Whether you’re preparing dinner for your family or entertaining a crowd, you’re always a winner when you serve a tasty, homemade chili. This recipe is portioned for a 6-quart crockpot. For a 4-quart size, cut the recipe by one-third.

For a crowd of 50 you’ll need to quadruple this recipe. For our New Year’s Day Open House, we prepare two crockpots of mild chili for the timid folk and two pots of the spicier variety for the stouthearted souls. As we do, you may have to borrow a couple of crockpots from your kind-hearted neighbors.

This is an easy, hearty, delicious, and low-fat chili that has even brought our die-hard meat-eating friends back to the kitchen for seconds. Our preference is to include a variety of beans, but you can use only kidney beans or any combination you prefer. We noticed the flavor improves when the chili is made a day ahead. Since we serve our New Year’s Day meal buffet style, we spoon the toppings into separate bowls and place them next to the crockpot along with bowls and plenty of spoons.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 medium onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons water2 cups TVP (480 ml) (textured vegetable protein)
14 ounces (395g) boiling water

1 28-ounce (790g) can diced or whole tomatoes, chopped
1 1-pound (450g) can kidney beans, with the liquid
1 1-pound (450g) can pinto beans, with the liquid
1 1-pound (450g) can chile beans, with the liquid
1 1-pound (450g) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 6-ounce (170g) can tomato paste
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chili powder*
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon Tamari or soy sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper*


1 medium onion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 1-pound (450g) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 8-ounce (225g) can black olives, chopped

  1. Have ready a 6-quart (6 liter) crockpot and a kettle of boiling water. Combine the onion, bell pepper, and the 2 tablespoons of water in a large skillet and cook and stir over high heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onions and pepper are softened and transparent. Add more water if needed. Transfer to the crockpot.
  2. Combine the TVP and the boiling water in a medium bowl and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes to rehydrate. When all the water is absorbed, add the TVP to the crockpot.
  3. Add the tomatoes, kidney, pinto, chile, and black beans, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, Tamari, coriander, salt, and crushed red pepper to the crockpot and stir well to distribute the ingredients and seasonings evenly.
  4. Adjust the crockpot to the low setting and cook for 6 to 8 hours. If preparing a day ahead, cool the chili, then refrigerate it overnight. Allow at least 6 hours to reheat it on the low setting the next day.
  5. To serve, place each of the toppings into separate bowls and place then near the crockpot for self-serve or pass them at the table for a family-style dinner.
      *This measure of chili powder makes a fairly zesty chili. To add more spice, increase the crushed red pepper flakes to 1 teaspoon. To tone it down, reduce the chili powder to 1 1/2 tablespoons and use only 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

Note: If you don’t have a crockpot, you can easily prepare the chili in a 10 to 12-quart (10 to 12-liter) stockpot. Start by cooking the onion and pepper in the stockpot until soft. Add the rehydrated TVP, tomatoes, beans, and seasonings, and simmer on medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes to blend the flavors.



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