My Famous Three Bean Vegetarian Chili


This vegetarian chili is a hit with vegetarians and meat-eaters alike! And the only prep required is to chop up some veggies, open some cans and throwing it in the crockpot! 

Happy Fall weather! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love fall. Besides the crisp weather and the excuse to cuddle in a blanket – I think I love this season the most because some of my favorite recipes are very “Fall-y.” Pumpkin Gingerbread anyone? But really, this chilly weather gives me the perfect excuse to make my famous three-bean vegetarian chili.

If you are wondering how my three-bean vegetarian chili became famous, well, that’s a funny story.

When I first moved to Winston-Salem, I bribed myself into new friendships by purchasing a huge cable TV package and inviting people over for football and food. For one of these get-togethers, I threw together this chili recipe, and it was a HUGE hit. It’s been requested many times since then. It was even referred to as “Teri’s Famous Chili” and requested at future football watching parties. I’m so easily flattered. I’ve been living in Winston-Salem for 12 years now and I still love this recipe just as much!

My Famous Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients

Black beans
Kidney beans
Pinto beans
Diced tomatoes with juice
Tomato paste
Tomato sauce
Yellow onion
Celery
Red or green bell pepper
Jalapeno
Chili powder
Worcestershire sauce
Garlic
Dried oregano
Ground cumin
Dried basil
Salt
Black pepper
Paprika
Brown sugar or coconut sugar

Instructions

There’s just one step in making this chili. I am not kidding.

Step 1

Throw ALL of the ingredients into a Crockpot/slow cooker and cook over low for at least 4 hours (or 2 hours on high if you’re in a hurry). It gets better the longer it has to cook so I recommend the 4+ hours.

If you want to be a little fancier, you can sauté the onion in some olive oil first to release the onion’s flavor a little bit more, but it’s totally not necessary.

Chili Topping Options

I have about a million and one toppings that taste amazing with this chili – depending on my mood. But here are some of my favorite go-to if you want to spice (not literally – that’ll come later) up your chili.

Cheese

Shredded cheddar cheese works best. If you find your chili is too spicy for your taste, cheese will help bring that spice level down a notch. Vegan cheddar works well too.

Sour cream

I love me some sour cream and chili. Just a dollop is fine. And again, sour cream will help bring down the heat (both temperature and spice!) if things are too hot for you! I love Trader Joe’s organic sour cream. Plain greek yogurt is also a good option if you don’t have sour cream handy!

Tortilla chips

I love chili paired with tortilla chips. The lighter and crispier the better! The Xochitl brand or the Tostito lime are my two favorites! I’m not really a fritos person, but hey, if that’s your jam, go for it!

Sliced avocado

I LOVE avocado on top of chili. It provides the same cooling effect as sour cream with just a little different flavor.

Recipe Variations

Chili recipes are usually pretty forgiving – within a limit. Here are some options for ingredient variations so you can adapt this chili to your tastes.

Jalapeno

I get it – some people like the spice. If you want your chili extra spicy, include the entire jalapeño, skin, and seeds. Basically, just dice the jalapeño and throw the whole pepper in the Crockpot, except the stem. Pickled jalapeños also work well.

I recommend starting light on the jalapeños and adding more after you do a taste test. Nothing is worse than throwing too many in and having a chili that’s so spicy you can’t even eat it. (Been there!)

Vegetables

I don’t always have the right vegetables handy when I am throwing together this recipe. Maybe you can relate?

So I have tried many other vegetables in this recipe over the years. The veggies that work best (and are not in the ingredients list above) in this chili include carrots, sweet corn, peas, and green beans. If you LOVE veggies, then I would say try out different ones. It just depends on how you like your chili to taste. I tried broccoli in my chili once, and I won’t lie, it was weird. Don’t do that.

Cornbread

I mentioned this in my beef chili recipe post but I’ll say it again here. My better-than-Martha-Stewart-cornbread recipe is an amazing side to this chili. Cornbread and chili are the best. Head on over to that recipe and cook that up while this chili cooks in the crockpot!

So there you have it – my famous chili recipe! What recipe do you have that is famous? And please leave a link to the recipe if you have it posted on your blog.

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Ingredients

1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)

2 cans kidney beans (drained & rinsed)

1 can pinto beans (drained & rinsed)

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 red or green bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno, finely diced (to taste…I like things medium spicy, so using half the pepper will do)

1/4 cup (heaping) chili powder

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 large (or 4 average) garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon brown sugar or coconut sugar


Throw ALL of the ingredients into a Crockpot and cook over low for at least 4 hours (or 2 hours on high if you’re in a hurry). It gets better the longer it has to cook so I recommend the 4+ hours.

If you want to be a little fancier, you can sauté the onion in some olive oil first to release the onion’s flavor a little bit more, but it’s totally not necessary.


Enjoy this old photo from when I posted this back in 2011.

chili-2

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