CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The notion of putting beans in chili has been a sensitive topic as long as competitive cook-offs have been around.

So this year the International Chili Society is saying: Let's do both.

For the first time, the ICS will have traditional red chili and bean-optional chili categories at its 46th world championship event, which returns to Charleston starting Friday.

Chili purists contend beans are nothing more than filler. Proponents say they certainly belong.

Organizers and competitors say adding beans to the competition will do little to quash the debate over using them.

John Jepson of Merced, Calif., won the ICS red chili world title last year. He's entered in both the red chili and homestyle categories this time. He says the debate over beans or no beans will never end.

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  • Half-Hour Chili

    Make this chili in just half an hour by using pantry staples like canned beans and tomatoes. Nutritious whole-grain bulgur adds great texture. You almost wouldn't know this recipe is entirely vegetarian. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Half-Hour Chili</a></strong>

  • Slow-Cooker Black Bean Mushroom Chili

    This vegetarian chili features lots and lots of mushrooms, tomatillos and black beans. Be sure to presoak the black beans overnight. Toasting the spices first directly in the slow cooker ensures a developed flavor. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Slow-Cooker Black Bean Mushroom Chili</a></strong>

  • Lamb And Chickpea Chili

    Put a North African spin on chili with ground lamb and turkey, chickpeas, cinnamon and harissa, which is a traditional Tunisian chile paste. If you can't find it, substitute mild chile powder. Serve the chili with warm pita bread and tabbouleh. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Lamb and Chickpea Chili</a></strong>

  • Turkey And Black Bean Chili

    Ground turkey and black beans are just two of the many flavorful ingredients in this chili. A host of earthy spices and sweet vegetables, like fennel and red bell pepper, make this chili a contender for the number one spot. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Turkey and Black Bean Chili</a></strong>

  • Marcus Samuelsson's Chili

    This chili recipe from chef Marcus Samuelsson takes on the flavors of mole sauce by including dried chipotle peppers and Mexican chocolate. It also features the classic ingredients of ground beef and red kidney beans. Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Marcus Samuelsson's Chili</a></strong>

  • Red Bean And Beef Chili

    This chili is packed with chunks of beef sirloin, red beans, red bell peppers and tomatoes. Searing the beef first ensures you get the best texture and flavor. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Red Bean and Beef Chili</a></strong>

  • Yellow Chicken And Chickpea Chili

    A yellow bell pepper puts the yellow in this lean version of chili, which is made with ground chicken instead of beef. Chickpeas and squash add great texture to the dish and a touch of lemon zest brightens all the flavors. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Yellow Chicken and Chickpea Chili</a></strong>

  • Black Bean Chili For A Crowd

    This version of chili is a healthier alternative to the traditional recipe because it's made with white and dark ground turkey as well as soy protein. Serve with your favorite toppings, like shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese and sour cream. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Black Bean Chili for a Crowd</a></strong>

  • Beef And Bean Chile Verde

    Chile Verde (green chili) usually takes a long time to cook, but this version can even be made on a weeknight. Instead of fresh tomatillos and dried beans, use store-bought green salsa and canned beans. Serve with chopped cilantro and red onion and shredded cheese. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Beef and Bean Chile Verde</a></strong>

  • White Bean And Chicken Chili

    This chili recipe includes white beans, white onions and chicken breast. Finely ground almonds and milk thicken the sauce and keep the recipe all white. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">White Bean and Chicken Chili</a></strong>

  • Green Pork And Hominy Chili

    Chili doesn't have to be all about the beef. This unique version of chili combines poblano peppers, cubed pork and hominy. If you can't find poblanos, substitute green bell peppers. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Green Pork and Hominy Chili</a></strong>

  • Sweet Potato And Black Bean Chili

    This vegetarian chili recipe is packed with black beans and sweet potatoes. Ground chipotle adds a smoky heat that's more intense than regular chili powder. Serve with tortilla chips. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili</a></strong>

  • Orange Turkey And Butternut Chili

    It's easy to tell this dish is packed with beta-carotene from all the orange: butternut squash, orange bell pepper, carrot and orange zest. Instead of the usual ground meat, this recipe features chunks of turkey breast. Use frozen butternut squash instead of fresh for a time-saver. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Orange Turkey and Butternut Chili</a></strong>

  • Ancho And Chipotle Turkey Chili

    A combination of ancho chiles and chipotle chiles give this turkey chili deep flavor, rusty color and a thick body. The recipe also includes cornmeal and hominy for a true South-of-the-border touch. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Ancho and Chipotle Turkey Chili</a></strong>

  • Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili

    This hearty vegetarian chili includes a mix of wheat berries, black beans, peppers and onion. Serve with diced avocado and a sprinkling of cilantro. <strong>Get the Recipe for <a href="" target="_hplink">Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili</a></strong>

  • Game-Day Chili

    Sunny Anderson makes a chili recipe for a game-day gathering.