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Spice Up Your Life: Variations on Chili

Homemade Organic Vegetarian Chili with Beans and Cheese

Whether it’s the ingredients or what to do with them, Chili is one of those meals that never has to be the same twice – not that being the same isn’t a good thing, because a great Chili will always be a great Chili! But you can definitely switch ingredients up to make each warm and comforting bowl deliciously different.

What’s Your “Best Chili Ever”

Recipes exist all over the internet that claim they’re the best Chili ever, but we all know the best Chili is the one you make for your family. So, you could stick with the standard ground meat (whether it’s beef, chicken, turkey, pork, or a combination of any of the aforementioned – or maybe you go meatless…), tomatoes, onions, spices, and beans, or you could branch out a bit and add something new or substitute something different.

Using Shredded Meat Instead of Ground

If using meat, you could go with the standard ground variety and mix up the types of meats, or you could try using shredded meat. If you’re interested in trying this, you just need to place portions of whatever meat you’d like to use (preferably boneless) into your chili pot or slow cooker with the rest of your ingredients. Before serving, pull out the larger chunks and shred it into smaller pieces and mix back in. It’s a bit of a different texture than what you might be used to, but delicious all the same.

If you want to mix it up a bit with ingredients, try adding corn or mushrooms or leeks instead of onions, or try all three at once if you’re feeling a little adventurous. Each will bring a different flavor and texture to every bite. Utilizing different beans will add variants of colour, as well as taste and texture.

Spice Up Your Life!

Another way to dress up your Chili is to experiment with spices and flavours. Many believe that a good Chili needs cumin and chili powder, and I don’t disagree. But there are a host of other spices that will add different unique notes to the overall taste. Before you turn off your mind to the possibilities, consider adding some of these out of the box ingredients that will likely become family favourites:

  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Peanut Butter
  • Nutella
  • Cardamom
  • Smoked Chili Powders

And that’s just to name a few of the possibilities. You don’t need to add a lot in most cases because a little goes a long way but you will be surprised at how good unexpected combinations will taste!

Serve It Over Something Different

There are quite a few ways to serve your chili as well—try it over pasta, rice, or roasted potatoes for a new experience in texture and taste. Or feeling a little more adventurous? If so, add some Chili to the top of plated tortilla chips before topping with some cheese for a filling, but nutritious, meal of nachos! The possibilities are endless!

Dressing up your Chili comes with endless possibilities. You can go old school and eat your Chili straight. Or you could dress it up with sour cream and shredded cheese. But let’s think a little out of the box and maybe add some tortilla or corn chips, or some cubed creamy avocado on top as well. With endless possibilities, every bowl of Chili will be an exciting culinary adventure!

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Until next time,

Neil

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