Snow is falling or the wind is roaring, and it's officially a winter evening. Your stomach is growling at you and it feels like days when you last ate when of course you just had a snack a few hours ago. (Hey, when you're a foodie, you just always want to be eating). There's only one thing that you're craving and it's a hearty bowl of chili.
Chili is a winter day's best friend when it comes to a satisfying meal that you can whip up and feel good about eating. It's generally pretty healthy since it's often made with beans and canned tomatoes and spices, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's also usually made with ground beef, and if you're a meat eater, then you often crave a nice bowl of spicy, delicious chili... with all the toppings. The toppings are where you can really have fun.
There are so many chili recipes out there, and while of course you love the classic, sometimes you want to switch things up. But just like there are great, creative twists on the classic, there are some that are too odd. Here are 10 delicious spins on chili and 10 that sound way too weird.
20 Delicious: Smoky Beef And Bacon Chili
This Smoky Beef and Bacon Chili from My Recipes is a totally delicious spin on the classic. You had us at "smoky beef and bacon" basically.
The smoky part comes from sweet smoked paprika, which sounds like a spice that we should all have been buying and using all this time, so we're glad to know about it. The recipe also uses ground beef. Many people would probably agree that ground beef is the kind of meat that you want to use in chili, even though of course lots of recipes call for chunks of beef. This chili has winter nights written all over it and we're dreaming of it already.
19 Too Weird: Chili Mac And Cheese
Adding interesting ingredients to mac and cheese like bacon, tomatoes, hot sauce, and the like is always a good thing. Adding chili? We're not so sure about that.
When we think chili, we might not be thinking mac and cheese, and vice versa. The idea of putting these two things together is strange and not appealing to everyone. We would really like to keep chili and mac and cheese away from each other. We're not even convinced that mac and cheese needs ground beef, anyway, because then you're kind of getting into casserole or pasta bake territory and it doesn't even feel like macaroni and cheese anymore.
18 Delicious: Cincinnati Chili
Cincinnati Chili is interesting since it's a classic but it's also not a dish that everyone has made. As we can tell from the name, this is chili that is super popular and beloved in Cincinnati.
You'll make chili with ground beef spices and also ground cinnamon, which is a really nice touch, and then serve the chili over spaghetti with shredded cheese on top. Doesn't that sound delightful? When you want a new spin on chili, try this one for sure, and bask in the knowledge that you can have your chili and your pasta at the exact same time. How fun is that?!
17 Too Weird: White Chicken Chili
There are lots of chili recipes that have chicken in them and some kind of white sauce. Honestly, this seems super weird.
Can these even be considered chili? Sure, people would say yes since these recipes involve some kind of spice, and they're made in a pot on the stove and they're super hearty and satisfying. But that's not really what our criteria for chili is, is it? Don't we think of chili as something involving beef, canned tomatoes, and spices? If that's how we feel, we're going to turn down the chance to make a white chicken chili. When we have a chili craving, this isn't what we want to make.
16 Delicious: Buffalo And Black Bean Chili
This recipe for Buffalo and Black Bean Chili sounds awesome. It's got buffalo meat, which we might not be used to cooking with, but if we're meat eaters, this might be something that we're interested in trying.
After all, if we love the classic chili recipes that have ground beef and black beans, this isn't really that much of a stretch. What's awesome about this recipe in particular is that there are two kinds of chili powder. Yup, two kinds. It would probably work with ground beef if we really wanted to use that but we're sure that the original recipe is amazing, and we're interested in giving it a shot.
15 Too Weird: Pepperoni Pizza Chili
Pepperoni Pizza Chili has pizza sauce and all the typical pizza ingredients (spicy sausage, pepperoni, and green pepper)... in a pot of chili. It also has ground beef, two types of beans, and melted cheese on top.
If we want chili, we want chili, and if we want pepperoni and cheese pizza, that's what we're going to order. Getting creative in the kitchen is always a cool thing but honestly, we love the idea of making pizza-flavored soup and leaving the chili ingredients out of it. This would be totally delicious, just not with chili spices and beef and beans.
14 Delicious: Chili Pizza
Chili pizza, on the other hand, sounds like a masterpiece. The idea of putting chili ingredients on our favorite food ever? We would love to try this.
The recipe has shredded mozzarella cheese, pizza crust, kidney beans, sausage, an onion, and pizza sauce. You have to love a recipe with only a few ingredients. That means that you can make it pretty quickly and that you don't have to wait hours and hours to eat. We might never have thought to pair pizza with chili ingredients before but now that we're realizing what a smart thing it is, we wonder why we never tried it before. Adding some other ingredients to this recipe would be delicious, too, like bacon and some bell peppers.
13 Too Weird: Zesty Steak Chili
We're sure that there are people out there who love the idea of putting steak in their chili. After all, there are chili recipes that are made not with ground beef but with actual hunks of meat.
There is just something about steak in chili that doesn't really sound all that appealing. When we want a steak, we want a steak, you know? That means a nice piece of meat that we grill if we're lucky enough to have a barbecue or that we sear in our cast-iron pan if we're not (or if we're apartment-dwellers without access to outdoor space).
12 Delicious: Buffalo Chicken Chili
Buffalo Chicken Chili. Yup, we're on board with this idea. This recipe from How Sweet Eats is amazing and makes us realize how wonderful buffalo chicken is... and hot sauce... and chili.
Thanks to buffalo wing sauce, fire roasted diced tomatoes, a can of crushed tomatoes, cannellini beans, pinto beans, shredded chicken, and some spices, we'll be in business when it comes to cooking up a delicious spin on the classic recipe. It also has a jar of roasted red peppers, which sounds like a delicious addition and not something that we would have thought that we would see listed in the ingredients list.
11 Too Weird: Pineapple Chili
Putting pieces of pineapple into chili doesn't seem like it would be most people's cup of tea (or bowl of chili). We get wanting to add something sweet to a spicy meal, but in that case, why not just go for chocolate or cocoa powder? That's a better thing to do.
Pineapple is a really polarizing ingredient. Lots of people love it with bacon or ham on pizza and just as many people really hate that and would rather that fruit didn't go anywhere near their beloved pizza. Pineapple and chili? We don't want fruit in our chili, either, and that's just how we feel.
10 Delicious: Fire And Ice Chili
Get ready because this chili recipe has something in it that you would never expect... and it's the most exciting thing ever.
This How Sweet Eats recipe has chocolate ice cream as an ingredient. Yes, it really does. Talk about an amazing and delicious spin on a classic chili recipe. What's awesome about this recipe is that it has all of the great chili ingredients that we would want to see like ground beef and tomatoes and then it has 3/4 cup dark chocolate ice cream. We'll be making this for dinner tonight, that's for sure, but maybe we don't want to give our roommate or boyfriend/girlfriend a heads up about this. We'll be keeping this delicious recipe to ourselves.
9 Too Weird: Chili With Tofu
Is it weird to make chili that has tofu in it? Yes, yes it is. Sorry but we really can't wrap our minds around this.
We totally get that people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet will want to make chili that fits their dietary lifestyles. But why not make a pot of chili that has black beans or any other kind of bean? That's always going to be a good idea, particularly on a chilly evening when the wind is going strong outside your windows. We're going to take a pass on making tofu super spicy. We might not even want to eat tofu in general... and, honestly, it's okay to admit that.
8 Delicious: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Chili With Cornbread
Here's a chili recipe that we think sounds absolutely delicious. Serious Eats has given us this recipe that involves making chili with pulled pork and adding cornbread dumplings on top.
This sounds comforting and perfect. It has boneless pork shoulder, dried chilies, ground cumin, unsweetened cocoa powder, and all kinds of amazing ingredients that we can't wait to pour into a slower cooker. We might never have thought to make chili with pulled pork before, let alone make dumplings made out of cornbread, but hey, we live and learn and now we know better. We'll be adding this to our list next time we want a chili dinner.
7 Too Weird: Sausage And Squash Chili
Do squash and sausage belong in chili? Now we're getting into a very important discussion about what ingredients are okay to put in traditional dishes and which ones aren't.
We don't want to rain on anyone's chili-making parade but if we want a steaming hot bowl of chili, we're thinking beef and beans (or beef and no beans if that's our thing). We're not picturing squash and we're not hoping that our chili contains sausage. This seems like more of a soup or a stew, but it's not really chili, and this combination doesn't sound as delicious as the classic recipe does.
6 Delicious: Sweet Potato Chili Fries
When it comes to a delicious spin on chili, this recipe for Sweet Potato Chili Fries from Paleomg has our hearts.
First of all, chili fries are one of the best things ever. Truly. They are hearty and perfect when you're craving fries (like always) but figure involving some protein is probably a good idea. You'll make homemade sweet potato fries, which will be super impressive, and then chili which has ground beef and all the lovely ingredients that you want to see in chili. You'll put chili on top of the fries and then some avocado since avocado is always the greatest.
5 Too Weird: Chickpea Chili
The idea of making chili with chickpeas instead of traditional beans doesn't sound like the greatest thing ever. Some of us might love chickpeas and others aren't into them at all, but no matter how we feel about this ingredient, we can agree that this won't feel like chili.
Adding other ingredients such as cucumbers and black olives is just plain confusing. Veggies and chickpeas and olives seem like a flavor combination that we would find in a cold bean salad or a pasta salad, and that's totally fine on a summer day. But chickpeas don't belong on chili. They just don't.
4 Delicious: Triple Chocolate Beef And Bean Chili
This chili recipe from Saveur has us hooked from the title alone. Triple chocolate. Think about that slowly. Let it sink in. Three types of chocolate. Are we dreaming?!
The three kinds of chocolate that are used in this recipe are semisweet, cocoa powder, and a chocolate stout. This chili recipe is definitely a cool twist on the classic since it has beef chuck and pinto beans, plus the wonderful addition of a few different types of chocolate. We have a feeling that this would be our go-to chili recipe for a cold night or when we were craving both beef and chocolate (hey, it happens).
3 Too Weird: Greek Pork Chili
Green pork chili. No thank you. That's really all that comes to mind when we realize that there are recipes out there for chili that has pork and that has spices that aren't your typical chili powder and the like.
While we totally understand wanting to be different and create a spin on a traditional dish, there are times when you really have to say that traditional is the best. And when it comes to chili, we have to say that we love the classic. Give us canned tomatoes, spices, ground beef, beans, and toppings like shredded cheese and sour cream any day of the week. We really don't want pork to be in our chili.
2 Delicious: Chili "Cornbread" Casserole
Paleomg's recipe for Chili "Cornbread" Casserole has quotation marks around that word because it's a Paleo recipe and so the topping is made from a Paleo flour (Nuts.com Paleo Baking Flour in particular). It also has almond milk, ghee, honey, eggs, salt, and baking soda.
Look at the golden crust on that topping in this photo. Doesn't this look like something that we need to make? Exactly. Anyone who wants some comfort food but wants a healthier take on it will be more than okay with whipping this up. You'll make the topping and the chili using ground beef (but no beans), bell peppers, and spices, and be a happy chili-eating camper.
1 Too Weird: Hot Dog Chili Sauce
For some weird reason, people love to make chili (ground beef, tomatoes, spices -- the whole normal thing) and spoon it on top of hot dogs. In buns. With other toppings.
Although this is somehow an accepted thing to do, it really seems strange, and that's why this is the number one strangest thing that people have done to chili. When you make a pot of chili, do you want to put it on a hot dog? No. You want to eat it as, you know, chili. With the toppings that you adore, whether you're a cheese or sour cream (or both) person or you go for avocado and green onions.
It's winter and it's time to eat chili... and we're going to choose the delicious spins on this classic and ignore the weird twists.