A versatile recipe for beef, venison, or vegetarian chili

Venison Chili

Venison chili, November 2012

Autumn weather is upon us, and once again our kitchen windows are steamy from kettles bubbling on the stove. Here is a chili recipe that will warm you up and help use those tomatoes you brought in from your garden after the cold snap.

This recipe is a very appealing use for ground venison. Normally I’m not wild (pun not intended but I guess fitting) about venison on its own, but the spices, green pepper, onion, and tomato infuse the meat with savory flavor. The recipe is versatile—you can make it with meat, or make it vegetarian by omitting the meat and doubling the amount of beans.

This chili is ready in an hour if you make it with canned black beans and tomatoes. The longer start-to-finish time is if you use fresh tomatoes, which take awhile to cook down. In addition, if you want to cook your own beans you’ll need several hours in advance to soak and then cook them. See my post How To Cook Dried Black Beans for soaking and cooking instructions.

For gluten-free chili, canned black beans and canned tomatoes are generally gluten-free. Check labels if in doubt and avoid products that have questionable or unidentifiable ingredients.

Beef, Venison, or Vegetarian Chili
5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 pound ground beef or venison (meat version only)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 green pepper, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups tomatoes (about 1 pound) or 2 14.5- or 16-ounce cans, cut up
  • 2 cups cooked black beans or 1 15-ounce can, drained (for vegetarian version use 4 cups or 2 cans beans)
  • 1 additional teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Optional toppings: Sour cream, grated cheese, chopped cilantro, sliced avocado
  1. Place oil in a large pot over medium high heat. When oil is warm add meat (if using), onions, green pepper, celery, and garlic. Saute until meat is browned and/or vegetables are soft, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, and beans. Cook about 25 minutes if using canned tomatoes; 1 to 2 hours if using fresh tomatoes. Toward end of cooking time taste chili and add additional salt, 1 teaspoon or to taste, if desired. If chili seems too thick, stir in water a little at a time for desired consistency. Ladle into bowls and add toppings.
  3. Keeps well in the freezer.
Serving size: generous 1 cup (meat/vegetarian). Calories: 443/523; Fat: 10g/7g; Saturated fat: 3g/1g; Carbohydrates: 50g/90g; Sugar: 7g/8g; Sodium: 839g/792g; Fiber: 12g/22g; Protein: 39g/30g; Cholesterol: 67mg/0mg.


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4 Responses to “A versatile recipe for beef, venison, or vegetarian chili”

  1. Hi Eileen! Thanks for sharing at {Wheat-Free Wednesday} last week. Your post has been pinned to my Pinterest board and shared on my FB page. I hope you’ll share again this week:



  2. Eleonore says:

    I adore this recipe. It can be altered and adapted easily depending on taste or mood. I think the chipotle chili is a key ingredient though. super yummy and one of my favorites.

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