Posts Tagged ‘no-meat chili’


Veggie chili.

Our friend Norma, who lives with husband Bill in McClean, Virginia close to Washington DC, has given me permission to reproduce her wonderfully detailed survey of chili traditions.

Tempting one day to cruise the Chili Trail!

Do you know that “Chili” was strictly a “Gringo” invention?  The only chili the Mexicans know is the sauce.  It was the ranchers and cowboys who first started putting together the recipe, mostly to cover up stale meat while out on the trail drive.  They also needed the extra protein while on the long cattle drives north to St. Louis, Kansan City and then Chicago.  People in the southwest don’t add beans to their chili.  That is a Midwest way to do it.  Cincinnati cilli has a dash of cinnamon.
Bar-B-Q:  Texas Bar-B-Q is always dry.  They rub seasonings and spices on the raw meat, put it on a grill and smoke it slowly until it is done.
Memphis and Kansas City Bar-B-Q is “wet” cooked in a sauce until it falls of the bone.  Most of them start with a tomato base sauce.  Also includes vinegar, molasses & paprika.
St. Louis has mustard and brown sugar.
Thanks, Norma!
Anyone care to add other chili wisdom?

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Meredith tells me these are called kidney beans in America and she didn’t like the ones on offer when she was growing up in Chicago.

With any luck, things have changed!

Adapted from Rose Elliott’s The Bean Book this is a simple solution for people who don’t eat meat but like the look of chilileave out the carne!

After experimenting with variations–the addition of cumin powder and even Dijon mustard–I settled for the simpler the better.

Quickly done–and tastes even better the next day.

Don’t forget the lemon!


1lb/450gms good quality red beans from a jar or tin–drained and rinsed

1 onion–chopped

1 clove of garlic–chopped

2 tblsps olive oil

1 14oz tin of tomatoes–broken up, with all the juice

1 teaspoon chilli/cayenne powder

juice of half a lemon or more to taste

salt and pepper

  • Soften the onions and garlic gently in the oil–stirring often.


  • Add the chilli powder and the chopped tomatoes with their juice.
  • Mix these well together, blending in the tomatoes.
  • Add the beans and season with salt and pepper.


  • Bring gently to the simmer and cook, covered, for fifteen minutes.
  • Pour over the lemon juice and mix in.
  • Serve over some basmati brown rice with perhaps a bowl of yogurt sauce with cumin and garlic on the side.

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