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Slow cooker vegan spicy pinto bean chili with corn and kale

Spicy pinto bean chili with corn and kale, for Meatless Monday.

If there were a beauty contest for chili, this rather odd-colored spicy pinto bean chili with corn and kale wouldn't make it to the swimsuit round. Don't be fooled by its rather modest looks, however. Hiding in this vegan chili are three -- yes, three -- types of chile pepper (fresh, dried and canned), and a whole six cups of antioxidant-rich kale. If that isn't sexy, I don't know what is!

As with all chili, you can spice the recipe up even more, or tone it down, to your own taste. My non-vegan husband absolutely loved this chili, which would be a perfect main dish for Meatless Monday, and I'm confident you will love it, too. Make a pot today, and eat it or freeze it.

Make this spicy pinto bean, corn and kale chili in your slow cooker (The Perfect Pantry).

Slow cooker vegan spicy pinto bean chili with corn and kale  {gluten-free}

From the pantry, you'll need: olive oil, onion, garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano, canned green chiles, canned chopped tomato, dried chile peppers, lime.

Adapted slightly from Slow Cooker Comfort Food, this recipe serves 6-8.


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
4-oz can chopped green chiles
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
28-oz can chopped or diced tomatoes, with juice (I use POMI)
2 15-oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 dried guajillo chile peppers
1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped
10-oz bag frozen corn kernels
6 cups chopped kale
Optional toppings (not for vegan version): shredded Cheddar cheese or sour cream
Sliced lime, for garnish


In a nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring a few times, until the onions are soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano, salt, pepper and green chiles, and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Transfer the tomato mixture to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Add the beans, stir to combine, and cook on LOW for 6 hours.

Meanwhile, 1 hour before the beans finish cooking, heat 2 cups of water in the microwave until it boils, 2-3 minutes on HIGH. Soak the dried guajillo chile peppers for 30 minutes (you might need to put a small plate on top to keep the peppers submerged).

Tear the soaked peppers in pieces (save the soaking liquid), and add them to a small blender along with the jalapeño. Purée, and set aside.

When the beans finish cooking, stir in the chile mixture and the frozen corn. Add the kale in batches, stirring each batch to submerge the leaves as best you can in the tomato sauce. Raise the slow cooker heat to HIGH, and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the kale is tender.

Garnish individual bowls with shredded Cheddar cheese or sour cream (if not vegan), and a squirt of lime. Or, let cool completely, pack into airtight containers, and freeze.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More meatless chili recipes:
South End Deep Root Chili, from The Perfect Pantry
Chickpea and pinto bean chili, from Cook's Hideout
Veggie chili beans with cornbread dumplings, from Herbivoracious
Slow cooker two bean chili, from Domestic Divas Blog

This slow cooker spicy pinto bean chili with corn and kale won't win any beauty contest, but it's a hearty #vegan main dish. #glutenfree

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


What time is dinner? This looks delicious!

Traci, it's a really good, satisfying, spicy vegan chili. Hope you try it!

I love when you make kicked up chili.
I finally got around to making your lo mein (from 2 or 3 years ago?)
Gosh it was so good.

Dawn, it's such a grey day here that I'm totally in the chili frame of mind. (And I'm glad you made the lo mein -- it might be the single most addictive dish on this blog!)

Lydia, I have some frozen kale I'd like to use. How much would I use in this recipe? Looks delish!

Judy, I'd use 1-1/2 cups of squeezed frozen kale.

You had me at kale, but I think everything about this sounds good!

Kalyn, corn isn't something I eat often, but it's so good with the beans and greens here. I think you'll like it.

I am bringing a bunch of Kale over to your house!

Jennifer, 2012 has been my year of kale, and I'm putting it in everything. Come on over!

What a healthful chili Lydia - love the idea of using kale in this.

Can't wait to try this at home!

This looks so fantastic; I can't wait to try it!

I wasn't sure if I should add the chili soaking liquid - is that right?

Cheryl, yes, add it!

Hi there! I made this tonight and it was fabulous! Even my meat eating boyfriend loved it! I could not find the peppers so I used chili peppers and I added the following:
sweet potato (cubed)
brown sugar
chili pepper flakes
hot sauce
brown sugar
half a cup of vegan meatless ground "beef"

Turned out great! I also used chili beans instead of the pinto.

Very filling and satisfying recipe! I made it with vegan cornbread so I am extra full!

Thanks for posting! :D ♥

This is my first time using a crock pot and making chili. I used dry pinto beans (soaked overnight) instead of canned...will this affect the chili? I read that the acid in tomatoes will prevent the beans from cooking.

I'm worried the beans won't get soft :(
What should I do? I added a bit more water (hope it helps?)

Confused, next time, cook the beans first, on their own. They'll take so much longer than the canned beans and will affect the timing of the dish if you use them dry (even soaked overnight).

Problem: i have no blender! I want to use these gaujillos but im curious: can i puree them with no blender? Otherwise what can i do?

You can purée in a food processor, or with a knife (chop very finely, with a smidgen of coarse salt mixed in).

wow so amazing i like the chili stuff a lot and everyone also in my house. I'll definitely try tonight. Just make it good as like you, please God give this power that i can make it good. And everyone will like it.
Thank you

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