This post is sponsored by iHerb. All views expressed are my own.
I’ve lots of go-to meals for busy weeknights thanks to a well-stocked pantry. It makes all my summer canning efforts worth it when I need to pull a jar of homemade marinara sauce off the basement shelves, and put up a pot of boiling water to cook some pasta. There are some things that I can’t make, though, and have to rely on the grocery store to buy. This whole other realm of pantry staples is invaluable when it comes to dinner prep. I know a lot of you do shopping online, including groceries, and that was the main reason I decided to partner with iHerb on this recipe. We all lead busy lives, and the convenience of one stop shopping, delivered to your door is one I can appreciate, especially living in a rural area.
The first idea that came to mind for this collaboration was one of my girls’ all-time favorite dishes—Smoky Bean & Corn Chili. In it’s humblest form, it’s a can of this, can of that meal. I know, sounds crazy for the girl who cooks everything from scratch but canned beans have saved my dinner plan on many a night. This chili really shines, though, when you’ve got time to cook the beans from scratch. I tend to make a big pot of beans once a week. Whatever doesn’t get used, gets frozen, a gift for which future me is always thankful.
Why cook dried beans when canned beans are so convenient?
One word: flavor. As with any dried ingredient that needs hydration (think pasta), the only time to truly infuse flavor into beans is during the cooking process. iHerb carries a good selection of dried beans from many brands. In fact, iHerb carries over 5,000 grocery products that can be shipped to over 150 countries, and their customer service team provides support in 10 languages.
I decided to go with the Bob’s Red Mill pinto beans because I really love their ingredients as a whole. A few simple additions—water, olive oil, onion, garlic, salt, and bay leaf, and your on your way to the best beans ever. Incidentally, iHerb has an amazing selection of spices, and I was happily surprised at their competitive prices for olive oil.
I especially loved how thoughtfully everything was packaged. The olive oil and salsa was bubble-wrapped to keep the glass protected, and then secured inside a ziptop bag. Unlike some mail order services that use ridiculously huge boxes for shipping, my iHerb package was compact, using a perfectly sized box without excess filler inside.
The aromatic broth from cooking the dried beans also infuses extra flavor into your chili. Once they’re cooked, all you need to do is add jarred salsa (fresh will not work here!), smoked paprika, cumin, and corn kernels to the pot. That’s it, no joke.
If you’re a meal planner, the beans can be cooked on the weekend, making for a dinner so quick and easy the kids can cook it. Another bonus is the one-pot meal nature of this dish. Once the beans are cooked, you add the rest of the ingredients right to the pot.
This Smoky Bean & Corn Chili is filling, flavorful, and vegan, which always kind of surprises me when I remember that little tidbit. It packs enough heft so you’ll never miss the meat, and be thankful for a healthier dinner option. The kids love eating it with crumpled tortillas chips and shredded cheddar cheese, obviously not vegan, but this is optional. Leftovers are perfect to pack in thermoses for school lunch, and any time I can shave a few minutes off my morning routine it’s a win-win.
iHerb is extending a special offer for Readers of In Jennie’s Kitchen. All customers get a discount off their iHerb order and New Customers can get an additional $5 off their minimum $40 order by clicking here (be sure to use this link for your special discount).
Smoky Corn & Bean Chili
- 1 cup (200 grams) dry pinto beans
- Medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (16-ounce | 454 grams) jar salsa
- ¾ cup (80 grams) corn kernels, frozen or fresh
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Optional toppings: sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese
- Rinse and pick over the beans. Add them to a pot with 4 cups (1L) water, the onion, garlic, salt, olive oil, and bay leaf. Bring a to boil, uncovered, then reduce to a vigorous simmer. Cook until beans are tender but still retain some bite, about 1 hour. (This step can be prepared up to 3 days in advance, and stored in the fridge until ready to proceed.)
- Remove and discard the bay leaf, onion, and garlic cloves from the pot of beans. You should have 2 ¼ cups (560 grams) of cooked beans.
- Add the salsa, corn, cumin, and paprika to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, Reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes until the chili thickens up. Serve hot with optional toppings, if desired.