No onions? No peppers? No meat? No problem! You can make this homemade chili using only ingredients found in your pantry!
If you’re like me, you have a go-to chili method that you usually use. I can totally make a big pot of chili in my sleep. But what happens when I don’t have the ingredients that I usually use? Then I improvise.
One day, that improvisation led me to this recipe. I didn’t have any onions or peppers or garlic, three things that I ALWAYS put in chili. What I did have was a jar of salsa that contained those very ingredients. Into the chili pot that salsa went. And…and…and…it was so good!
Nowadays I often put salsa into my chili, even if I do have all the other ingredients in there.
To make this pantry chili, get out a nice-sized pot. Into it put a big can of diced tomatoes, 2 regular-sized cans of kidney beans, 2 cans of any other kinds of legumes that you like (pinto and lentils are two of my favorites here), and a jar of salsa. Then you add some chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
You can add some hot sauce if you’d like. It really depends on how hot the salsa is that you added so I’d advise that you wait until the very end to add any heat.
Then you just heat that pot up and let it simmer a bit. The salsa adds flavor but also this blendedness, as though the whole pot has been simmering all day.
Finally, if you’d like to add meat to this chili you totally can. If you’re trying to stick with the pantry-only concept, then you can go with canned ground beef. If you have it, you can instead cook up 1-2 pounds of ground beef or ground chicken and add that. Just season it well with salt, pepper, and some chili powder while it’s cooking. Alternative you can add a couple cups of cooked (diced or shredded) chicken or pork. Note that if you’re adding all that meat, I’d skip one or two cans of legumes.
That’s it though. This is delicious chili that only uses pantry ingredients and is ready lickety-split! Enjoy!
- 1–28oz can diced tomatoes
- 2–15oz cans reduced-sodium kidney beans, drained
- 2 (15oz.) cans other legumes, drained
- 1 (16 oz.) jar salsa (that’s about 2 cups)
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- Optional meat*
- Hot sauce to taste (optional)
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, combine the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, legumes, salsa, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
- Reduce heat to low. Cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Stir in optional meat, if using. Allow to heat through for 2 minutes.
- Taste and add some hot sauce if desired, and more salt if you’d like. Serve.
*If you would like to add meat to this chili, remove the two cans of “other” legumes, and add 2 (14 oz.) cans of cooked ground beef in the final step. Or, you can add one of the following (uncanned) cooked meats in the final step: Cooked seasoned ground beef or ground chicken (1-2 pounds), cooked diced or shredded chicken (2-3 cups), or cooked pulled pork (2-3 cups). If you have some cured meat that you’d like to add, do not omit the “other” legumes but do add one of: One cup diced cooked or smoked ham, 6 strips of bacon (cooked and chopped), or 1 cup of kielbasa (finely chopped).