Friday, January 30, 2009

What's for dinner? Three Bean Chili with Cornbread Crumbles!

This is one of my favorite recipes - I make a batch of this almost weekly. It makes about 4.5 meals, after I make it I pack it in smaller containers and just grab one to take to work with me! This recipe is low fat and fairly low calorie - you could have a bowl of chili, a small side salad, and a fruit for about 300 cals. The best thing about this recipe is it is really difficult to screw up. I should know, I have tried every way I can! One time I forgot the beans entirely - I cooked the vegetables for about an hour and then realized! Not to worry, though, I threw the beans in and cooked it for another half an hour and it was SO good!

What you will need:
1 large (29-30 oz) can of Tomato Sauce
1 15 oz can Black Beans
1 15 oz can dark kidney beans
1 15 oz can northern (white) beans
1 tbsp canola oil
2 green peppers
4 roma tomatoes (or 2 bigger ones!)
1 large yellow/white/sweet onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp chili powder
Dried red chiles (optional)

1) Start by chopping the garlic - I use a garlic press because I'm lazy, I would really recommend investing in one if you use a lot of garlic, it saves a lot of time! Then chop the onion. I like to keep the vegetables all around the same size so if you want a really chunky chili chop bigger pieces!
2) Put a dutch oven over a low to medium heat. Add the canola oil just so that the bottom of the pot is covered. Add garlic and onion and simmer uncovered for about 5 mins (until starting to soften). You can also add dried red peppers at this time if you wish - I like my chili pretty spicy so usually add about 4 of them (these are the small red chiles that you will usually find in the mexican aisle of your grocery store)

3) While the garlic and onion are simmering, start cutting up the green pepper. Add that when done. Then chop the tomato and add that! Now let the whole combination simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes or so.

4) While the vegetables are stewing away, start washing the beans. I dump them all together into a strainer and wash them really well (the "sauce" around canned beans is really high in sodium and we want to wash all of that salt away and leave behind the beautiful beans!). Once they are all washed you can dump them into the pot as well.
5) Now add the tomato sauce into the dutch oven.
6) And finally, add the chili powder. I usually go with a very generous (heaping) 2 tsp. Note here that if you wanted to add spice you could buy hot chili powder rather than adding the red chiles. I buy chili powder in bulk because I make this recipe so frequently and can only find mild chili powder in large quantities so that's why I do dried chiles!

7) Cover pot and bring chili to a light boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for at least 45 minutes (I prefer an hour to an hour and 15 mins), stirring occasionally.
8) I test the chili for "doneness" by sampling a green pepper - I prefer my veggies to be pretty soft and the pepper is always the last to soften! If you prefer a crunchier chili you may want to stop cooking closer to the 45 min point.

9) If you put red chiles in, now is the time to fish them out. I like to count the stems when I put them in as they usually fall off and I want to make sure I got them all!
10) Serve right away or refrigerate/freeze!

I made cornbread to go with this meal, I cheated and used a kit - It was a Chili's restaurant cornbread kit which was amazing, really - very moist (I'm not a huge fan of dry cornbread). I crumbled some over the chili and had a small piece to the side as well!

Obviously with all the beans in this awesome chili, it is great for vegetarian or vegan folks. If you wanted to make this meal a source of complete protein, you could add some rice to the chili itself or serve it on a bed of rice.

The chili will keep well in the refrigerator, if you won't eat it within the week I would recommend freezing it. Bon appetit and enjoy!


  1. Yumm! that looks much better than my "can of" chili....can of chili beans,can of kidney beans, can of tomatoes, & meat.

  2. It is really delicious. But I'm sure your "can of" chili is great, too! At least you took it a step beyond Hormel - that's what I initially thought of when you said can of chili! :)

  3. I love chili because it is almost impossible to mess up. I love the cornbread on top.