Mom’s Easy Family Favorite Chili Recipe
Chili is such a versatile dish! We eat it all year long. It is a wonderfully hearty, protein-rich, filling food. It can be made spicy, mild, or somewhere in between. Even though I’m sure there are chili-haters out there, I have yet to meet one! And Mom’s Easy Family Favorite Chili Recipe might just convert you if you’ve never been partial to chili before!
This recipe is our go-to here at the farmhouse when we need to whip up something quickly. It is also a favorite for entertaining. We make enough for leftovers, which stretch into lunches and more dinners for the coming week. It freezes nicely, making it last even longer. This recipe is vegan, and is adaptable because it uses ingredients tailored to individual preferences. We use different bean combinations almost every time we make it, too.
Great for Entertaining
Recently, for one of my children’s birthdays, we had a “Chili Bar.” We made two large slow-cookers-full of chili. On the side, we served a large salad, tortilla chips, veggies with vegan ranch dip, and toppings. The toppings included: vegan sour cream, guacamole, vegan shredded cheese, and chopped onions. We had birthday cupcakes, also vegan, for dessert. This meal was a big hit with everyone!
Corn bread or a baked potato are both good choices for a chili complement as well. If there is no time to make guacamole, sliced avocado will do. Add a lemon or lime wedge if you so desire. Serving corn bread or corn tortilla chips? The corn kernels are optional in this recipe.
We have served this recipe numerous times for company. As a result, it always gets rave reviews from both vegans and non-vegans. If desired, serve this chili as an appetizer course instead of soup. I’ve also filled insulated containers with it for a quick, easy lunch-on-the-go.
Keeping individual serving-sized containers on hand helps me stay organized when storing the chili in portions. If I know I am going to need a big batch, however, the half-gallon-sized mason jars work great in the fridge. I’ve used containers as well as zip-close bags for freezing.
If serving baked potatoes, the chili can go right on top for a “loaded” baked potato. Likewise, if you like nachos, the chili works well on those. It is also yummy atop a bed of lettuce, similar to a taco salad. I know people who like to load chili on their hot dogs. We eat mostly plant-based, so we use a non-meat hot dog alternative.
I have used both store-bought, canned beans, as well as dried that have been soaked overnight and cooked. Using the pressure cooker setting on the “Instant Pot,” we’ve been able to cook dried beans quickly for this recipe.
We like to mix up the types of beans we use in this recipe. A favorite combination for us is black beans mixed with pinto beans.
Dried Beans Instructions
To soak dried beans – Place the contents of a 1-pound bag of beans in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Let this soak at least 6 hours or overnight(or even up to 24 hours). In the morning, or after soaking, just place the pan on the stove and let it come to a boil. Then turn heat down to simmer for approximately one hour.
An alternative to soaking for this long is to do a “quick-soak,” whereby you bring the beans and water to a boil(without soaking) for about 1-2 minutes. Then, turn off the stove, cover the pan, and let sit for an hour or so. This is not my preferred method, however, because I haven’t found that the beans get quite soft enough. It’s a matter of personal preference, I suppose, so maybe try both ways and make your own judgement.
Some prefer to drain the soaked beans first and cover with fresh water before cooking. It is believed to reduce the “flatulence-effect.” However, I will go on record to say that I’ve not noticed any significant difference. 🙂
My kids simply call it, “Mom’s Chili.”
Simple Ingredients for Mom’s EASY Family Favorite Chili Recipe
Cooked black beans, drained (1 – 15.5 oz. can; we use low-sodium)
Cooked other beans – For instance pinto AND/OR kidney beans, drained (2-15.5 ounce cans; we use low-sodium)
Salsa, homemade or canned (mild, medium, or spicy – based on your preference – you could also use half mild and half medium, giving it a little “kick” but not too much)
Chili powder (Adjust amount according to your taste)
Red pepper flakes and/or Cumin(optional)
It’s So Easy to Make!
For this large batch, I use about 4 1/2 cups cooked beans, which is approximately equal to 3 (15-ounce) cans of beans. Here is your first opportunity for creativity! Use whatever beans you like. Our usual includes about part black beans and part pinto and/or kidney beans. I’ve even thrown in chickpeas in the past and it was every bit as good.
The next important ingredient is salsa. This is the key to this recipe’s simplicity. Either home-made or store-bought will do. I use about 4 cups of salsa (32 ounces). If you have little ones, or picky eaters, you can use mild salsa and go easy with the chili powder and other spices in this recipe.
Water follows – about 2 1/2 cups depending on how thick or thin you like it, along with optional corn (either fresh-off-the-cob, canned or frozen). I just dump the corn right into the chili pot. I’ve used canned corn as well, making sure it was low-sodium, drained and rinsed well.
Chili powder, of course, comes next, followed by marjoram, black pepper, and if you dare, red pepper flakes. Cumin is optional as well.
Cooks Slow or Fast
If making it quickly, simmer it on the stove for about 30 minutes. This recipe also lends itself to a slow-cooker. I love using a slow-cooker as it helps simplify my meal prep.
You can also use the “Instant Pot.” When I use this method, I pressure cook dry beans first, then add the remaining ingredients and use the slow cooker setting.
- 1.5 Cups Cooked Black Beans, drained (1 - 15.5 ounce cans)
- 3 Cups Cooked Pinto and/or Kidney Beans, drained (2 - 15.5 ounce cans)
- 32 Ounces Salsa Home-made or canned
- 2.5 Cups Water
- 1-3 Cups Organic Corn kernels- fresh, canned, or frozen (Optional)
- 1-3 tbsp Chili Powder
- 2 teaspoons Marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes, Optional
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin, Optional
Method #1 - Place all ingredients in a soup pot. Stir to mix well. Heat over medium-high heat until just about to boil, then turn heat down to simmer 30 minutes. Serve.
Method #2 - Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Stir to mix well. Allow to cook for 3 hours on High setting, or 6 hours on Low setting. Serve.
Serve extra salsa on the side as a topping or dip for chips. Add toppings such as: avocado or guacamole, vegan sour cream, vegan shredded cheese, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (my mother's favorite), lemon or lime wedges, and any herbs and spices you like.
Cook time will vary depending on the cooking method you use.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 392Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 140mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 15gSugar: 13gProtein: 26g
Nutrition information isn't always accurate. It is intended here as a guide only.
I’d love to know how you like this recipe! And what are your family favorites?
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