February is almost here. Do you know what that means?
That’s right – Super Bowl Sunday. 🙂
And, according to my husband and a bunch of his friends, there’s no better way to spend the Super Bowl Sunday than watching football and eating chili.
So, if you’re planning to spend February 4th the same way as them, you’re going to have to learn what goes with chili, so that you can surprise everyone with the best chili menu they ever had.
Best Side Dishes For Chili: Keeping It Informal
My husband and a couple of his friends and coworkers have this years-long tradition of hosting a Super Bowl Sunday party every year – and each year it’s held at someone else’s place.
This year, we’re the ones organizing it, which is how I came to the idea of writing this article, in the first place.
In the spirit of keeping it informal, I’m going to stick to simple menu suggestions – most of these can be served on large plates arranged around a bowl of chili (if you’re looking for canned chili, I have some suggestions).
Of course, crackers and tortilla chips are a staple when you want something crunchy to go with your chili, but there are plenty of other dishes you could try:
1. Fried Chicken
I figured there’s no point in avoiding the most obvious suggestion of all – if you want to stay true to the Super Bowl Sunday vibe, then fried chicken should undoubtedly be a part of your chili menu.
So, if you already have some frozen chicken wings laying around in your freezer, you should check out my tips on how to cook them.
2. Grilled Cheese
Since we’re continuing down the path of keeping it informal, another side dish that pairs with chili is grilled cheese.
To be exact, what I have in mind are some delicious grilled cheese and chili sandwiches – they’re easy to make, and they’re an excellent casual meal choice for a group of guys watching football.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to surprise my husband and his friends with this tasty combo.
Just start by making standard grilled cheese sandwiches, but before you put the two slices of bread together, add a half a cup of chili on top of one of them.
And in case you want to make them extra cheesy, here’s how to do it:
- Put a couple more slices of your favorite cheese over the chili, then press the slices together and let them cook a bit longer until the cheese melts properly.
Related: Best Cheese Slicer – Reviews
3. French Fries
Another way to serve chili is to add it as a topping to homemade French fries.
In case you’re wondering how much potatoes you’ll need, a good rule of thumb is at least one large potato per person.
So, for example, if I’m making French fries for a group of six people, I would normally use at least six to eight large potatoes.
Of course, you can make as much (or as little) as you want, especially when you’re combining them with chili, which is filling enough as it is.
4. Onion Rings
How do a bowl of chili and a portion of onion rings sound to you?I have to be honest – I’m not the biggest fan of the combo, just because I don’t like how messy it looks presentation-wise, but as far as flavor goes, I must admit it’s delicious.
And since I’m not going for an elegant vibe here – it’s just a couple of guys watching football at our place – I didn’t want to exclude onion rings from the list.
My older son likes to dip onion rings into chili, so things are bound to get messy, anyway.
5. Hot Dog Tot
Yes, hot dogs inside tater tots are a thing, and they go exceptionally well with chili, especially when your goal is to keep things casual – and since I’m talking about Super Bowl Sunday menu ideas, it’s safe to say that’s what we’re looking for today.
All you need to do is make the standard mixture (potatoes, flour, parmesan, and a dash of oregano), but instead of forming tater tots on their own, you do it around previously cut hot dog pieces. It’s a quick bite-size side dish to make for your chili, and it adds a little twist to the plain, ol’ hot dogs and chili recipe.
If you’re looking to add a true southwestern vibe to your chili dinner menu, there’s no better way to do it than by serving cornbread alongside a bowl of chili.
To spice it up a notch (as if chili isn’t spicy enough on its own), you could add jalapenos to the batter. Alternatively, if you want your cornbread to be extra sweet, consider adding honey to the mix.
Some may argue that cornbread and chili aren’t such a great pair unless you want to feel like you ate a brick afterward, however, I think the secret is in getting the recipe right. After all, it wouldn’t become somewhat of a traditional combo if there was something wrong with it, right?
7. The Healthy Option: Veggies
This may not be the ideal choice for a bunch of guys watching football, but I thought it would be nice to include one of my favorite chili side dishes, anyway – fresh veggies.
What I like to do is chop up some carrots, celery, and even some cauliflower and sweet pickles – these might not be your first choice, but trust me, you’ll be surprised how well these go with chili.
So, if you’re looking for a bit healthier, a crunchy option to snack on with your chili, fresh vegetables are probably the way to go.
Learn How To Thicken Chili With 5 Quick And Easy Ways
Don’t Forget About Drinks
As far as drinks go, you’re going to have to serve something that can stand up to the chili’s bold taste – that’s why richly flavored beverages are always an excellent choice.
You can never go wrong with ice-cold beer, especially if you’re planning an informal gathering of some sort – like the one that’s going to be held at my house on February 4th, for example.
Full-bodied red wines are also a good choice, but if you want to make things more interesting, a fruity wine punch like sangria is the best.
Don’t forget about the youngest members of the crowd – they can’t have alcohol. For them, lemony iced tea is an ideal refreshment after a bowl of chili.
Related: Best Kegerator – My Reviews
Wrapping It Up
I don’t know about you, but all this food talk is making my mouth water.
As you can see, there are plenty of side dishes that pair well with chili, but since my goal was to give you some Super Bowl Sunday menu ideas, I wanted to stick to those that have a simple and informal vibe to them.
What’s your opinion on what goes with chili?
I’d like to know some other ways to make my chili menu stand out, so leave your suggestions below.