As the weather gets colder I find myself craving chili. It’s such a warm, hearty meal that can be served many different ways. Now I know a lot of people  argue over what is a “true” chili (meat & beans vs just beans, without vegetables, with vegetables, etc, etc) but to me chili, in its basic form, is a semi-spicy dish with beans in a tomato base.

This is the recipe for my basic chili. It’s vegetarian but you can add meat (such as ground beef or chicken) and add more (or less) spice if you prefer.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil/ oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 chopped green/red pepper
6 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup agave
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes with thick tomato puree
1 (19 ounce) can black beans, drained
2 (19 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained
1 (19 ounce) can white beans, undrained
chopped carrots (as much as you feel like adding)

1. In a large pot heat olive oil over low-medium heat. Saute peppers and onion over medium heat until onions are translucent (5-8 minutes).

2.  Add the remaining ingredients and slowly bring to a boil. Cover pot and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes.

In my opinion, chili tastes best when allowed to sit overnight.  Refrigerate chili in covered pot overnight. When you want to eat it again, bring to a boil over a low heat, stirring constantly. This recipe makes a lot of servings, so generally what I do is the day after I’ve made it, I’ll package it into 2-serving size portion and put it in the freezer. That way when I need to make dinner quickly or have forgotten to pack a lunch, I can just grab it out of the freezer, reheat and voila!

Chili can be served by itself but can also be served over different things as well, such as:
1. over rice or quinoa
2. over french fries (and if you want you can put a layer of cheese (or vegan cheese) between the fries and chili)
3. over salad (you could also add some cheese and broken up corn chips)

Feel free to share your opinions and comments about chili and how you do! Happy eating!


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