Chickpea and Swiss Chard Chili


As a cookbook author and test kitchen cook, I make it my business to learn as much as I can about the recipes I test and develop. I can easily spend hours a day researching the history of a dish or reaching out to experts in their field. I even scour popular blogs (and their comment sections) for whatever information might be useful.Along the way, especially in the comments, I'm often shocked at what I discover: unceasing aggression between people who have strong opinions on food and cooking. Opinions on everything from tomato sauce and puree to hard-boiled vs. hard-cooked eggs.I don't make it my business to argue with anyone—whether via email, on social media, or in the comments about what makes certain recipes what they are or should be. For instance, what makes a "chili" a "chili" and not just a stew? Some say it has to have meat and meat alone—such as Texas chili con carne—while others insist it must have beans. The quarrels can become quite heated, trust me. But I think it's safe to say that everyone more or less agrees that a chili must have chile peppers (or chili/chile powder). And I agree. So, I am pointing to the chipotles in this dish and calling it: This recipe is a chili. This smoky, rich chili is one of my go-to weeknight dinners, and for good reason. It's a one-pot dish that has 10 ingredients (not including salt and pepper) and comes together in just 30 minutes. Plus, you can make it a day or two in advance because it reheats beautifully. If that isn't enough, it's also relatively healthy—bacon adds plenty of smoky flavor, but also renders enough fat to cook the aromatics, that way there's no need for any additional oil.So, give this recipe a whirl—keeping your mind open to what "chili" really is—and remember to not read the comments.  Slideshow:  More Chili Recipes 

Chickpea and Swiss Chard Chili
Photo: © Eva Kolenko
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed 

  • 1 pound Swiss chard, leaves and stems chopped

  • 3 chipotles in adobo, minced

  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered, about 7 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, chickpeas, Swiss chard and chipotles and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the chili is thickened and the Swiss chard is wilted and just tender, about 8 minutes. Serve in bowls topped with shredded cheese.

Make Ahead

The chili can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently before serving.

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