We very often have chili is our fridge. It heats quickly, is satisfying and full of protein. We eat it as traditional chili in a bowl topped with extra onions (and cheese), over rice or with cornbread. We use it in our breakfast “omelets,” or as a mid-afternoon snack. For me, there is nothing more comforting on a cold rainy night than a big bowl of piping hot, spicy chili.
Best of all it is a quick and easy dish to make. From the time I walk into the kitchen until I have cleaned up and am ready to leave is about 20 minutes. Admittedly, the cooking takes hours, but not prep. And finally, the smell of the cooking chili is it’s own special treat!
My kids have asked me for years to write this recipe down and somehow it has never gotten done. So finally, here it is!
- Use olive oil to sauté the following veggies:
- garlic to taste
- 2 small or 1 large chopped onion
- chopped celery in equal amount to the onion
- OPTIONAL: peppers (bell, jalapeno, Anaheim)
- As the onions start to become clear add herbs and turn to low:
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil (1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Put all other ingredients in the crockpot
- 3 cans kidney beans
- 2 cans black beans
- 1 can white beans (great northern or navy)
- 1 package frozen corn
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 2-3 jars of salsa*
- Turn the crockpot on high
- Add veggies from step 1 and cover; cook on high for 2-3 hours
- Turn to low and let cook another 3-4 hours; if you are going to be gone or just don’t want to fool with it just start it on low and walk away.
About the salsa. My very favorite salsa to use in the Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde. The resulting chili is not very spicy but extremely flavorful. I have used just about every kind of salsa imaginable! Different salsas change the flavor and texture. The important thing is to find one you like. Currently I am using my own red sauce; it works well.
If you want spicy chili you have some choices
- Add hot fresh chilies (jalapeno, Serrano, habanero) to the veggie mix to be sautéed
- Add Jalapeno, red chili powder or flaked red chilies to the crockpot mixture
- Add Tabasco or some other hot sauce drops to the crockpot mixture
- Use really hot salsa instead of a milder one in the crockpot mixture
Another option is to add vegeburger, tofu or seitan. The combination of the corn and the beans make a perfect complete protein, but some people prefer a “meaty” texture.
This is one of those recipes that tastes slightly different every time I make it. The one consistent thing is that it always tastes good! Try it!