Three-bean chili, kind of. December, definitely.

Two weeks ago, there were these biscuits. The kind perfect for dipping in a big bowl of chili, I told you. And then I even went as far as telling some of you to Stay tuned! Chili recipe coming soon! And then there was Thanksgiving, and then Thanksgiving leftovers, and well...Now there is chili.


It all works out perfectly, I think, since it's also December now, a month that never fails to blow in with a gust of frigid air or a healthy dump of snow, or in the case of this year, both. It is cold out there. Cold enough for me to forget how pretty and white and muted everything was on the Saturday morning after that first snow fall; cold enough for my nose hairs to freeze during the brisk walk from my car to the front door; cold enough for me to want this chili every day for lunch and never get sick of it because it is so warm and filling and simple.

Hello, December. Hello, chili.

Three Bean Chili

Now I'm not quite sure what makes an authentic chili, but I'm pretty sure this isn't it. I even started calling it soup a few times in my head, because even though I never grew up with the stuff and certainly have no authority on the matter, I still associate chili with meat. But what I love about this chili, or this soup, or whatever you want to call it, is that there is no meat at all. Just three types of beans, a few handfuls of chopped veggies, and a tomato base.

It also comes together quickly and easily, requiring items that are probably already in your pantry. I made my second batch this past Sunday and had all the ingredients on hand, even after I decided to skip my weekend grocery trip just to avoid the snow. Warm, filling, simple, and I don't have to leave the house? I may just survive this winter, after all.

Three Bean Chili

Three-Bean Chili (from Cooking Light)
This recipe calls for garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, another reason why I hesitate to really call it chili. For those of you who don't like chickpeas (and you know who you are), I think any white bean would work fine, as well.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can organic vegetable broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic to pan, and sauté 3 minutes or until the onion starts to get some color. Stir in 3/4 cup water and next 9 ingredients (through diced tomatoes) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 8 minutes. Stir in cornmeal and cook 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with cilantro, sour cream, diced avocados. Although I think it's perfect just plain, with a biscuit on the side.

Serving: 1 1/3 cup chili
Calories per serving (with 1 tablespoon sour cream): 180


  1. What beautiful pictures! And I love the sequence of them--it felt exactly like coming in from the snow and warming myself to a bowl of chili! I've been craving warm bowls of goodness too this week. I made turkey chowder with leftover turkey and homemade turkey stock--delish! But for 180 cals a bowl, perhaps I will try your chili (sans chickpeas, of course).

  2. Yum! Love your snowy pictures :)

  3. I've made this chili before and it is delish! (I ended up putting meat in it, since the hubby wanted some in there.) Cooking Light's cookbook is my savior during finals, when comfort food is all I want. Thanks for sending me the gold star vibes, by the way.

    Those pictures of the snow are breathtaking. I promised myself I'd eventually live in a city that has all four seasons. Someday...



  4. J - Oooh I like that you noticed the sequence that way! I didn't even plan it like that, but I love it. Turkey chowder sounds so good right now.

    Nicole - Thank you! It was pretty when I took them, but this cold is making me miss summer already...

    Stephanie - I love this chili! And I love Cooking Light, as you can probably tell from all the CL recipes I post. They have a meaty chili that I'm going to try on Murdo soon. :) And I'm definitely thankful for having all four seasons around these parts, but I wouldn't mind if our winters were a little milder...Good luck on the rest of your finals!

  5. I made a similar chili from Bon Appetit and we loved it, chickpeas and all. I like how they stay so firm when you cook them.

  6. Jen - I love chickpeas, and they really do add to the texture. Mushy chickpeas, on the other hand, are a sad story indeed.

  7. mhm, i can see how this will keep you warm!

  8. tschitschi - Yes! So warm and filling, and health, too. :)


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