Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili

Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili

80 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2007

This rib-sticking chili offers a hearty mix of wheat berries, beans, peppers and onion. Feel free to add an additional chipotle pepper to crank up the heat in this one-pot meal. Cooked wheat berries will keep for up to 1 month in your freezer and there's no need to thaw them; just stir them directly into the chili.

Ingredients 6 servings

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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper,chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 2 14-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (see Tip)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 2 cups Cooked Wheat Berries, (recipe follows)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, chipotle to taste, broth and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  2. Stir in cooked wheat berries and heat through, about 5 minutes more. (If using frozen wheat berries, cook until thoroughly heated.) Remove from the heat. Stir in lime juice. Garnish each bowl with avocado and cilantro.
  • Tips: Canned chipotle peppers (smoked jalapeños) in adobo sauce add heat and a smoky flavor. Look for the small cans with other Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.
  • Wheat berries can be found in natural-foods markets and online at King Arthur Flour, (800) 827-6836, bakerscatalogue.com, and Bob's Red Mill, (800) 349-2173, bobsredmill.com.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 1½ cups
  • Per serving: 371 calories; 11 g fat(2 g sat); 15 g fiber; 58 g carbohydrates; 13 g protein; 114 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 13 g sugars; 785 IU vitamin A; 84 mg vitamin C; 114 mg calcium; 5 mg iron; 734 mg sodium; 848 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (140% daily value), Folate (28% dv), Iron (28% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 4
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 2 fat

Reviews 80

July 03, 2017
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By: sstutler
We absolutely LOVE this chili recipe!! We make it exactly as written and have been doing so for about 10 years! It is a family favorite. Love the fact that there is no meat in it and it is very healthy. We make it all year long, about once a month and really enjoy it. Keep up the great work Eating Well!!
June 27, 2017
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By: Ginny Jarvis
Pretty sad because I read "1-2 cans of chipotle peppers" so I put 1 entire can in. Needless to say we weren't able to eat it because it tastes like fire! I will try it again though.
October 30, 2016
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By: Cheryl Collins
I used butternut squash instead of yellow bell pepper and added black olives. No need for the brown sugar. I also left out the chipotle peppers and replaced with barbeque savory grounds by Sweet Earth (vegan ground beef).
October 03, 2016
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By: didyougetone
I have made this many times for many different occasions and it has been a great hit, even for those who say, "Chili has to have meat or it's not chili!" However, I see a lot of reviews say that this is "Too Hot." I think they are mis-reading the recipe. It Does NOT Say, "1-2 cans of chipotle peppers" That would be unbelievably hot those reviews are correct. What the recipe calls for is "1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce." 1 Can of peppers has several peppers in it...take 1 or 2 peppers out of the can and dice them up into the chili. Add a little bit of the adobo sauce and you've got the perfect amount of flavor and heat. Great recipe...if it's followed the way it's written!
February 14, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
Just make it like it says to, you can't get better than this! So easy, tons of flavors. I made it exactly like I said to. My mother did not have sour cream or chips with it and loved it, I did, and also loved it. Beautiful, yummy, easy...makes you feel lucky to be an American who has all this food and goodness at your disposal. Pros: Easy Cons: None
January 06, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
Amazing with a Few Adjustments I halved this recipe and used a bit less than 1/2 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that I pureed in a food processor. That still packed plenty of heat - likely too hot for most (we like ours hot). I didn't have wheat berries and substituted 1 c red quinoa and we gobbled it up with a crusty sourdough bread. Pros: Back off the cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - too much heat & we like it hot!
May 01, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Fabulous done in crockpot with a few changes I added an extra cup of broth, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and increased the chili powder to 1 tablespoon. This chili is really soupy after 6 hours of cooking on low I added the wheat berries. Right before eating I took about 1/3 of the chili out of the crockpot and put it in the food processor and pulsed till smooth. Added it back to crockpot and cooked 1/2 hour longer. It was not watery any longer and came together nicely, like a meaty textured chili.
March 22, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
I thought a can of the chipotle peppers would be too much - I was right. Now I see others read it wrong too. Not edible - way too hot. The consistency would have been good too. Wasted money and time.
February 27, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Lacking This chili was lacking in so many ways. It doesn't have anything wowing about it. The spices aren't balanced and you taste nothing but heat. There's no depth to the flavor. Cut out an entire can of tomatoes also. It's way too acidic. Pros: healthy Cons: too many tomatoes, too spicy, not enough flavor.
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