Few things can warm you up on a blustery Winter day like good, old fashioned chili and cornbread. I remember eating my mom’s chili growing up, which I would classify as more of a “Cincinnati-style” chili. It was a rich and spicy tomato-based chili with ground beef, kidney beans, and short spaghetti noodles. The noodles were my favorite part. I didn’t care much for the beans, so I would ask my mom to make a small pot of chili for me without beans. Being the loving person she is, she would oblige without complaint. If my kids asked me to do that, I’m not sure I would!
Like me, legumes are hit or miss with my own children, but they have grown on me over the years (let’s say I’m a fan). It’s a good thing, too, because this easy vegetarian chili recipe has 3 different types of beans! I first discovered this recipe in a Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook. For the life of me, I can’t remember how I came by this cookbook. I do know that it was one of my very first cookbooks, however.
This recipe is sooooo simple – you throw everything into one big pot and let it go. It’s almost hard to believe it’s worth trying, but I assure you, it is! I’ve adapted the recipe over the years, playing with the spices and add-ins. Everyone I have served it to has asked me for the recipe (super flattering!). I love to serve this chili with a side of savory cheddar cheese cornbread with a buttery, salty crust from being cooked in a skillet. YUM!
I added a note to the recipe below re: adding chorizo or shredded rotisserie chicken as a topping if you have meat lovers at your dinner table. When meat is served on the side, everyone (including vegetarians) wins!