Super Simple Three Bean Chilli

Super-simple three bean chilli

Super-simple three bean chilli

It's International Year of Pulses, I've been experimenting with as many different pulses and legumes as I can get my hands on!

If you've heard bad things about legumes or have been advised that we shouldn't be eating them, you might be interested in my verdict after having reviewed the peer-reviewed research here.

This is a simple, healthy, delicious dish I can quite literally eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If you are able to plan ahead, it's great to put dried beans in a big bowl of water overnight, but if you are pressed for time you can use canned beans.

I've used black beans, plus red and white kidney beans in this dish, but you can use whatever beans you like.

But just remember, if you are using soaked dried beans rather than canned, bring them to the boil for 10 minutes before simmering. These darker beans contain phytohaemaglutinin, a substance that can cause digestive discomfort if the beans aren't boiled first. If you are particularly prone to digestive upset after eating beans you might even want to change the water after the beans have boiled.


  • Beans, canned or dried.
  • Onion, diced
  • Garlic, 1-2 cloves crushed
  • Fresh chilli, finely diced (and de-seeded if you like a milder flavour) or dried chilli. How much chilli you use depends on how hot you like your chilli!
  • Tomato passata.
  • Bay leaf (optional).
  • 1.2 teaspoon cumin (optional).


For dried beans:

  1. If using dried beans, soak for 8 hours or overnight. Discard soaking water and rinse.
  2. Place soaked beans in a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil for 10 minutes (this removes the phytohaemaglutinin!).
  3. Reduce heat and simmer beans on low heat for 1 hour or until cooked.

For the sauce:

  1. Sauté onions, garlic and chilli in a little olive oil.
  2. Add tomato pasta (and bay leaf and cumin if you are using them) and simmer for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Add tinned beans or the dried beans that you have soaked and cooked.
  4. Simmer for a further 10-20 minutes. You can actually simmer this dish on a low heat for much longer to give a richer flavour.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with guacamole and enjoy!