Really Good “Bam!” Chili

Written by Eydie Desser

This chili has enough spice for adults, yet mild enough for kids! I fashioned the recipe from Emeril Lagasse’s  cookbook called “There’s a Chef in My Soup.” The recipe is called “Some Real Good Chili” and it really is! Of course, I had to “Garden of Eydie it” replacing the meat with beans, and taking out the oil, salt and sugar.  I added lime juice and cilantro and that did the trick to make this chili so darn good, even a Texas Cowboy will scarf it down! My team was begging me for weeks to make a plant based chili for the winter. I wasn’t very excited about it as I’m not really a chili fan. It’s usually so oily and so heavy,  I never felt good after eating it. But I got inspired when I went to the Farmer’s Market and found gorgeous purple and lilac, cream, and pink colored “scarlet runner beans.” These beans are super meaty and retain their shape when cooking. So “Bam!”….I had the foundation of making a super satisfying and “meaty” textured chili.  Healthy enough to be planted (pun intended) on my site! These beans are so fresh, I soaked them for 5 hours and cooked them in a big pot of water on the stove for only 25 minutes, and they were ready! You must try this chili. You’ll never go back to the “other” kind!


  • 1 cup dry, or 2 cans cooked no salt beans:   Scarlet Runner Beans or other bean that is “meaty” and will hold its shape:  (Gigante, black beans, red beans) 
  • 2 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 1 TB garlic minced (about 3 large cloves)
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 2 tsp. Bam Spice *see recipe below*
  • 2 tsp. Ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper, or less if you don’t like it too spicy
  • 1 (15-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 TB salt free tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of ½ lime or more to taste
  • Cilantro as garnish

Bam Spice Mixture:

Makes about ¾ cup

  • 3 TB paprika
  • 2 TB dried parsley
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper, or less if you don’t want it spicy
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Stir well to combine.


For the Beans:

(if using dried beans)–can be made 5 days in advance, or frozen for 1 month in advance:

1- Rinse the beans and then soak them in water to cover by 2 inches overnight.

2- Place soaked beans with their water in a 3-qt or larger pot, and add more water to cover the beans by an inch or so.

3- Bring the water to a boil. Then lower the heat to a simmer and let the beans cook until they are just done.  Timing depends on the freshness of the beans. My super just harvested beans only needed to cook 25 minutes. You must check your beans every 20 minutes or so to see when the are just cooked through

4- Once cooked, drain and reserve.

Make the Chilli:

1- Place a 5-qt Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat for about 1 minute, or until a piece of onion when put in the pot, sizzles.  Add the onion, garlic, chili powder and Bam spice, cumin and black pepper. Stir quickly to combine. Lower the heat to low, and cover the pot. Let the onion and spices meld for a minute or two.  Lift cover and give it a stir, scraping up brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

2- In the meantime, place the whole tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and squeeze them with your hands to break them into pieces.

3- Add the squeezed tomatoes, tomato paste and water to the pot.  Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4- Add the cooked beans and cook for an additional 10 minute or until the liquid is reduced and the chili is thickened.

5- Add lime juice to taste and garnish with cilantro.

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