5 hearty chili recipes

salsa chicken chili

We’ve turned back the clocks, officially swapped out our flip flops for boots, and have pulled the sweaters out of our closets. When the temperatures start to drop, there’s no better time for a big batch of chili. Here’s our roundup of 5 warm and satisfying chili recipes for your arsenal, including options for meat, chicken, and vegetarian recipes.


salsa chicken chili

Using a combination of both stock and salsa keeps this chili recipe both light and flavorful. Be sure to use a good quality salsa here as it’s the dominant flavor in the chili.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste

  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (from about 2 chicken breasts)

  • 2 cups low-sodium (or homemade) chicken stock

  • 16 ounces salsa (we prefer Heidi’s brand)

  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • Shredded cheese, for serving

  • Sour cream, for serving

  • Fresh cilantro, for serving

  • Fresh limes, for serving

  • Tortilla chips, for serving

  1. In a Dutch oven, add oil and place over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, cumin, and chili powder and cook for another minute.

  2. Add 1 cup stock to deglaze pan, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Then add remaining 1 cup stock along with salsa, beans, and chicken and cook until chili just comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until everything is warmed though. Taste and adjust as desired.

  3. Divide among serving bowls and serve with desired toppings.

Serves 4.


sweet potato + black bean chili

This hearty stew is a nice balance of traditional Mexican flavors.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 small onion, finely diced

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotles in adobo sauce, or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 29-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (and juices)

  • 2-3 cups low-sodium (or homemade) vegetable stock

  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 2 avocados

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 lime, cut in half, for garnish

  1. In a Dutch oven or medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add sweet potatoes and cook, stirring often, until onion and sweet potatoes begin to soften, another 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, chipotle in adobo sauce, cumin, and chili powder and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes (and juices), scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan.

  2. Add 2 cups stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sweet potatoes are softened, about 45 minutes.

  3. Add beans and continue to cook until beans are warmed through, about 10 minutes. Taste for flavor and adjust seasonings (and spice level if necessary). Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into serving bowls.

  4. Cut avocados in half and remove pits. Using a tablespoon, scoop out avocado flesh. Dice avocado and divide among serving bowls. Top each with cilantro and drizzle with fresh lime juice. Serve warm.

Serves 4.


tofu chili

A vegetarian twist on a traditional chili. Hints of chocolate add a subtle flavor that work really nicely with the heat of the chipotles.

  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 small onion, finely diced

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotles in adobo sauce (see cook’s note)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 ounce dark chocolate, chopped

  • 1 28-ounce can tomato sauce

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, for serving

  • Sour cream, for serving, optional

  1. Place tofu on a small baking sheet. Top with another small baking sheet, and top that with a heavy can (adding weight to pan). Press tofu, draining as much liquid as you can from it. Discard liquid every 15 minutes or so for 1 hour. Pat tofu completely dry. Crumble tofu into small pieces and place in a small bowl. Set aside.

  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Add cumin, chili powder, chipotles in adobo sauce, and cayenne pepper and stir.

  3. Add chocolate, tomato sauce, black beans, and tofu and bring to a boil.

  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings to desired taste. Ladle into serving bowls and top each with cheese and sour cream (if using). Serve warm.

Serves 4.

cook’s note: If using whole chipotles in adobo (versus just the sauce), finely chop before adding to soup.


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