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Good Winter Chili

Good Winter Chili

Lisa Kamolnick
A classic chili with Italian overtones. A blend of classic chili ingredients is complemented by mild Italian sausage and bell pepper. It’s a warm and hearty dish for a chilly winter’s day.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 cups


  • Slow Cooker


  • 1 ½ lb Mild Italian sausage or plant-based protein
  • ½ C (8 oz.) cooked black beans drained
  • ½ C (8 oz.) cooked pinto beans drained
  • ½ C (8 oz.) cooked cannelloni beans drained
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 small white or yellow onion chopped (about 1/2 C)
  • ¼ C green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp coarse ground salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 TBSP sweet basil dried or chopped
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes adjust to taste
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar dark or light, raw sugar ok
  • 16 oz tomato sauce
  • 15 oz diced tomato fresh or can
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 C water
  • Toppings
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Diced tomato
  • Diced onion


  • Cook sausage in pan on medium heat, drain, and place in large crockpot.
  • Add all other ingredients except cheese to crockpot and stir.
  • Best cooked on low setting about 4 or 5 hours, then set to warm or remove from heat. Will tolerate faster cooking on high setting. Can also be cooked on stovetop on medium to heat then on low setting to simmer, stirring occasionally.


vegetarian version
For my vegetarian version I use plant-based Italian sausage. It captures the flavors well, but the texture is a little different.
Serving Suggestions
Serve warm with desired toppings. Shredded cheddar and fresh diced tomato or onion work well. Combines well with a salad and a baguette or corn muffin.
Keyword American, beginner cook, chili, gluten free, Italian sausage, one-bowl meals, plant-based protein, vegan option, vegetarian option