Black Bean and Corn Chili with Avocado Salsa
This black bean and corn chili is hearty, flavorful, and easy to make vegetarian. You'll want to soak up every ounce of the rich tomato broth that's made by using salsa in place of some of the tomatoes. It really is the ultimate one-pot meal, and it's ready in just 30 minutes!
Make yourself a fizzy lime margarita and some summer peach salsa to enjoy while you make this easy black bean and corn chili.
This recipe was originally published in 2016. We've updated the post with some new photos and more information, but we've left the delicious recipe exactly the same.
We think it's safe to assume that you have a favorite chili recipe, but have you tried this chili with black beans and corn? We level up the broth using a combination of fire-roasted tomatoes and salsa before adding the creamy black beans and sweet corn. Bonus: you can easily make it vegetarian by swapping the chicken stock for vegetable stock!
Don't skip the simple avocado salsa; it's really the star of the show. A few big scoops on top of your bowl of chili adds brightness, texture, and well, all the things we love about avocado.
This quick and filling meal is perfect for busy weeknights, potlucks, hot lunches, and more. It's a versatile and healthier weeknight recipe that's great for batch cooking. Double the recipe and store leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months. It's a fool-proof recipe – give it a try!
How to make black bean and corn chili
This one-pot black bean and corn chili is easy to make in just a few simple steps:
- Grab a big pot and start by sautéing the onions, garlic, and bell peppers.
- Once they're softened, add in the base ingredients of the chili (the salsa, tomatoes, black beans, stock, and salt). Bring it all to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.
- Next, add the corn and simmer a bit longer. Taste, and adjust the seasonings by adding more salt, pepper, or chili powder to your liking.
- While it's still cooking, mix up your avocado salsa.
- To serve your masterpiece, ladle the chili into bowls, top with the avocado salsa and any other add-ins you love, and dig in!
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
Toppings for black bean and corn chili
Have some fun adding in your favorite chili toppings. Here are some of ours:
- Grated cheddar monterrey jack, or crumbled queso fresco
- Sour cream (regular or dairy-free!)
- Thinly sliced green onions
- Finely chopped cilantro
- Minced red onion
- Lime wedges
- Diced tomatoes
- Fresh or pickled jalapeños
- Tortilla chips or strips
- Hot sauce
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Chili freezes really well for up to three months in an air-tight container. We love storing leftover chili in these reusable Stasher freezer bags!
Chili is a great meal prep option as it stays fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
It's best reheated in a small pot on the stove. We like to add a little splash of water to help it heat through thoroughly.
How to serve black bean and corn chili
Chili is the ultimate one-pot meal on its own, but we love serving it with soft warm corn tortillas, crispy tortilla chips, or over a bed of rice for a more filling meal.
If you have a little more time, try it with our cheesy zucchini chili cornbread muffins with chili honey butter which you can use to dip or soak up all the flavorful juices.
It's also a great dish for serving to a crowd alongside some juicy margarita chicken with agave and tequila or loaded food truck Mexican nacho fries.
Popular vegetarian chili recipes
- Easy Vegetarian Chili
- Vegetarian Chocolate Quinoa Chili
- Sweet Potato Chili with Chickpeas
- Chipotle Bourbon Pumpkin Chili
- Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
Black Bean and Corn Chili with Avocado Salsa
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder, more to taste
- ½ cup salsa, See notes
- 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, can sub regular diced tomatoes
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chicken stock, can sub vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- 3 cups frozen corn kernels
- Optional toppings: grated white cheddar, lime wedges, cilantro, and green onions, for vegan sub dairy-free cheese,
The Avocado Salsa
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
- Juice from ½ lime
- A pinch of sea salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the chili powder.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 large onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 medium red bell pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- Add the salsa, tomatoes, black beans, stock, and salt and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.½ cup salsa, 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, 2 15-ounce cans black beans, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 cup chicken stock
- Add the corn and return the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Season to taste with additional sea salt and pepper.3 cups frozen corn kernels
- While the chili is cooking, prepare the avocado salsa. In a small bowl, gently toss the avocado with the red onion and lime juice. Season to taste with a pinch of sea salt and pepper.1 ripe avocado, 2 tablespoons minced red onion, Juice from ½ lime, A pinch of sea salt and pepper
- To serve the chili, ladle it into bowls and top with the avocado salsa and any or all of the optional toppings.Optional toppings: grated white cheddar, lime wedges, cilantro, and green onions
I made this recipe following the directions to a “T” and tasted it…and then felt like I needed to start adding ingredients. Specifically I added smoked paprika (about a teaspoon) and two solid teaspoons of cumin.
The avocado salsa is super great but is only enough for 3 servings – this easily makes double that. I would double that avocado salsa (or triple it).
The ingredients are lovely (I even used a smoky salsa, though I wouldn’t use it again – I think it was overpowering so I’d recommend picking your most favorite salsa in the world and not just something you “like” or even just want to get rid of), but IDK – it just tasted of tomato; heavy, heavy tomato. I was loathe to add a bit of sugar to take down the tomato tang because I want to keep this as healthy as possible and I’m really trying to swear off all sugar right now.
As I finish off the leftovers, I add a lot of crushed tortilla chips to each bowl and some sour cream (which makes it significantly less healthy – I don’t mean to be fussy, but my point in making this was to make a super healthy meal.).
I think the base is great and I’d like to play with it some more. I’ve made others with a base like this and loved them – I’m not ready to give up yet.
Can you cut down on the amount of chili in the recipe? Will it make it less spicy?
You can! Simply adjust to taste.
What is salsa in this recipe is it something you buy frozen fresh tinned or dried
The salsa I use is always in a jar. Pace Picante is a cheap brand that works just fine with this recipe. There are lots of others though and they will all work well 🙂
This is one of the great comfort foods of our time !! Thanks !! DK
Thanks, Dan! I totally agree 🙂
I like that it has no meat in it. I haven’t tried a meatless one yet. Looks delicious.
I was actually vegetarian for years, and still often eat that way. It is still a little strange for me to cook with meat. Hope you enjoy this meat-less version!