Kristine Kidd

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Two Bean and Sausage Chili
Cooking from the Cupboard

Here’s an easy, robust, and even healthful gluten-free chili to make any evening you’re tight on time. I came up with it right after we returned from a few days of glorious, but very cold, hiking in Yosemite. I was busy catching up after our trip, and didn’t have time to get to a grocery store, so I trolled my cupboard and refrigerator to make dinner.

I enjoy the game of creating dishes with ingredients I have on hand, and the key is a well-stocked cupboard. Besides onions, a favorite extra-virgin olive oil, and an array of spices, I always have canned beans, canned tomatoes, and flavor-packed gluten-free sausages.

Canned beans are a must. There are many varieties, and they can be turned into a world of satisfying dishes: Tex-Mex chilies like this one, comforting Italian or French soups, Mediterranean salads, practically instant Middle Eastern dips, zesty Mexican tostadas, savory Indian dhals, and so much more. If I don’t have the bean that is customarily used in a dish, I’ll try a nontraditional combination, and I often end up with an exciting new recipe I’ll make over and over.

Canned tomatoes are another staple I am never without. Organic diced for almost everything, diced and fire roasted with green chiles (found at Trader Joe’s) for instant spiciness, and San Marzano for pastas,

Sausages can offer great taste and a little extra substance to mostly meatless soups, stews, pastas, and chilies. I am particularly fond of Aidell’s Habanero and Green Chile sausage, made with smoked chicken, and Aidells’ Organic Cajun Style Andouille. They are both gluten free, of course.

For this chili I used the red and white kidney beans I had, but I could have replaced them with black beans, pintos, or cannellini. I found two Habanero & Green Chile sausages in the freezer, then submerged them (sealed in a plastic bag) in a bowl of cold water for quick defrosting. Andouille sausage would have been unconventional, but good too. If I hadn’t had the slightly spicy fire roasted tomatoes, I would have used what I had and increased the amount of red pepper flakes or ancho chili powder.

Stock up on sausages, canned beans, and canned tomatoes so you’ll be able to enjoy this hearty chili—or your own variation—whenever you haven’t planned a meal but want to come straight home at the end of the day.

Two Bean and Sausage Chili

Kristine Kidd
Makes 4 to 6 servings



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sausages such as Habanero and Green Chile, about 6 oz total, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili power, especially ancho chili powder
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 15- oz can organic kidney beans, with liquid
  • 1 15 oz can organic white kidney beans, with liquid
  • 2 14.5- oz cans diced and fired roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • cups water, or more as needed

Yogurt topping

  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • teaspoons grated lime zest
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • For the Chili: Heat the oil in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, sprinkle with salt and pepper and sautéed until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the sausages and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, chili powder, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in both cans of beans with their liquid, tomatoes, and 1½ cups water.
  • Bring the chili to a boil. Reduce the heat so the mixture simmers, and cook until it thickens and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Thin with additional water if the chili is too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the Topping: Combine the yogurt, lime juice, and lime zest in a small bowl and mix to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon the chili into bowls. Top each with a dollop of the yogurt topping and serve.
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