Make this Gluten Free Slow Cooker Sweet Pepper Chili ahead of time for a healthy vegetarian meal to counterbalance all those Fall treats!
Why hello! Have you awakened from your sugar induced coma that probably started a good two weeks before Halloween even came???
Yeah, me too.
I could sit here and write a post about how to use all that “leftover Halloween candy” to make some delicious cookie bar, brownie, cupcake, milkshake, you name it. But, let’s face the facts here people:
- There is NO “leftover candy” yet. That would imply that my kids are over eating the plain candy. And clearly they are NOT.
- Why go through the trouble to waste time and ingredients making brownies or cookies when my children will most certainly gravitate to their buckets of candy for their one dessert pick after dinner instead of my homemade treat anyway?
- We’re in Hawaii so most chocolate melts if you don’t put it in the fridge. Therefore, most of my kiddos stash consists of suckers, Skittles, Twizzlers (NOT gluten free) and Starbursts; not the most conducive ingredients for baked goods.
So how about give me at least another week before I start throwing “leftover candy” into my batters and let’s just relish in the simple goodness of a plain old candy bar all by its lonesome. Because ain’t nothin’ better than a crisp and crunchy fun-size Butterfinger or a sweet and salty pumpkin-shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (we all know the holiday-shaped ones are better than the originals…WHY???).
With all that said, I figured you might appreciate something quick to prepare, low maintenance, healthy and meatless. How does that sound?!
Oh, and how can I forget my favorite catch phrase, “Full of FLAVOR”!
I brought this Gluten Free Slow Cooker Sweet Pepper Chili to a Halloween potluck party at our church and I’m happy to say that the pot was scooped clean. I would say that it was licked clean, but that would be super weird and unsanitary for somebody to do at a party. Plus they would burn their tongue on the Crock-Pot. So scooping it clean is the next best thing you can do!
This chili is a little more fancy than you would think, living here in Hawaii. You see, bell peppers are $5.99 a pound on the island. Say WHAT?! I know, insane, right?! There is no stinking way I am spending that kind of money on bell peppers.
That is why Costco is my dear friend. You can buy dairy and produce for a much more reasonable price than in the grocery stores. And since my kiddos love bell peppers, I always buy a mondo sized bag of them at Costco for munching on and cooking with.
My kids and I can’t quite eat them fast enough before the bag starts to go bad, so before those babies start wilting, I throw them into some kind of meal. And this time? It just so happened to be chili.
Let me pause right here and spend a moment declaring my LOVE for chili. Really, I love chili, post farts and all. Sorry, I mean toots. We don’t say “fart” in this house. According to Braelyn it’s “the F word”. Haha!
Actually, the other day she told me she knew how to spell “the bad S word”. Uh-oh. She then proceeded, “S-T-U-P-I-D!” Phew! But then she exclaims, “But I also know how to spell the other ‘S word’. The really bad one. S-H-U-T…U-P!” Phew again!
I guess there is still some innocence left in her sassy self.
But this chili. Back to chili. It definitely falls into my top three favorite chilis. I love it because it has this sweet factor to it. Aside from the sweet mini bell peppers, the chili has 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup which gives it this sweet, subtly smokey flavor. It’s a Fall chili for sure. And speaking of smokey, it has a bit of liquid smoke in it that pairs so nicely with the sweet and spicy combo.
Now I used all fresh veggies in this chili, including tomatoes, since I had them on hand, but you can definitely opt for canned tomatoes if you prefer. You would probably need 2 cans of diced tomatoes for a substitute.
And feel free to use whichever beans you prefer. I like my chilis to have a variety of beans. Some of my favorites for chili are black, pinto, northern, kidney, and cannellini beans. Use whatever you have on hand. Remember, this recipe is supposed to be EASY.
The red wine vinegar is a must in this chili. It yields a minor tang and adds that extra depth of flavor that all chilis need. I feel like a lot of chili is so one-toned in flavor, and this is NOT one of those. Between the sweet maple syrup, smokey liquid smoke, spicy chili powder, tangy vinegar and mustard, and salty Worcestershire sauce…we’ve got all areas of your palate covered here.
So make this one pot, slow cooker meal for your next “meatless Monday”, potluck gathering, or just for yourself. It’s sure to be a winner in ease and flavor. And you won’t feel guilty sneaking some candy afterwards.
What do you do with your “leftover candy”?
- 3 cups grape tomatoes, quartered*
- 3 cups diced sweet peppers (red, yellow, orange)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 can BUSH'S pinto beans
- 1 can BUSH'S kidney beans
- 1 can BUSH'S black beans
- 1 small can tomato paste
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1½ teaspoon cumin
- 1½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1-1½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon liquid smoke
- 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- Dice tomatoes, peppers, and onion. Dump into slow cooker.
- Rinse and drain all beans. Pour beans into slow cooker.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, garlic, maple syrup, mustard, pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, and liquid smoke until smooth. Pour sauce over bean and veggie mixture. Stir until well coated.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- Before serving, add corn and stir. Allow kernels to warm through. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with desired toppings.