I don’t use an actual recipe for chili. My chili is different every time. My method is simple and flexible. You can play around with it and add or subtract things to suit your tastes and it will be a delicious meal every time. You can have a meatless chili that is every bit as satisfying as one with ground beef. Here’s the method I use:

I fill my crockpot with whatever beans I feel like using. I always buy dried beans, so it depends on what beans I’ve already cooked using my Dry Bean Cooking Method. I often have various kinds in the freezer. Occasionally, I might have a stock of some canned beans, so I’d toss some of those in, too. My favorite combination of beans is:

1 can red kidney beans (or about 2 cups)

1 or 2 cans black beans (or 2-4 cups)

1 can chickpeas (or 2 cups)

2 cans beans in tomato sauce (or 3 cups white beans with a small can of tomato sauce)

Then, I always add the following:

1 very large chopped onion (sometimes, I even do more)

at least 3 cloves garlic, chopped or minced

LOTS of chili powder – probably 3-4 Tbsp.

salt, to taste

And I vary the rest of the ingredients using any combination of the following:

red pepper, chopped

yellow pepper, chopped

green pepper, chopped

celery, chopped (only 1 or 2 ribs)

frozen corn (adds a nice touch) about 2 cups

zucchini (1 medium) diced

carrots (1 or 2 large) diced

1 lb. cooked ground beef (This is definitely not a necessary addition, but it does make the chili a little heartier, and sometimes it helps to bulk it up and make it last for more meals.)

To complete the chili, I add JUST enough tomato sauce or canned diced tomatoes to make it moist. It doesn’t need to be soupy. As you cook it, it will become more “liquidy”. I prefer to use tomato sauce instead of canned tomatoes, simply because my kids are not fond of cooked tomato chunks. I sometimes add a dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes, but not too much. And sometimes a bit of salsa for something different.

Cook it on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 2-3 hours. This chili is even better the next day!

Serve with:


Raw veggies or a salad


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