When it’s chilly, make some chili.

Even with the recent rise in food costs, this meal costs us less than ten shekels for a pot of hearty vegetarian chili that serves 4-5 people – even including the cheese we sprinkle over our bowls.

You’ll need:

2 cups of cooked red beans with the liquid (see below for how to prepare from dried* or use one can)

3 large tomatoes or 4-5 smaller ones

1 large bell pepper (preferably not green)

1 medium-large onion

About 80 grams of tomato paste (or one tiny tub)

¼ cup water if needed (depends how watery your beans are)

A little oil for the pot

A generous shake of granulated garlic

About half a Tbsp of oregano

About half Tbsp of cumin

salt according to your taste  

chili flakes (or a chili pepper) also according to your preference

What to do with them:

Put some oil on the bottom of a medium sized pot and let it get hot. Dice the vegetables starting with the onion, throw them in and poke them around occasionally. After letting them get soft, add the tomato paste, spices and beans. If you are worried about anything sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning, add a little water. After it hits boiling, let it stew on low for about an hour. If you want, serve with bread, tortillas or leftover pasta from your fridge. For garnish we like to put some shredded cheese on top when serving. B’teavon!

* How to prepare dried red beans 

We buy dried red beans (שעועית אדומה) for 10 shekels/kilo. We’ve seen bags for up to 15-16 shekels at other supermarkets – still an excellent deal considering how many meals you get out of it! We prepare a kilo at a time and freeze with the liquid in 2 cup portions. One kilo of dried red beans makes 5-6 pots of chili.

Pour the bag of dry beans into a big pot or bowl and cover with enough water to let the beans double in size and still be covered – at least 15-20 cm over the top of the dried beans. Let it sit for 10-12 hours (overnight or while at work). Drain the water and replace it (cuts down on tummy issues) and boil in a regular pot for about 2 hours or in a crock pot or instant pot for whatever the instructions tell you to do. Separate into 2 cup servings (or whatever you choose) and freeze immersed in the liquid. While it’s a bit of work, we only do this every 6-8 weeks or so and definitely find the savings and taste worth it. 

Our falafel recipe is another incredibly low cost legume based dinner that we prepare in bulk. We’ll share it in a future post.


4 responses to “When it’s chilly, make some chili.”

  1. Rachel Avatar

    Another way to cook kidney beans, navy beans, or chickpeas (garbanzos): If you own a pressure cooker, the soaked dried beans are cooked very quickly. You can do a large batch and freeze the beans just like in the main recipe.

    Cook for 20min for soaked kidney beans or navy beans, 30 min for soaked chickpeas.
    If you don’t have all day or all night to soak your beans, then put them in a pan, and bring water to a boil (enough water to cover the beans plus 15-20cm, in depth), and leave them, covered, to soak for one hour before using the pressure cooker.


    1. fionistdream Avatar

      We’ll have to get ourselves a pressure cooker! Thanks 🙂


      1. Rachel Avatar

        One of the best kitchen ‘tools’ we’ve ever bought!
        Soups including lentils and vegetables are cooked in 15 minutes. There is more cooking time, while you wait for the pressure cooker to ‘come down’ to normal pressure … during which you have turned off the power, so it’s only 15 minutes of electricity/gas you are paying for.
        Somewhat longer time needed for cooking meat e.g. chicken.
        Ideal for cooking large quantities of vegetables like potatoes.

        (No, I’m not a seller of pressure cookers!)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kevin Foodie Avatar

    When it’s Chilly make Chlli. Love it! I would definitely have a bowl of your chlli in this cold NYC weather. What an easy and healthy recipe. Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe.


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