Chili Recipe for Cancer and Chemotherapy

chili recipe easy delicious healthy cancer cooking recipes


Chili Recipe for Cancer and Chemotherapy

Ease of Preparation: Easy Recipe

Texas Disclaimer:
To all the Texans out there: yes, I realize that “real chili” has no beans in it. But the purpose of this recipe is to provide a friendly, well-rounded chili that everyone can enjoy.

Dish Description:
This is a family recipe passed down from my grandfather to me. I have slightly modified it to make it friendlier for chemo and lighter overall. It is a good, all-around chili. It is very versatile and can be eaten as a meal, over pasta, or even over hot dogs if you like. If you feel like your chili might be missing something, I highly recommend adding some ketchup.

Tasting Guidelines:
This recipe should taste savory, peppery, and a little sweet and tangy.
The weight of this recipe is medium but can be balanced with vinegar and ketchup.
The texture of this recipe is soft and chili like.
This recipe is good for people with low to moderate treatment side effects.
This recipe gives an emotional response of feeling warm on a cold winters night.
This recipe is best categorized as classic American.

Food Ingredients:
1 lb. lean (at least 90/10 or leaner) ground beef
2 large cans of chili beans or red kidney beans, undrained
1 large can tomatoes, diced and undrained
2 green peppers, cored and medium diced
1 large onion, medium diced
1 tbsp. oil

Flavor Balancers:
3 tsp.s kosher salt
2 tbsp. soy sauce

1/2 tbsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar

Aromatics:
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tbsp. cumin, ground
2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. chili powder (optional)

Recipe Directions:
In a large sauté pan or skillet, bring oil to medium heat. Add garlic, onions, and green pepper. Lightly sauté for 5 minutes. Add enough water to lightly cover the ingredients. Cover pan and allow to sweat until onions are translucent.

Break up ground beef. Add to sauté pan, mixing all ingredients together. Cook beef thoroughly and try to keep the ground beef chunks as small as possible. Now you will add the diced tomatoes, black pepper, salt, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce. Cover with water. And allow to simmer and reduce. Similar to how you make homemade tacos.

Reduce liquid until it forms a bit of sauce at the very bottom. If your sauté pan is large enough, add remaining ingredients, stirring thoroughly and allowing to simmer on low heat for several hours. If not, transfer to spaghetti pot and repeat above method. For ease and convenience, I like my chili to simmer in a slow cooker so I don’t burn it.

The idea here is the longer the flavors sit together, the better they taste. Serve with your favorite chili condiments, like oyster crackers, sour dough bread bowl, freshly chopped onions, cheddar cheese, hot sauce, etc. Whatever you like or whatever your chemo patient is able to eat.

Chef Recipe Tips:
If chili is heavy, add red wine vinegar and sugar to lighten the flavor.


Cooking for Chemo focuses on teaching you how to make your food taste good again during cancer and chemotherapy treatments. The flavor and cooking techniques contained within our easy to make recipes will help improve your quality of life as you go through cancer and chemotherapy treatments. Our cooking and flavor techniques can be integrated with any diet regimine. All of our recipes can be made with organic ingredients if you choose. Our holistic approach to cooking will help you not only be able to eat but to also enjoy the taste of your food again during and after cancer and chemotherapy treatments. We have many healthy recipes, crockpot recipes, chicken recipes, dinner recipes, shrimp recipes, pasta recipes, soup recipes, vegan recipes, salad recipes, vegetarian recipes, breakfast recipes, and even a great chili recipe. Talk with your oncologist and dietitian to come up with a quality nutrition plan. This site is not to be taken as or used instead of professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor, oncologist, and dietitian before starting any new diet.

This recipe is taken from Cooking for Chemo …and After! By Chef Ryan Callahan -The Cancer Chef. For more cooking for chemotherapy recipes like this, you can pick up a copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Have specific questions? Email us at cookingforchemo@gmail.com

About the Author:

Chef Ryan Callahan is a classically trained chef with fifteen years of culinary experience. He is also the author of "Cooking for Chemo ...and After!" Chef Ryan acted as his mother's primary caregiver while she herself went through chemotherapy treatments.