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“Ladles”- Drifter’s Chili

If there was a Chili's Anonymous, I'd be a lifelong member!

Shutterstock Ladle-Welcome to “Ladles”, an ongoing series of healthy soups, stewps and gumbos!

Given the fact I can’t draw any better than a first grader (if that), the only way I can relate to an artist staring at a bare canvas is when I stare into my pantry ready to create a new homemade chili!

I’ve been accused of having tunnel vision when I run, well… if they only could see me in the kitchen building my chili! Like a witch over her cauldron, I won’t let anybody near, let alone taste, my special potion until it has simmered and the flavors have matured over a low flame.

(My resume includes First Place Winner of the best chili of Boy Scout Troop 222! How many years ago?…..not sayin’):)

Drifter’s Chili

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2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 can sliced black olives
1 can diced green chilis
1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 frozen bag of shelled edamame or peas
1 can tomato sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
Chili seasoning (choose your favorite- read the label!)
1 cup quinoa, cooked in 2 cups vegetable broth
(Optional) 1 package corn tortillas (refrigerated from a health food market)
(Optional) Whole grain crackers
(Optional) Daiya cheese shreds

The most work you’ll do to make this chili is shopping for the ingredients, most of which can be kept on hand in your pantry.

I like to whip up the cooked quinoa first and allow it to sit or refrigerate depending on planned eating time. Quinoa is a high protein grain that is the secret to this hearty chili. This grain soaks up the flavors in the pot, turning a sloppy chili into one that sticks to your spoon. You can boil the grain in plain water. I prefer vegetable broth. You really want the quinoa to be fluffy and dry so cooking ahead is advisable.

Sauté the onion in olive oil until it begins to soften. Add garlic stirring often. Add in the frozen edamame or peas. Stir until defrosted on medium heat. Dump in all remaining ingredients, except the cooked quinoa, green onions and optional ingredients. Add in 1-2 cups water.

Simmer for 1-3 hours or even longer in a crock pot. About an hour before serving, add the cooked quinoa and simmer covered.

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The corn tortillas and green onions are my favorite toppings for this chili. Cut the tortillas into strips, spray with a little cooking oil spray, sprinkle a pinch of salt, and toast in oven until golden brown.

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Add cheese shreds or avocado for extra creaminess if desired.

Crackers can almost replace  the spoons!

Crackers can almost replace the spoons!

Warning!¬† Your drifters won’t want to leave. But when they do, this chili will hold ’em over until they reach the next town.

"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society." Jiddu Krishnamurti


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