The $5 Can of Chili I Stock in My Pantry All Winter Long (It Might Be Better than Homemade)

<span>Credit: Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock</span> <span class="copyright">Credit: Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock</span>
Credit: Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock Credit: Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock

Winter is soup season, and chili is one of my favorite soup-adjacent dishes. It’s thicker, heartier, bean-ier, and (in my house) cheesier than most broth-based soups, and I just can’t get enough when it’s cold outside. While I love spending the afternoon simmering my own vat of chili on a slow-moving weekend, I often don’t have the luxury of time that it takes to really develop the rich, savory flavors of a well-made batch.

That’s why I’m always reaching for Amy’s Organic Medium Chili at dinnertime between the months of November and March. It’s a vegetarian meal that’s hot and ready in minutes, accommodates my many toppings, and always warms me right up.

Amy's Medium Organic Chili
Credit: Lizzy Briskin Credit: Lizzy Briskin

What’s So Great About Amy’s Organic Medium Chili?

Amy’s makes exclusively vegetarian products that never skimp on flavor or fillings. Although I love a beefy chili recipe, this meat-free take is just as satisfying and has a gentle kick. The chili is made with red beans, which are a chili must-have in my book. But the secret to the thick, hearty texture is tofu.

Amy's Medium Organic Chili
Credit: Lizzy Briskin Credit: Lizzy Briskin

What’s the Best Way to Serve Amy’s Organic Medium Chili?

Although the chili is delicious on its own, simply heated in the microwave or on the stove, I’m a toppings gal, so I always approach a bowl of chili as a blank canvas. I serve Amy’s vegetarian chili with dollops of sour cream, a sprinkle of shredded sharp cheddar (I love Organic Valley’s thick-cut version), and chopped fresh cilantro. The herb finisher makes my soup feel homemade and adds a pop of freshness. If I have either, I’ll add a squeeze of lime juice for an extra pop of acidity or a handful of crushed tortilla chips.

I’ve also been known to turn this can into a sauce for the ultimate sheet-pan nachos. The key to building a great platter of nachos is to make layers, so I start with a bed of super-fresh tortilla chips (my favorite are the extra-thick tortilla chips from Somos, which resist sogginess better than most), then I add a generous layer of Amy’s chili, shredded cheese, and pickled jalapeños.

I top this with a second (and sometimes a third!) layer of chips and toppings, then bake my masterpiece until the cheese melts enough to hold everything together. Before serving, you can bet I’m adding more toppings, this time the fluffy, gooey stuff that I don’t want to smush: sour cream, salsa, and guacamole, plus a sprinkle of cilantro. Now you have a fun pull-apart dinner or a fully loaded party appetizer.

Buy: Amy’s Organic Medium Chili, $5.50 for 14.7 ounces at Kroger

What canned staples are you breaking out this winter? Tell us about it in the comments below.