The Reason You Should Start Adding Oatmeal To Your Chili

When it comes to making and eating chili, most people have their favorite recipe. This hearty comfort food — usually made with some combination of beans, ground beef, diced onions, tomatoes, and lots of spices — is delightful to eat as a side to a grilled cheese or as a main meal, especially in the colder months. Although the weather may influence when you fancy reaching for a bowl of chili, this dish always has a place at the table because it's so versatile.

Classic recipes may call for specific ingredients, but chili can be made in a myriad of ways, including adding more vegetables, adding in a mix of beans including pinto and black beans, using ground turkey or chicken instead of beef, or eliminating animal protein altogether and making a vegetarian version. If you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and tinkering with recipes, it's likely you've made several different versions of this hearty dish and may have tried unique combinations. But there is one ingredient that maybe you haven't considered yet that can actually give this dish a nutritional boost.

There are a few reasons why you should add oatmeal in chili

Everyone has their "secret" ingredient that makes their chili stand out — for some, it's a dash of sugar to balance out the savory notes and others add peanut butter to make the dish extra creamy. But oatmeal? Before you say no way, there are a couple reasons why it's worth considering adding oatmeal as an ingredient in your chili. 

Not only will oats add a nice texture to your next bowl, it's also good for you because the grain packs in a lot of nutrition, including plenty of fiber, according to an article in PopSugar. You can use oatmeal as a healthier substitute for flour or cornstarch, which are often used as thickening agents — and the article swears by the fact that the final dish won't actually taste like breakfast since the super absorbent oats simply pick up the flavors of chili. 

Different recipes will need distinct quantities, but typically you'll want to consider around 1.7-3.5 ounces as a good measurement. Because oatmeal tends to suck up liquid, it's possible you may need to add a bit more water, too (via PopSugar). And any type will do, from steel cut to old-fashioned to quick oats — just add to your crock pot with all the other ingredients and you'll be ready to make the perfect batch.