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April Flowers The Prudent Homemaker Blog

Chili The Prudent Homemaker

This meatless chili can be made completely from pantry ingredients if you have dried onions and peppers in your pantry.


Serves 8 to 10


2 large onions, diced

2 green bell peppers, chopped

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

6 cups canned chopped tomatoes and liquid

4 bay leaves

2 Tbsp cumin or chili powder

4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

6 cups cooked pinto or other beans (3 cups dried beans)


Toppings (optional):

cheddar cheese

sour cream



Stovetop instructions:

In a large stockpot, combine oil, onions, and peppers. Cook until almost tender. Add tomatoes and spices. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add beans and heat through. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Solar oven instructions:

Combine beans, onions, peppers and 5 cups water in a 7 quart pot. Cook until beans are soft (your time will vary, depending on the temperature of your oven, but plan for 4-6 hours). After beans are soft, add spices and tomatoes, and cook for 2 to 3 more hours. Remove bay leaves before serving. Note: You can omit the oil if you are not browning onions. 

We like to serve this with cornbread.


To make this as inexpensively as possible:

I buy beans in bulk and cook them from scratch. I cook large pots of beans and freeze them in quart-sized freezer bags.

I buy oil by the gallon.

I purchase my spices in bulk.

I buy onions on sale in the fall and dehydrate them to use throughout the year. 

I buy bell peppers on sale, slice them and freeze them (and/or dehydrate them) to use throughout the year.

I buy canned tomatoes in a #10 can.

I grow my own bay leaves on a small potted topiary tree.

You can also grow your own onions and bell peppers for a larger savings.