Chili is the perfect fall food. It is warm in both temperature and spice, which provides a nice refuge from the impending cold weather. Maybe this is why it is considered comfort food. When you think about how astonishingly little effort it takes to make chili is, not to mention its versatility, it seems like a great dish to serve your family after a long day. You can make it vegan or paleo or keto with a simple switch of ingredients, all without losing a hint of flavor. But does it make a full meal?
Just eating chili by the spoonful is great, but as a side dish, it can be even better. Depending on what you would like to complement your thick stew, you could add more flavors, textures, and even vary up the temperature a bit. Regional chili variations already have this covered. In the southwest, you might find chili sitting on a bed of corn chips. In Cincinnati, you'd find it on a bed of spaghetti. Bread is a popular choice for sopping up the final few drops left in your bowl, or, on the other side, you could cleanse your palette with a crisp salad.
We went through some of our favorite food blogs to see what the experts were serving with their delicious pots of chili.
Pomegranate Orange Salad
Straight from Chelsea's Messy Apron, we have a light pomegranate orange salad, which makes a great side dish. All of its ingredients come together with an easy orange vinaigrette dressing.
Sweet Vegan Cornbread
Of course, we had to include a version of the Southern staple, and you can’t get much better than this fresh vegan cornbread from Faith Food Fitness. The key is replacing eggs with applesauce—who knew?
Chili and Cornbread Waffles
While most of the recipes here can be made independent from chili, Steph at I Am A Food Blog centered her brunch around the dish. Can you really go wrong serving chili on a base of cornbread fried in the waffle maker?
Wedge Salad With Blue Cheese Dressing and a Sweet Balsamic Reduction
This wedge salad from Carlsbad Cravings has expertly executed flavors and textures. This side dish with leave you satisfied, and it's the perfect contrast to a bowl of spicy chili.
Given the simplicity of this bread from Half-Baked Harvest (it needs only five ingredients), you may very well opt to bake it over and over again. It's a bread recipe you can't mess up.
To make this easy vegan coleslaw from Minimalist Baker, simply replace your typical dairy-laden sauce with cashews. The nuts are blended with maple syrup, vinegar, celery salt, mustard, and onion for a classic coleslaw dressing that’s mayo- and oil-free.
Apple Chili Biscuits
You can incorporate more heat into your side with these apple chili biscuits from Hola Jalapeno. They contain a spoonful of chili powder which plays nicely with the sweet apples.
Winter Fruit Salad With a Honey Lime Poppy Seed Dressing
Balance your meal with a heaping of fruit. This winter fruit salad recipe from Carlsbad Cravings is a crowd-pleaser. The variety of fruit is wonderful by itself, but the sweet and tangy honey-lime poppyseed vinaigrette really brings it home.