Two-Way Three-Bean Chili

Three-Bean Chili

Two-Way Three-Bean Chili

For Super Bowl, we usually make chili. It’s our tradition, even though we don’t have a Super Bowl party and barely watch the game.

We made this chili recipe on Super Bowl Sunday. A rare thing happened. Almost as rare as seeing the Chicago Bears play in the championship. Both girls ate their whole meal and didn’t complain at all. That’s a huge victory, as there’s usually fussing over dinner.

We’re not big meat eaters, so we usually make a vegetarian chili loaded with an assortment of hearty, healthy beans, tomatoes and spices. Any combination of beans works well.

Just before I add the spicy seasonings, I remove a portion for the kids in a separate pot, so they get their own mild chili. The adults get the spicy version, with smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (Find canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store.) Thus, I’ve dubbed it two-way chili.

Now, if you know anything about Cincinnati chili, you know that two-way chili means something totally different. But I live in Chicago, not Cincinnati, so that’s not what I’m referring to.

For the record, Cincinnati chili is a saucy, meaty chili with unusual flavors of cinnamon and chocolate. Two-way Cincinnati chili consists of spaghetti topped with chili. Three-way chili is spaghetti, chili and shredded cheese. Four-way is spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese and diced onions. Five-way is spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese, diced onions and beans.

To make the Gluten-Free Nosh Two-Way Three-Bean Chili even more kid friendly, set out a few ramekins with a selection of garnishes. My kids love choosing their own toppings. It makes them feel more vested in the meal and more likely to eat it.

For a Cincinnati touch, serve the chili over gluten-free spaghetti. A guaranteed victory!

Two-Way Three-Bean Chili

(Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Parve, Kid-Friendly)

By Gluten-Free Nosh

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped
3 15-ounce cans beans (mix of red kidney, black, cannellini), drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (from a can), finely chopped
1 10-ounce package gluten-free spaghetti


Shredded cheese
Diced onion
Chopped cilantro
Diced avocado
Sour cream


  1. Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add celery and bell pepper, and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 more minutes.
  2. Add beans, crushed tomatoes, water, oregano, thyme and salt. Stir well and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium low.
  3. Remove about 3 cups of mixture and place in separate small saucepan. This is the mild kid version. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. In the large pot, add chili powder, cumin and chipotle peppers. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  5. Cook gluten-free spaghetti according to package directions, drain and transfer to individual serving bowls. Ladle chili over spaghetti. Serve with a selection of garnishes.

Yields: About 3 mild kid servings, and 7 spicy grown-up servings.



Filed under soups/chili

6 responses to “Two-Way Three-Bean Chili

  1. Heather


    I lived in Cincinnati while in high school but now I live in California and I do miss my “Skyline” chili, thanks for the recipe, I want to race home and make it tonight!

    – Friend of Christine


    • Heather,
      Thanks for your comment! I have to warn you, though. I used the name “two-way chili” tongue-in-cheek — this recipe is definitely not two-way Cincinnati chili. It’s a vegetarian, bean-based chili, and my two-ways refers to spicy and non-spicy versions. So it’s not the meaty, chocolate- and cinnamon-flavored Cincinnati chili that Skyline chili does so well.

      While we’re talking about Cincinnati, how about that Graeter’s ice cream? Yum! Thanks for reading!



      • Heather


        Can you re-create the “skyline version” too? Glad to have your blog, been gluten free for 7 years and my spouse isn’t, but as long as it taste good, he doesn’t complain and is happy to go along with my gluten free meals at home.
        Btw, if you ever go to Asheville, NC – take your daughter to Posana, it rocks! Ah, Graeter’s – miss it….alot! They deliver though. 🙂


  2. lisa tatar kuznetsky

    So glad you got a blog started for those of us who could use some creative ways of cooking gluten-free. Don’t know what I’d do without corn tortillas! We wrap all kinds of foods from sweet to some heat in them.


    • Lisa,
      You’re right. Corn tortillas double as hot dog buns, pizza crusts, sandwich wraps and so much more. Plus, they are cheap! Just be sure to warm them slightly before using to make them pliable.

      Thanks for reading!


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