4 Bean Vegan Chili

One of the main concerns new vegans (and perhaps their family members or friends) often have is whether they will be able to get enough protein in their diet. If they eat a variety of foods they will get plenty of protein.

Protein is in most foods, but plant protein (with the exception of soybeans) is incomplete, meaning it does not contain all of the essential amino acids that the human body needs. This is not a problem if you know a little bit about food combinations that create complete proteins.

Each plant has different essential amino acids. If you combine the right plants in your meal, you will be able to get all the essential amino acids you need. It’s not complicated. Basically you just need to remember:

legumes + grains = complete protein


legumes + nuts or seeds = complete protein

Here are some examples of plant food combinations to create a complete protein:

.beans and rice

.peanut butter on bread

.beans in a flour or corn tortilla

.hummus (garbanzo beans and tahini)

.black bean and corn salsa

.lentil and brown rice salad with almonds

Luckily the plant food combinations that create complete proteins are pretty tasty together, but you do not have to eat the foods together to get all the essential amino acids you need.  Incorporate legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains into your vegan diet on a daily basis and you will be fine protein-wise.

By the way, legumes are beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts (yes, peanuts are legumes and not nuts).

This chili is a perfect example of how food combining to create a complete protein can be delicious. The addition of hominy and corn to this bean chili ensures you are getting all the essential amino acids you need.

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4 Bean Vegan Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (color of your choice), chopped
2 chiles (serranos or jalapenos), seeded and minced (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 15.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15.5 oz. can hominy, drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (or to taste)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and chiles. Cook until the vegetables start to get soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the ground cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Add all the beans, diced tomatoes with juices, hominy, corn, and water. Stir well and allow to just come to a boil. Season with the salt and pepper and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the chili is thickened. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.