Worth Sharing: Pythagorean Chili

Published Sep 17, 2012 (12 years ago)
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The last modifications of this post were around 12 years ago, some information may be outdated!

Chili starting to cook My wife gets credit for getting this recipe started, though she won't take it for some reason. 8^D This weekend we made some chili and we've finally finalized our hopefully famous "pythagorean" chili (5 different types of beans, 12 different cans, 13 dimensions of flavor) and I had to pass it along. Don't worry the "5" doesn't mean five alarm, but you can make it that way if needs be. This recipe will easily feed 8 people, and you might have a few leftovers for the next day as well! Our "5-12" chili gets it's name from the fact that we use 5 different types of beans and 12 cans worth of ingredients. It also helped me remember exactly how we were making it 8^D I realize some of the "chili heads" out there might ran on the fact that it isn't really from scratch, but hey, it tastes great and can be a easy dinner. 8^D


  • 2 cans "ranch style" beans
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil (you can use extra virgin olive oil as well)


  1. Open all of your cans first. Once things start cooking you need to start dumping quickly and don't want to wait on the can opener.
  2. Put the oil into a large pot and heat it on medium high heat. Make sure it is good and hot.
  3. Add the garlic. You should hear a nice sizzle and get a bit of that garlic smell going. Saute for a minute or so until they start to turn golden brown.
  4. Add the onion. Now the smell is really getting good! Saute the onions and garlic for another minute or so until the onions start to soften up and look translucent.
  5. Now start adding all the cans. You need to keep an eye on the amount of liquid going into the pot so that the chili isn't too watery at the end. Typically I add one can of each item, stir well, and then evaluate how things are looking. I'll then take the most "runny" cans (like the kidney beans and pinto beans) and drain the liquid out of them before dumping them in. The only exception to this is the diced tomatoes, which I keep the liquid for both cans, because you want the seasoning from those. Adjust as you see fit.
  6. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for an hour. Stir every 10 minutes or so to make sure the beans at the bottom don't stick and all the flavors continue to merge together.
  7. Serve hot and tasty!


Like most of our recipes, we like to tweak them out to various degrees depending on our mood. This chili recipe is very friendly to tweaking. Here are a few options.

Garnish Typically we save a few of the diced onions from going into the pot and garnish the top of each bowl with it and some shredded sharp cheddar cheese. I also like to mix in a bit of hot sauce (Cholula or Chipotle Tobasco) in my bowl for some extra kick.

Sides We typically like to make up some cornbread with our chili. While hot, we melt a little butter and honey on each slide of bread and then chow down!

Texas Straw Hats This is what they always called it at my elementary school and it always stuck with me. At the bottom of your chili bowl, put a healthy later of Fritos corn chips. Then put the chili on top of this. Garnish with cheese, onion, or whatever you like. Sometimes I like to mix it all together, sometimes I like the "layered" approach to eating. Regardless it is great!

Meat While this is a meatless chili, you could easily brown up a couple pounds of ground beef/turkey/chicken and toss that in towards the end of the simmering time as well.

Five Alarm Since most of the family isn't into the hot chili, we leave all the spice out of it. However, if I were to make a five alarm chili, I'd grab me a bottle of "Dave's Insanity Sauce" and slowly add a drop or two of it about half way through cooking. WARNING: I kid you not when I say that this sauce is INSANELY hot. Make sure to only add a drop or two, stir really well, and then taste it before adding more. There you have it! Our 5-12 chili. The other great thing about this recipe is that it is gluten free, for those of you that are concerned with that. If you do use a different brand than what we have listed above, make sure to check the ingredients to verify they are gluten free.

Chili with cornbread

Enjoy! Let me know if you have any other garnishes to add to it 8^D.