Vegetarian Chili from Texas!

So my Mom is a great cook and happens to have an awesome recipe for chili.  She was raised in the panhandle of Texas

so she has a little credibility when it comes to how chili should taste….pay no attention to the fact that they put Cadillacs in the ground where she comes from, they know how to make good chili.

At Chili cook-offs, there still seems to be quite a debate between the beaners and the no-beaners, but here’s my theory on authenticity….you’d think that cowboys out on the range would carry dried beans in their chuck wagons and when they got really hungry, who’s to say they didn’t throw in a bit o’ beef….cause ya know…they were surrounded by cattle as far as the eye could see….who’s going to miss just one….hide it in the beans, no one will know! BAM-  Chili is borned y’all!

But here’s the catch- I don’t eat cows, BUT I LOVE MOM’S CHILI! So this is my version of her very authentic Lone Star State Chili.

You’ll need:

2 T. veg. oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 15 oz. cans of chili beans, undrained  

2 boxes of Smart Ground

1 can of diced tomatoes, semi drained

4 Tablespoons Mexene Chili Powder mixed into 14 oz. of water (use a bean can)

Fritos (small ones, NOT the Scoops)

Optional: Make a batch of Jiffy Cornbread (with pickled jalapenos on top) instead of using the Fritos. But make no mistake, corn bread gets crumbled on the top, it doesn’t go in the bottom of the bowl, unless you serve it with butter of course, then just eat it like you would a biscuit.

Also optional: Add a can of drained corn, hominy, or black beans to the chili for volume and overall yumminess. Garnish with shredded sharp cheddar, chopped white or yellow onion, or avocado slices.


The Bush’s Chili Beans say “Mild” and the Organic Chili Beans say “Hot”…..

the spice level is IDENTICAL- which is almost nuthin’ ….go figure.

But Ranch Beans (which I used to CRAVE and Mom puts in her chili) and a few other brands have beef fat, so just read the label if you’re concerned.

In a large skillet, soften the onion and garlic in a little oil, then add the next 4 items. Bring it all to a boil and then cover and simmer at least 30 minutes or until the juices reduce to your liking.DSCN2101

Serve on top of a big handful of Fritos!


If you’re camping or out on the range, get a medium bag of Fritos and cut the SIDE open, spoon the chili in and eat right from the bag,  No dishes!

photo from        




Filed under Food

7 responses to “Vegetarian Chili from Texas!

  1. I’m definitely a beef eater, but this seems like a good alternative on our vegetarian nights. I’m sure I won’t hear any groaning about this recipe!


    Yummy! I think all of us Texans make ours best — because this is the Chili Mecca of the world. 😉 I’m softening on the bean issue, but I just can’t go without the meat yet. I just made some chili last week and added, for a change and for health, black beans, and they were pretty good. Still, I also like the Ranch Style the best! Nice touch with the cornbread on top!

  3. Priya

    I so much wish I could get these ingredients here in India. It sounds delicious.

  4. Sounds so good … and I love the cadillacs too!

  5. I only use one can of beans, because I was raised in the no bean camp. Frito chili pies are my favorite. This is home-cookin at its best.

  6. 1. I have never had Fritos with my chili. (usually with a spinach kale dip or plain, hey I’m from New England give me a break).

    2. I have never heard of frito chili pie! I’m googling now.

    3. I do not eat cows either and have been looking for a different chili recipe! THANKS!

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