Secret Ingredient for Chili: Peanut Butter

That's Nuts

A weekly dose of nutty history, pop culture, and recipes from Lee Zalben, aka The Peanut Butter Guy.


Flickr: little blue hen

If you're having a lot of friends and family over to watch the Super Bowl, there's a good chance you'll be hosting at least a vegetarian or two. Amid all of the buffalo wings and pork rinds, you might be struggling to find a hearty meal to serve the meatless crew.

Vegetarian chili (or vegan chili if you don't sprinkle cheese on top) is a fun, flavorful dish that's easy to whip up in a hurry with very few exotic or expensive ingredients. Well, some might consider peanut butter a little exotic.

And to pack some extra flavor and protein in this dish, try adding some peanut butter!

Peanut butter in chili? Before you tut-tut, you must realize that it's had a long history as the "secret ingredient" in many an award-winning chili recipe.

The great thing about this recipe is that it's easy to improvise. Don't like black beans? Double up on the white beans. Don't like it too spicy? Cut back on the red pepper flakes. Don't like corn? Try a can of chickpeas.

For a full-bodied chili with a punch of peanut flavor, use the full amount in the recipe (1/2 cup). To add some nutty flavor but keep its origin a mystery, try 1/4 cup instead.

Have you ever made chili with peanut butter? Or do you use peanut butter as a secret ingredient in another savory dish?