Simple chili

My 20+-year experiment with meal spontaneity has been mostly a loser, so I am preparing myself for menu planning. In the meantime, I’m looking for reliab, not-too-complicated recipes like this super healthy and flavorful slow-cooker chili from Real Simple magazine.

If you’re in the urban U.S. you can probably find fire-roasted canned tomatoes. I omitted the 1 t. salt because canned beans, canned tomatoes, and chili powder usually have salt added.

Serves 4   Hands-On Time: 20m <– TRUE! | Total Time: 8hr 20m


  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces—I DOUBLED THIS
  • sour cream, sliced scallions, sliced radishes, and tortilla chips, for serving—TOTALLY OPTIONAL


  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potato, and 1 cup water.
  2. Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened, on low for 7 to 8 hours  or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time). I STIRRED OCCASIONALLY
  3. Serve the chili with the sour cream, scallions, radishes, and tortilla chips.

3 thoughts on “Simple chili

  1. Finally, something in Real Simple actually is. Will try this! Welcome all slow cooker recipes! Except my pet peeve–those that involve 10-20 minutes of browning, sauteeing, whatever, and then say ‘put on low for 4 hours.’ If it can’t go through a whole work day, what’s the point, right?

    • Thanks, Angie, I just skimmed your board and saw a few recipes I’d like to try!

      Slow cooking for two — that’s the quantity I need, for sure. My crock pot was an unrequested gift and it stayed in the box unopened for *years.* I’m just warming up to it (no pun intended).

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