Mam’s Drunk Meat-Optional Chili

"This recipe is a favorite in my family and with guests. We've been making it weekly for years (sans wine when the kids were little) . It's tolerant of modifications and subsitutions. I think of it as a healthier and more affordable chili option because it incorporates a lot of vegetable and beans. The onion, carrot and pepper give it a bit of sweetness that compliments the spiciness. However the beans and meat still dominate, it's undeniably a chili - just a darn good one."

Prep Time

45 min

Cook Time

45 min

Paired With

Main Protein



Yellow onion, diced 1/2 large, ½ lb, 1, 3 cans or 6 Cups, 2 - 4 Cup s, 1 Can, 2 whole or 1 small can, 1 Cup, 1 Cup, 1/2 - 1 Cup, 1 Tbls, 1 Tbls, 1 - 3 Tbls minced garlic, 2 Tbls, 1 Tbls paste or ¼ Cup dried, 2 Tbls, to taste, to taste, 1 Cup
Ground turkey or beef (optional)
Red pepper, diced
Assorted beans (or soaked dry beans)
Chicken or vegetable stock
Diced tomatoes
roasted jalapenos, mined or can green chiles (optional)
Zucchini, minced
Carrot, minced/shredded
Kale, minced (optional)
Chile powder
Garlic, minced
Tomato paste (stir in!)
Cilantro paste or dried Cilantro
Lime juice
Salt and pepper
Optional red pepper and or hot sauce of choice (we like Cholula)
Light bodied red wine like a Pinot noir


Mama’s Drunk Vegetable Chili 6 Qt 8-10 servings
½ med/lrg yellow onion, diced
½ lb ground turkey or beef (optional)
1 diced red pepper
3 canned assorted beans (or 6 C soaked dry beans)
2 – 4 Cup Chicken or vegetable stock
1 can diced tomatoes
2 roasted jalapenos, mined or 1 small can green chiles (optional)
1 Cup minced zucchini
1 Cup minced/shredded carrot
½ – 1 Cup minced kale or other greens for cooking (optional)
1 Tbls Chili powder
1 Tbls paprika
1 – 3 Tbls minced garlic
2 Tbls tomato paste (stir in!)
1 Tbls Cilantro paste or ¼ C dried Cilantro
2 Tbls Lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional red pepper and or hot sauce of choice (we like Cholula)
1 Cup mild red wine like a Pinot Noir

Saute Onions, meat, and pepper with chili powder and paprika until meat is just cooked.
Add broth, beans, tomatoes, vegetables, garlic, tomato paste* and enough water to cover. Add lime, cilantro, and salt last. DO NOT ADD WINE. Add wine when chili has finished cooking. It can interfere with the beans getting soft.
Cook 25-30 min in instapot or 1-3 hrs in crock pot or stove top – until beans are done.
Serve with a strong red wine like a cabernet or Merlot, and chili toppings of choice: tortilla chips, Fritos, cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc.
* You can save tomato paste flattened in a freezer bag or portion with ice cube trays. Please don’t use the whole can, it will ruin your chili.