This vegan red bean chili is bursting with fresh produce, hearty kidney beans, and delicious smoky spices that will amp up your dinnertime. Millet is the surprising ingredient that adds extra heft to each spoonful and offers a subtle chewy texture. If you can’t find poblano peppers, substitute green or yellow bell peppers and kick up the heat with a little extra jalapeño. Soak up the savory stew with a side of brown rice or whole wheat tortillas!

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
  • 2 cups finely chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh poblano chile peppers
  • ½ cup millet
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped and seeded fresh jalapeño
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 3 15-oz. cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 15-oz. cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder or finely chopped chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Corn tortillas or steamed rice, for serving


  • In a Dutch oven cook the first six ingredients (through garlic) over medium-low 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Add the next eight ingredients (through paprika). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until millet is tender.
  • Stir in lemon juice and season with salt. Serve hot with tortillas or rice.

Comments (24)

(5 from 17 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Can you substitute quinoa for the millet?


Flavor is great, level of heat and spices were perfect! I always make a recipe exactly as written (if possible) the first time around, and then make adjustments. For this recipe, I would add less liquid (3 cups), try to find millet (not available in either of my community's markets, so used quinoa), add one more can kidney beans, serve over rice. Also would make some vegan sour cream for topping, along with chopped red onion and chopped fresh cilantro. Will make again with adjustments as noted above.


This Chili is amazing and super hearty. I would also like nutrition facts.

amy russo

can u make this in a crock pot? I dont have a dutch oven.

Megan Edwards

Hi Amy, It's okay if you don't have a Dutch oven, any large soup pot will work for this recipe since it's made on the stovetop! Let us know how it goes.

David T

I made just a couple small substitutions based on what was on hand (rice for millet, omit onion powder), and it is so tasty. So easy to make as well! A new go-to for me love love love.

Mary Ann

My family truly enjoyed this recipe. The only change I made was to substitute red quinoa in place of millet. Will definitely make again.


Love this recipe! I substituted quinoa for millet because it was what I had on hand and it was perfect! Is there a way to find the nutrition facts?

Rebekah Welch

Delicious! I only had one can of roasted tomatoes so I added 30 oz of fresh chopped plum tomatoes. I love the use of millet in this. I’ll definitely make this again.


Thank you Darshana for sharing this very tasty chili recipe! I'm always looking for a professional's input on spice and seasoning ratios. Great!

Isabelle Katz

Best wishes on your marriage.

Sue DeNardo

How would you make this if you were using dried beans? And how spicy is this, we love spicy chilli.


Don't be afraid of the millet! It gives the chili a meat like texture, and fooled my husband, I was going to cook up a separate batch of beef for him but he ate it without knowing that it was meatless. This recipe was a winner. Next time I will omit the spicy peppers, as it is spicy enough without. I cut corn tortillas into wedges and put them in the toaster oven for chips with it. It was simple and easy.


This was fantastic; although, yeah we also didn't include the millet (couldn't find it at our regular grocery). I think I would reduce the liquid even more next time to adjust, but flavor-wise this was wonderful. One of our new faves.

Tiffany Mekeel

Delicious and not too much in the way of prep and ingredients. Definitely will be make this again!

Mary Msuku

Great recipe with not to many steps and ingredients.

Isabelle Katz

Finally, an easy recipe from Darshana with pretty common ingredients. I do love her recipes when they are cooked, but oh my! too many ingredients and too much fussing. This is great and tasty too.

Isabelle Katz

Finally, an easy recipe from Darshana. I do love her food but oh my!!! such a long list of ingredients in most of her recipes.


I did not add millet because I knew my teenager would turn up her nose at it - so I added a bit less broth (and also no lemon juice) to make it more chili-like without the grain added, and both she and my husband (who normally snubs my vegan recipes) LOVED it. Thanks for the great recipe! I'll be making this often! Oh - and I did add a little water/cornstarch at the end for thickening :)


This recipe is very hearty and delicious. I used pearl couscous instead of rice as a serving base and kept everything else as written. My husband loved it and he did not need to add his "hot sauce" because it was spicy enough. Thanks for such a delicious main dish, served with cornbread and broccoli.


This is very good! I didn’t use the millet in the chili. I cooked quinoa separately. Once they were both done I did a layer of quinoa and then the chili! So good! Lots of great flavors! Will make again. I made half of the recipe and there is still plenty for leftovers.


can quinoa be substituted for millet?


The recipe lists CANNED kidney beans (which, obviously, are already cooked) as an ingredient. No need to adjust the liquid unless you want a thicker chili (just add less liquid).


This tastes very good. How would you adjust the amount of water added if you chose to use fully-cooked beans instead?

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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