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.