Plant-Based Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

5 from 3 votes

A simple and delicious recipe to add to your plant-based recipe catalog!

In my new book, Walking with Peety, the Dog Who Saved My Life, I describe transitioning from a man who didn’t know how to do more than boil water or use a microwave to an accomplished vegan chef. Starting at 340 pounds, my first attempt at cooking set off the fire alarms in my apartment. Then after finding a naturopathic doctor who coached me about how to achieve my ideal weight and health on a whole food, plant-based diet, my weight dropped to 185 pounds in less than one year.

Some keys to my success, in addition to unconditional love from an adopted shelter dog, were the recipes provided by my new doctor, who taught me how to cook and encouraged my progress in weekly meetings. In chapter 5 of my book, I describe my first experience making rice and beans, from a recipe provided by my doctor:

I finally took the lid off the Crock-Pot and I could not believe how amazingly rich and tantalizing that rice-and-beans concoction looked. OK, maybe I was just starving. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. And I still thought of it as a side dish, not a main course, but all of the spices that were just sort of scattered on the top had magically blended down into the rice in that pot, and the aromas that filled my apartment were matched by this wonderful reddish-brown color, and a weighty, sticky texture that clung to my wooden spoon as I dished it onto my plate.

I put a forkful of it right up to my nose and savored the scent of it up close, one last time, before I finally put it in my mouth. The taste was so amazing that I actually closed my eyes and chewed it in slow-motion ecstasy.

How to Make Plant-Based Slow Cooker Chili 

Even before that first bite, I knew just from the look and smell of this dish that it was going to be an instant favorite. What many of us can’t tell about this meal just on sight? It is entirely cholesterol free. Take a look at the nutritional information included in the recipe below and see for yourself.

Plant-based diets are naturally 100% cholesterol free. Any food grown from the earth has absolutely zero cholesterol. This was one of the most thrilling things I learned when beginning my plant-based journey.

But what about protein? This is often one of the biggest reservations people have about plant-based diets. Fortunately, protein insufficiency is also a misconceptions about a plant-based lifestyle.

Take another look at that nutritional information. See how much protein this recipe packs, both with and without brown rice? There are plenty of natural, plant-based sources of protein in this recipe alone. Moreover, these plant proteins may help control blood pressure and blood sugar spikes. Sounds like a win win to me!

This is the same recipe, which I still make weekly and have tweaked continuously through trial and error over the past seven years. I may be biased, but in my opinion, this is the simplest and most delicious recipe for spiced beans that you can make from scratch. I prefer to make mine in a slow cooker. You can use a pressure cooker to cook unsoaked beans in 25-30 minutes versus the longer process I describe below, but experience has shown me that beans come out best using this slow cooker method.

If you prefer to cook the beans while at work, I recommend cooking on low for 8 hours. When you get home, drain the liquid and stir in the remaining ingredients.

If you’re like me, convenience is important. In that case, dice all the veggies ahead of time. Add the spices and tomatoes, stir, cover, and refrigerate until you get home. Lastly, add the veggie mixture to the drained beans, stir and cook on high for 1-2 hours.

This recipe makes a lot and is perfect for freezing. Allow the chili to cool before storing in mason jars and freezing for later.

Be sure to check back often, as I will be sharing more of my delicious plant-based recipes on SkinnyMs.

5 from 3 votes

Plant-Based Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

This stupendous and nutritious chili is slow-cooked to bring out the best flavors.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 9 hours
Total Time 9 hours 20 minutes
Yield 12 people
Serving Size 1 cup
Course Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine American


  • 3 cups pinto beans dry
  • 3 yellow onions small, chopped (sub with 2 medium or 1 large)
  • 3 bell peppers chopped (red, yellow, and green)
  • 8 green jalapeno peppers large, dice after removing seeds by scraping out
  • 29 ounces diced tomatoes cans, or equivalent
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons oregano flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 bay leaves freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt


  • Soak beans overnight, covered by at least 3 inches of water.
  • Drain and rinse beans well, then cook in a 6-quart slow cooker with 1 tablespoon salt covered by 2 inches of water. Cover and cook on high setting for six hours. The beans will cook faster in the slow cooker if you use less beans, or slower if you use a higher ratio of water.
  • After cooking for six hours, drain beans, mix in other ingredients well, and cook in the slow cooker for an additional 3 hours on high setting, until beans reach desired firmness.
  • If desired, serve with brown rice and garnish with salsa, avocado, cilantro, fresh-cut lime, red onions, and serve with warm tortillas.

Optional for Chili

  • One (11 oz package) Beyond Beef Feisty Crumbles, by Beyond Meat Plant Based Protein


Nutrition Facts with 1/2 Cup Brown Rice Ber Serving:
Calories: 326 | Total Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 508mg | Carbohydrates: 64g | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 6g | Protein: 14g | SmartPoints: 10

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 463mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 6g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 6
Keywords dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based, Slow Cooker, Vegetarian

Have you made this recipe?
Tag @skinnyms on Instagram or hashtag it #skinnyms

Learn more about Eric and his initiatives in his new book, Walking with Peety, and at, or on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

More plant-based recipes with Zero Cholesterol:

Skinny Mexican Rice

This delicious Mexican rice is the perfect pairing for Eric’s Plant-Based Slow Cooker Chili recipe. You’ll love that this recipe is made without added oil. The onion seems to take on a faintly sweet taste when sautéed in water verses oil.

How to Make Spicy Mango Salsa

What about a serving of sweet and savory salsa with your bowl of plant-based chili? Here’s a mouthwatering idea: make a wrap with the recipes mentioned above.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 warm tortilla
  • 1/2 cup Eric’s Plant-Based chili, (drain any liquid)
  • 1/4 cup Skinny Mexican Rice
  • 2 tablespoons Spicy Mango Salsa

Roll and enjoy!

4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge Bars Recipe

Time for dessert! This chocolate recipe is quick, easy, and crazy good.

The good news? Whether you have a little, or a lot, of everything on the menu above, you would have consumed zero cholesterol. Now that’s cool!

This post may include affiliate links.

Eric O'Grey

Eric O’Grey is an inspirational speaker with a Bachelor of Science in finance from San Jose State University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University. Eric enjoys long-distance running with his dog, Jake; gourmet plant-based cooking; and spending time with his wife, Jaye. He is passionate about animal kindness, plant-based nutrition, and helping others reverse obesity and achieve their optimal weight and happiness.

More by Eric


  1. Hi. I’m making the plant-based chili now. After draining beans and adding remaining ingredients, there is no liquid. I find this weird. Is something missing in the recipe, or is it supposed to not look like what I know as “real” chili? I’m very new to plant-based cooking so appreciate any help. Thanks!

    1. Chili should be very thick without much liquid. The canned tomatoes and fresh vegetables will also continue to release liquid/water as they cook.

    2. When cooking the beans for 8 hours while I make at work do I still need to have soaked the beans overnight please?

  2. Bay leaves while not toxic, do not soften in cooking, but remain stiff.
    They are not pleasant to eat or digest.
    They do however add a wonderful flavor to the dish.
    I prefer to add them to the mixture whole, let them season the chili, then remove them just before serving.

  3. Question… My family is new to the whole plant based eating lifestyle. I have never been a bean fan but I really wanna try this recipe. Could I ground the pinto beans, add lentils and cook the whome mixture on low for 8 hours?

    1. Hi Kathryn, no need to grid the pinto beans. If you choose to add lentils and additional water or vegetable broth.

  4. I’m cooking the beans now (soaked them overnite ) But The 3 cups of pinto beans take up almost my whole crock pot. I don’t have a huge crockpot . ….I haven’t even added the rest yet ( tomatoes etc) Should I half the recipe?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating