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When it comes to meal prep, occasionally I have it in me to cook big batches of grains, protein and a bunch of different veggies for easy mix-and-match lunches. Other weeks, I can only muster enough time, energy and enthusiasm to throw together a single recipe. On those weeks—especially during colder months—I opt for delicious (and easy) chili recipes.
It’s a no-brainer, really. Chili is a pretty broad category, with any combination of veggies, beans, protein, grains and a whole lot of spices. It’s easy to pick a different recipe each time you make it, to keep from getting bored. Plus, once you have a good stock of spices and canned beans, you can throw together all kinds of chilis from a relatively short grocery list. The recipes below run the gamut from classic beef-and-bean chili to hearty vegan chili made with tender tofu. Some come together in the slow-cooker, while others cook on the stovetop. Most are tomato-based, but there are a few creamy options for anyone who prefers that flavor profile.
Generally, cooked chili will keep for up to four days in the fridge, and for several months in the freezer. Whip up a batch for Sunday lunch or dinner, then refrigerate or freeze the leftovers in single servings so you’ll always have a healthy homemade lunch ready to heat up at a moment’s notice!
1. Slow-Cooker Chili
The classic slow-cooker chili recipe literally everyone should know how to make.
2. Crock-Pot Creamy Enchilada Chili
Love enchiladas but don’t love putting together the whole casserole? Do everything in the Crock-Pot instead—no assembly required for this enchilada chili.
3. The Best Healthy Turkey Chili
This turkey chili will be your new favorite healthy lunch—trust me.
4. Rockin’ 5-Ingredient Sweet Potato Chili
This sweet potato chili requires minimal work for maximal flavor.
5. The Best Vegan Chili Ever
This vegan chili gets its meaty texture from tofu that’s been precooked with nutritional yeast.
6. Creamy Vegetarian White Chili
This creamy veggie-forward white chili is so full of flavor you won’t even have a chance to miss the meat.
7. Cheesy Vegetarian Chili Mac
This cheesy chili mac is an inexpensive lunch option that combines chili and macaroni, two classic comfort foods.
8. Pork Chili Verde
This herb-forward pork chili verde can be as mild or as spicy as you want it to be.
9. Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork Chili
Pulled-pork sandwiches are a little too messy for packed office lunch. Pulled-pork chili, on the other hand, is perfect.
10. Creamy White Chicken Chili
This rich and creamy white chicken chili has just enough cream cheese and half-and-half to bring it to the next level, but not so much that it’ll bring you into a midday food coma.
11. Slow-Cooker Jamaican Jerk Chicken Chili
This Jamaican jerk chicken chili packs a unique flavor profile, but plenty of familiar ingredients. Oh, and it calls for plantain chips. (Yum.)
12. One-Pot Pumpkin Quinoa Chili
This fall-themed pumpkin quinoa chili is packed with fiber and plant-based protein, thanks to the combination of quinoa, beans and pumpkin.
13. Sweet Potato and Kale Vegan Chili
This sweet potato and kale vegan chili is perfect for anyone who loves hearty sweet potatoes and slightly bitter kale.
A version of this story was originally published in December 2016.