Five-Bean Chili with Cheesy Corn Bread Croutons

I love traditions.  Especially Christmas traditions.  One of my favorite traditions that Big Guy and I started several years ago is one of my favorites.

We take the Monday after Thanksgiving off work so that we have the entire day to decorate and get into the Christmas spirit.  We had one year where decorated seemed like a chore and that was one year too many.  By taking off work, we slow down and really enjoy the process.

Along with decorating, I typically put together a soup or chili or stew for us to enjoy tree-side while we sip a glass of wine and watch Elf.

This year was no different.

And after the rainy Monday we had, nothing sounded more delicious than chili.  So after all the lights had been put up and our house was sprinkled with Christmas cheer, I started on our Five-Bean Chili with Cheesy Corn Bread Croutons.

This chili may be lacking meat but it definitely isn’t lacking in flavor.   The five types of beans make this chili incredibly hearty and filling.  And the only change I made to this recipe was using a mix of spinach and kale instead of just kale and using fire-roasted diced tomatoes instead of regular-ole diced tomatoes.

The punch of flavor comes from the garlic, onions, tomato paste, fire-roasted tomatoes, oregano, chili powder, smoked paprika and jalapeno.  We both loved the addition of chopped carrots – an unusual ingredient to us in chili.

As for the croutons – holy moly – they’re so good!

A basic cornbread batter is made (I used gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose) and then baked.  After it cools, the cornbread is cut into cubes and then baked again to make croutons.

Corn bread pairs perfectly was chili but even more perfectly when made into cute croutons.

This recipe makes quite a lot of chili – which is perfect, because the leftovers will only get better as the flavors meld together.

Do you have any favorite Christmas traditions?

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