Chili Recipe

Chili 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. 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: Taste is savory, peppery, and a little sweet and tangy. Weight is medium but can be balanced with vinegar and ketchup. Texture is soft and chili like. Good for people with low to moderate treatment side effects. Best categorized as classic American.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beans, chili, recipes
Servings: 8 people
Author: Chef Ryan Callahan
Cost: $10


  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife
  • large stock pot or spaghetti pot
  • can opener


Food Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef at least 90/10
  • 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


  • 2 tbsp. garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp. cumin ground
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder optional


  • 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.


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 regimen. Talk with your 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. Have specific questions? Email us at

About the Author:

Chef Ryan Callahan is a 2x Gourmand World Cookbook Award Winning Chef. 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. He has dedicated his life to helping cancer fighters navigate the difficulty that eating related side-effect present to the cancer fighter.