Years ago Justin and I attended a potluck dinner to which one guest brought a four-bean chili. It was one of the best things I had tasted up to that point, and I immediately set about trying to make my own. I came up with this on my first try, and we loved it. I would say this is probably one of the first recipes I created.
As I look at the recipe now, I can see how simple and fuss-free it is, and I think about adding chipotle chiles or roasted tomatoes or portabello mushrooms or sweet potatoes. But I always end up making the original recipe, changing up the beans depending on what we have on hand. This week, I used butter beans and pinto beans instead of kidney beans and black-eyed peas in an effort to use up items that we already had in the cupboards (see The Pantry Project for more info). Any beans, any veggies, any spices would probably taste just as yummy. So here’s the recipe, in all its glory.
Note: We sometimes have this over bulgur or brown rice, or topped with grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, diced avocado, and/or sliced green onions.
Four Bean Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 small zucchini, chopped
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large soup pot. Saute onion, garlic, and bell pepper 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, over low heat for 45 to 60 minutes or until vegetables are tender and flavors have combined.
Makes tons. (Maybe 8 – 10 servings.)