Not Texas Chili

by Lana Stuart on March 19, 2013 · 38 comments

Not Texas Chili

Well, it’s Spring in the South, y’all. 82 degrees Saturday afternoon. 40 this morning. Yep, it’s March when it’s summer in the sunshine and winter in the shade. We don’t know whether to light the grill or start a fire in the fireplace. We’re running the heat in the morning and air conditioning in the afternoon. Then back to heat at night. It’s enough to make you dizzy. And on top of all that, things are starting to bloom and you know what that means – allergies! Yikes.

I shouldn’t complain about the weather, though. I saw one of my blogging friends, Amanda from Amanda’s Cookin’, on Facebook this morning talking about it being below 20 degrees with blowing snow and icy roads where she lives. So for Amanda and all of y’all who are still dealing with winter, I’m posting this recipe today. And I won’t even mention how well my lettuces are growing or that I saw the first Iris blooming in the front yard this morning :-)

Now, before somebody starts in about how this is not “real” chili, I just want to go ahead and say that I know that. I understand that “real” chili does not contain any beans or tomatoes. However, there’s a whole big world of cooks out here and we all have different ideas about recipes. That why I’ve called this recipe Not Texas Chili. Just so we’re clear. This is my own version of chili and it bears no resemblance whatsoever to chili cooked by authentic cowboys, trail bosses, or others associated in any way with Texas. Whew!

Browning beef for Not Texas Chili

Okay, if you’re ready to try my family’s favorite chili recipe, inauthentic though it may be, let’s get started. You’ll need a large deep pot like a Dutch oven for making the chili. Start by browning the beef over medium-high heat. Remove the browned beef from the pan and set it aside to drain.

Cooking peppers, onions, and garlic for Not Texas Chili

In the same pan, add the olive oil, green pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until just tender. Return the drained beef to the pan.

Add tomatoes, beans, water to Not Texas Chili

Add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, and water. Stir well.

Spices for Not Texas Chili

Add the seasonings. Stir well.

Simmering Not Texas Chili

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or more.

Serve with garnishes of sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and Tabasco.


Not Texas Chili
Prep time
Total time
My favorite chili recipe. Although it's not "authentic" it's the one our family enjoys best!
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 1/4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tblsp. olive oil
  • 2 can diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tblsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tblsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Tabasco
  1. In a large deep pot or Dutch oven, brown the beef over medium-high heat. Remove the browned beef from the pan and set it aside to drain.
  2. In the same pan, add the olive oil, green pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until just tender.
  3. Return the drained beef to the pan.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, and water. Stir well.
  5. Add the seasonings. Stir well.
  6. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or more.
  7. Serve with garnishes of sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and Tabasco
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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Diane {Created by Diane} March 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

looks delicious! I think we may get rain later in the week and this would sure be yummy if we do :)


2 Lana March 19, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Perfect for a chilly, rainy day Diane!


3 Barbara @ Barbara Bakes March 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Looks like a perfect weeknight meal.


4 Lana March 19, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Weekday…weekend…we love it any time!


5 Maria March 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Now I want chili and cornbread for dinner:)


6 Lana March 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Sounds good to me!


7 Mike March 19, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I’m from Texas and you can call it chili if you like, I gotcher back. I never thought I’d live to see the day where *some* of my fellow Texans got to be so snobbish and uptight that they raked someone over the coals because they defined a simple dish differently than how they think it should be. It’s a matter of taste, that’s all…and speaking of such, I prefer KC BBQ to Texas style. N. Carolina style is good for a change-of-pace. A lot of things ARE bigger in Texas, but sometimes I think the egos are TOO big.

Me? I don’t put beans in MY chili but I like to put chili in my beans, go figger.


8 Lana March 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm

So glad to know I’ve got a real Texan watching my back! I guess we should think of something else to call this type of stew with beans and chili and then everybody would be happy :-)


9 Miss P March 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Ok, just so that everyone will know, this is about the same as the chili on which we were raised. We did not sprout horns in the middle of our foreheads, nor suffer any other horrible curse. We ate it, we loved it, we still do. And, if there is cornbread in the near vicinity, the circle of love is complete. Ahhhhhh.

Miss P


10 Lana March 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Oh yes, cornbread just about makes it perfect!


11 icakepops March 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm

What a great post, Lana! Funny, entertaining and yummy!


12 Lana March 21, 2013 at 11:21 am

Thanks so much!


13 Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles March 19, 2013 at 10:53 pm

We’re still cold and snowy here…boo-hoo. Perfect for chili, no matter what you name it! Love this, Lana!


14 Lana March 21, 2013 at 11:23 am

Thanks Brenda! All our trees and some flowers are in bloom and then this morning…again…it’s freezing!! I’m so ready to see the backside of winter.


15 Cookin' Canuck March 19, 2013 at 11:44 pm

This chili is real enough to me, and it sounds absolutely fantastic!


16 Lana March 21, 2013 at 11:23 am

Thanks Dara. It’s real enough for us, too :-)


17 Sues March 20, 2013 at 9:30 am

Looks like real chili to me! And I would love to have some to warm me up in this freezing Boston weather right now… Happy spring! :)


18 Lana March 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

Wish I could ship a bowl full right up to Boston for you.


19 nest of posies March 20, 2013 at 9:59 am

yet again we are going to have some cold days this week & nothing sounds better than your chili recipe! YUM!


20 Lana March 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

It’s cold here, too! I just might have to make another pot full of this chili for dinner.


21 Amanda March 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm

A woman after my own heart :) I love my chili with kidney beans, though my husband’s digestive tract can’t handle the green pepper :-( This looks delicious!


22 Lana March 21, 2013 at 11:21 am

Amanda – I find that the red, yellow, and orange peppers are just as good and seem to be easier to handle for folks with sensitive digestion. Just an idea.


23 Nancy@acommunaltable March 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

I love chili in ALL its forms – Texas style, with beans, cincinnati style – you name it! My fave has a little unsweetened cocoa powder and black beans in it – definitely NOT “traditional” but definitely good!


24 Lana March 21, 2013 at 9:13 pm

I love chili, too, Nancy. Even though it’s not authentic, it’s one of the most soul-warming things you can make on a cold day.


25 Neena March 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm

This looks great to me!! (no matter what you call it)


26 Lana March 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

It’s our favorite. More beans and veggies than meat, really. And seasoned just the way we like it.


27 Rebecca March 23, 2013 at 11:36 am

This is too real chili! There are as many chili recipes and types as there are pasta recipes. I think of it like bbq. Tennessee bbq, Texas bbq, and Memphis bbq are all different, but just as equally deserving of the title bbq (unlike the New England version of bbq which is nothing but hamburgers and hotdogs). Chili with beans and tomatoes may not be Texas Chili, but just as deserving of the title Chili. AND, all of this from someone that just did a post on Texas chili without beans!


28 Lana March 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Now, barbecue is a touchy subject among Southerners for sure. Everyone has his or her own way of doing it and there are as many recipes for the sauce as there are cooks making it. Real or not…this is just our favorite bowl of chili. I do still want to try my hand at making a “Bowl of Red” one day!


29 Rebecca March 23, 2013 at 9:18 pm

You’re telling me! With a mom from southern Georgia, a dad from northern Alabama and with us living in Texas for the better part of two decades, barbecue can bring on a full-fledged Hatfield v. McCoy hissy fit in my family. In the end, I’ll eat any of it as long as it tastes good. Same with chili. I love really good chili without tomatoes and beans; my years in Texas make it my preference. But, as others have mentioned, even in Texas you get chili with beans and tomatoes (we just don’t like to talk about it!) Your chili looks just about as good as any other, Texas or not.


30 Pat March 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm

It is snowing here and I just got a pot on to simmer. We are having taco salad for supper.


31 Lana March 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm

That sounds delicious, Pat. I haven’t made taco salads in quite a long time. We’re overdue for some :-)


32 Pat March 23, 2013 at 9:08 pm

They were good.


33 Allie March 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Hi! I made this chili last week and have reviewed this recipe on my blog. You can check it out at:

I followed the recipe word-for-word and it was delicious!


34 Elizabeth April 9, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Am I the only one who can’t figure out how much water to add? Help!


35 Lana April 9, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I usually add between 1 and 1 1/2 cups. It depends on how thin or thick you like your chili. It’s one of those things that you can’t really give a definite measurement for.


36 Cage Free Family June 17, 2013 at 10:43 pm

This is precisely the chili I grew up eating, with the only missing ingredient being the elbow noodles. I’ve spent most of my life in Texas and I can honestly say that to me ‘real chili’ has beans and tomatoes.


37 pansy spoulos January 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm

the instructions call for adding water with the tomatoes, beans etc; but the recipe does not tell you how much water


38 Lana Stuart January 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm

It’s not a set amount. You should add enough water to make the chili the thickness that you like. I usually start with about 1/2 cup and may add more as it cooks down and the water evaporates.


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