Have a favorite chili recipe but want to find a substitute for the beans in the chili? This post has you covered with several easy options where the outcome is just as delicious!
And if you’re not married to that recipe, I’ll also link several no-bean chili recipes that will have you coming back for more.
Best Bean Substitutes for Chili
Whenever you want to substitute beans in chili, there are two things to keep in mind: beans add volume to the chili, and they don’t shrink down when cooked. This is important if adding veggies like cauliflower that often reduce in size when finely chopped.
Here are my favorite bean substitutes for chili:
- Ground meat: adding extra meat to a chili recipe is an excellent low-carb bean substitute for chili. You’ll want to add ½ lb of ground beef, turkey, or chicken per can of beans.
- Chopped veggies: cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, and butternut squash are terrific too! Add 1 ½ cups of chopped veggies per can of beans.
- Sweet Potatoes: cubed sweet potatoes are great and provide lots of nutrition in chili. Add one 6-inch sweet potato per can of beans, about 1 ½ cups cubed.
- Tofu or tempeh: cube it small, and you have a high protein substitute for beans in your chili. 1 to 1 ½ cups cubed per can of beans.
- Lentils: you can have lentils but not beans in your diet? No problem. add ½ cup dry lentils per can of beans and 1 ½ cups water to the pot to cook them.
- Farro: farro is a whole grain that can be used in chili to add volume. I recommend cooking the farro separately and then adding it to the pot.
- Cooked Rice: add 1 ½ cups of cooked rice to the chili per can of beans.
- Mushrooms: dice them in slightly bigger pieces and add 1 ½ cups of mushrooms per can of beans.
Chili Recipes without Beans
Want to skip the figuring out and substitution process? I’ve got you covered with this list of chili recipes without beans. From paleo chili to keto chili to chili cooked in the slow cooker, you’ll find one or more recipes to add to your menu, I’m sure!