There are those lazy days when I just want to kick back and relax. At those times, it’s either a hearty bowl of soup or warm bowl of chili that makes it perfect. One of my biggest rules when it comes to chili is that it should always be made with Ranch Style Beans. That is why you will always be greeted by a couple of cans of Ranch Style Beans in my pantry.
However, there was one time when I was craving a big bowl of chili after getting my rear kicked from work all day, and nearly let out a horror movie style scream when I opened my pantry door and saw no cans of Ranch Style Beans. I had forgotten to buy some while grocery shopping, but I did not give up and decided this would not be the end of my quest for a warm bowl of tasty chili.
Like any self-respecting sleuth, I scoured the internet and looked for a Ranch Style Beans substitute. Here is a handy list for those of you who are faced with the same culinary dilemma.
1. Ancho Chili
Ranch Style Beans have a distinct smoky flavour, which is one of the reasons why finding a substitute is difficult. However, ancho chilies can do a great job as an alternative. Ancho chilis are dried chili peppers that are extremely popular in Mexican and Midwestern dishes. Try them with your bowl of chili and you’ll find them a great substitute. You never know, might even use them forever.
If you don’t have access to ancho chili, then you can also try other dried chili peppers like poblanos. This will give your chili a little kick of sweetness and cut out some of the spiciness. Try looking for different dried chili varieties and mix and match, according to your preference.
2. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans (the red variety) will do the trick if you can’t find any Ranch Style Beans. Their taste is almost identical, and the consistency is practically the same. Choosing the right beans is very important to the success of your chili, so believe me when I tell you that red kidney beans won't fail you.
White kidney beans tend to get drowned by the intense flavor of the chili, so it is imperative that you get the red variety. Just remember that the darker beans work best.
3. Pick Some Fresh Tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes are very important if you plan to use them in your chili. If you just use plain tomato sauce, then you will run the risk of making your chili a bit too sweet. I could not begin to tell you how many bowls of chili I’ve had to say no to because of their overall sweetness. Perfectly ripe tomatoes provide the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity that make a hearty bowl of chilli irresistible.
4. Ketchup, Ketchup, And More Ketchup!
If for some reason, tomatoes are not available, then ketchup might just be the solution to your chili craving. However, using ketchup in your chili recipe can get a little tricky as just a normal
amount of sugar or sweetener will turn your meaty chili into a bowl of sweet mush.
So, when you’re using ketchup in the chili, put just a small amount of sweetener in and adjust it, based on your taste.
If you think that the fantastic chili you had for dinner was bold and smoky, then that could well be down to the oregano. So make sure that you find some good quality oregano if you want to make a good chili.
7. Taco Seasoning
If Ranch Style Beans are out, then try grabbing some taco seasoning instead. Most of these packaged lifesavers have chilies and oregano mixed in them, which makes them one of the best substitutes for Ranch Style Beans. I have had a lot of friends and acquaintances that use taco seasoning with their chili dishes and they confirm that it is indeed a good substitute.
You can also use packaged chili seasoning as it is almost the same thing. While it is great to use fresh ingredients, there are times when the packaged stuff works just as well.
The Low Down
Chili is something that helps me to kick back and relax after a particularly hard day. There is just something comforting about being swaddled in a blanket with a big bowl of creamy chili while watching my favorite soaps. It is a no fuss, messy, and easy to cook dish that makes it perfect for those lonely Saturday nights.
Ranch Style Beans are absolutely perfect for making chili. However, there are other substitute ingredients that work just as well. I love making lists like these to help budding cooks understand that cooking is all about discovering other ways to produce dishes. Sometimes, simple substitutions can both delight and surprise those who dare to be different.
If you like this article, please feel free to share my list with anyone you know who might be interested in our topic. Don’t forget to write your comments about this list in the space below, and enjoy those fantastic chili nights!