Warm and hearty, this thick chili recipe is perfect for a chilly evening meal or as a topping on a summer BBQ hot dog and fries. It is Top 8 Allergen Friendly chili and gluten free as well.
WE know Gluten Free, Dairy free, and Top 8 Allergens. Here at TheAllergenFreeKitchen.com we have 4 kids with food allergies and a condition called EoE (an allergic oesophagus). This means we HAVE to find safe alternatives to common allergens and make them taste great so kids will eat them!
The smell of the chili bubbling away after school brought joy as a child and the ease of making a big pot of it for many meals brings happiness to me now as a parent. This thick chili recipe is a favourite of our kids, so much so for some of them they could eat this chili everyday. For us parents we are happy as we can snake a bunch of foods they would never eat on their own into the mix.
This recipe is rife with veggies, beans, and flavour without the heat that kids often cannot handle, and some of us adults. We have made many chili recipes in our day but this is the one we perfected by having it all the time in the cold winter months.
Ground beef- Make sure to drain this really well as no one wants a greasy chili.
Spices- one area people often forget to check for allergens is in their spices. We grow most of our herbs year round in an indoor garden. That way we know they are safe. Some, however, we don't or cannot grow so finding a source you trust and have vetted is key.
Adaptations and substitutions
If beef or spicy sausage is not your deal any ground meat can be used. If the meat is lean like turkey, venison, or buffalo, add a bit of olive oil to the pan so it doesn't stick while browning.
For a vegan or vegetarian version. Ground meat alternative cane be used however, they often contain soy or wheat. Cook the veggie ground round as directed on the package to brown. The chicken stock will need to be replaced with vegetable broth.
Adding various kinds of beans is also a great alternative to meat. Chickpeas, white beans, navy beans, or black beans all work well in this recipe. We often use them instead of kidney beans for a change.
Corn can be added from canned whole niblets, or frozen ones.
Roasted peppers also give a wonderful taste to the chili when added with the canned tomatoes.
To spice the thick chili recipe up, a can of chilis in adobo sauce is a wonderful option, if they are safe for you. Topping the meal with fresh diced jalapenos is always a crowd pleaser, and great option at a party buffet for toppings. A few dashes of allergen friendly hot sauce or cayenne pepper to your liking is a sure way to bring heat quickly to the chili. Lastly, using hot italian sausage meat out of the casing is a winner to add heat as well.
How to Make this Beef and Bean Chili
First chop up all the veggies to a small to medium dice. You want to have a smattering of the ingredients in each spoonful. Keep that in mind when chopping everything up. The thickness of this chili comes from the loads of ingredients. Items like canned mushrooms, celery, kidney or black beans, Tomato sauce and more.
Simmering everything for at least 20 mins will evaporate some of the liquid off the recipe. While the beans bubble away they will let off starches to thicken the chili into a hearty meal. When simmering is finished, give the chili a good stir to mix in the liquid that rises. This helps to maintain the thickness of this thick chili recipe.
How to Store and Reheat
Reheating the allergen safe chili
A quick and easy recipe, it can be done easily by beginners and pros a like. It takes about an hour with all the chopping and dicing. You can prep it a few days in advance on a day off and spend 30 mins cooking it after work one night. This recipe re-heats insanely well and shouldn't be eaten cold.
We add a bit of water or stock to bring a bit of liquid to the chili. The stove top to warm it back up to a bubble is our preferred method of reheating. Remember to always to get a food safe temperature before eating.
The chili is going to splatter in the microwave, if you have a microwave safe splatter dome it would be best to use it. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the chili in a microwavable bowl. Heat for 1.5 - 2 mins and then stir. If not warmed through continue to cook for another 45 seconds and then stir well, checking if it is heated all the way though. Repeat as needed until the chili is at a safe temperature.
Storing the thick chili
Using a ladle to help portion properly before freezing allows us to know how amny servings are in each container and how many we need to thaw for dinner. That way we know exactly how many we need to pull out the night before. This is especially helpful if not all the kids will be eating together or if they want different meals. If the chili has been frozen it should not be re-frozen a second time. The chili may stain the containers, if they are plastic.
In food safe storage containers this allergen friendly chili recipe will keep for 72 hours, chilled.
Freezing for 3 months in a freezer helps us have hearty meals on busy nights. We freeze this thick chili recipe in a few 2-3 portion containers. The night before we bring the beef and bean chili out to thaw.
This Thick Chili Recipe Makes a Great School Lunch Idea
Sandwiches are not a huge lunch staple for our kids. However, we do send leftovers of the chili in thermoses. The key is to pre-warm them by pouring in boiling water to the container. Re-heating the chili on the stove tends to keep it way hotter in a thermos than microwaving it. What is better than knowing the kids have a nice home cooked meal for lunch at school?!
It also has worked well when we have to power from one child’s activity to the other. The allergies our family faces means we cannot stop for a quick burger at a fast food place. It can make us a bit jealous of most families who eat on the fly. Instead we plan ahead and pack meals. This thick chili recipe perfect taking to soccer to eat while cheering on a sibling.
Other Ways to Use Chili
Making air fryer chips/French Fries? Why not top them with a scoop of beef and bean chili and a sprinkling of vegan cheese! Homemade chilli cheese fries or a safe hot dog or sausage on an allergen safe bun (for us the Little Northern Bakehouse ones are safe) just like at the baseball games use this recipe for thick chili. Turning one meal into a few others with a bit of a twist to keep meals fun and tasty. We often make our leftovers this way. Eating out isn't safe for us and we crave those treats we used to get every now and again.
What to Serve With This Recipe for Thick Chili
The beef and bean chili is so thick and packed with protein it really doesn't need anything else with it. A good gluten free bread roll or salad makes the perfect side dish for this recipe for thick chili. We love to serve this thick chili recipe with a salad for dinner, like this fig and kale salad.
Garnishes that are always a crowd favourite are vegan shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, or diced jalapenos
Other Recipes You May Like
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- ½ Lbs spicy sausage cut from casing or bought loose Gf and top 8 allergen free verified
- 3 lbs lean ground beef
- 3 ribs celery
- 1 large white onion medium diced
- 1 red bell pepper medium diced
- 6 garlic cloves minced fine
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves leaves removed from stems.
- 2 Tbsps ground chilli powder
- 2 Tbsps ground cumin
- 2 Tbsps smoked paprika
- 1 dash of cayenne optional (for the kids we omit this)
- 1 L low sodium chicken stock
- 28 oz of diced tomatoes canned
- 16 oz tomato sauce canned or homemade
- 14 oz kidney beans canned or rehydrated from dry (drained and rinsed)
- 8 medium halved and thinly sliced fresh button mushrooms or one 10-14 oz can of mushrooms drained
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large stock pot on medium to high heat, sautée loose sausage meat until cooked through fully and set aside. Leave some of the fat in the pot to cook the beef and add flavour to it. (The rest of the fat not used to cook with should be drained.)
- Add beef in the large pot with the sausage fat used to flavour and help brown the beef. Cook beef on medium to high heat until browned and well cooked through. Drain all the fat out from the sausage and beef, keeping the beef in the pot.
- Turn down heat to medium. Add in celery, onion, garlic and red bell pepper and saute until onion is translucent, about 4 mins stirring.
- Add reserved cooked sausage meat back to the pot.
- Stir in spices and cook for 1 minute.
- Turn heat up to medium-high and pour in chicken stock, both diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stirring to combine all ingredients.
- Once the pot is at a light boil turn down to simmer and add kidney beans and mushrooms.
- Let simmer uncovered for 30 mins. If the chili is not reduced and appears watery, give it a good stir and give it a bit more time, add 5 mins.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.