, salt, black pepper, lime juice and cilantro.

  6. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat down to low, and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The soup will thicken as it cooks. Soup gets better with time so let it cook longer if you like it thicker.

  7. If the soup gets too thick, just add some more veggie broth.

  8. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

  9. Top with a big, cooling dollop of our Cashew Sour Cream and serve topped with cilantro, scallions, and sliced Serrano peppers, if you’d like. Maybe add another squeeze of lime.

Recipe Notes

Serve with our Crispy Baked Tortilla Chips.

For the Cashew Sour Cream:


1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least one hour, or overnight
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup water, more to thin, could be up to 3 tablespoons
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until it’s super smooth and creamy. Don’t stop blending until you get it there—you will! It could be up to 5 minutes of blending.

  2. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed, until you reach sour cream-like consistency. Taste and add some salt if it needs it. Mine usually does!

Recipe Notes

This will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe that I learned to make in my Rouxbe cooking class.

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