I love making all sorts of chili varieties, experimenting with this & that. Not only can it be extremely tasty, if done right (meaning w/o too much oil or grease), it can also be a very healthy one-dish meal since it’s packed with fiber and protein. And it’s so versatile! You can serve it with yummy cornbread, with a nice salad, and top it with just about anything – or just serve it by itself in a giant bowl or mug. The best part is that you can make a really great chili without breaking the bank – so long as you have some good spices and some patience for letting it simmer long enough before digging in (like I do… once the aromas start filling my kitchen, I just can’t resist!).
I call this particular version “The Easiest” because there’s really not much work involved at all. Even the most inexperienced cook can make this and it would turn out okay. I used black, red kidney, and garbanzo beans primarily because that’s what I had in my cupboard, but also because I’d been meaning to combine these in something other than a salad. I’d never tried garbanzo beans in a chili before either, so I was eager to see how their texture would add to the standard beans usually used in chili. Feel free to mix it up with different beans, and if you want to toss in a 4th or 5th variety, have at it. It can only get better. Lastly, remember spices are key; I tend to make mine explode with flavor because I like that sort of thing, so if it’s a bit much for you, go ahead and tone it down by adding some water or a light broth. You’ll get a soupier chili but it’ll still be good.
The Easiest 3-Bean Chili Ever
1 can of black beans
1 can of garbanzo beans
1 can of diced tomatoes (salted or unsalted are fine)
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 T crushed garlic
3 T cooking oil
1 t garlic salt
1 t cumin
2 t chili powder
1 t ground black pepper
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of oregano
Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions, etc. for garnish (if you have it)
In a large pot heat the oil & garlic over medium high heat until garlic starts to brown slightly (don’t burn it!). Add about half of your spice mixture and stir together so that the garlic starts picking up some of the flavors. Add the beans, then the tomatoes in their juice and the rest of the seasonings; stir well. Let simmer for about 3-5 minutes then reduce to medium low heat. Cover and let simmer slowly for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test for flavor and consistency; if it’s too thick and spicy, add ¼ cup of water and stir. Add the chopped fresh tomato at the very end (gives it a little zip and extra texture) and remove from heat.
Ladle into bowls or big soup mugs. Garnish with shredded cheese, chopped green onions or scallions, sour cream, etc. Serve with breadsticks or cornbread, or on its own. Enjoy!