• 1 medium green pepper, chopped in big chunks (I sometimes use green and red pepper)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped in big chunks
  • Cumin: 1 teaspoon (very mild) to 1 tablespoon (not so mild), or even more if you prefer
  • Chili powder: Same amount as the amount of cumin you use (i.e., 1:1 ratio)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon to 2-3 tablespoon oregano, depending on how much cumin and chili powder you use
  • 1 clove garlic for mild, 2 or 3 big honkin’ cloves for stronger flavor
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans tomatoes, chopped (reserve canning liquid)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 2 – 15 to 16 oz. cans beans (kidney, pinto, and/or black), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 of a 6 oz. can of black olives, drained and sliced
  • 1/4 cup bulgur


O.K. Those are the basic ingredients. You can add as many things as your imagination and bad taste think would be good in chili: corn, other kinds of beans, leftover cooked lentils, rice, mock duck, fried tofu, yellow and orange and any other peppers, hot peppers of whatever variety, green beans, peas, carrot chunks or slices, etc., etc. Also, if you like a “saucier” chili, add an 8 oz. can or two of tomato sauce (I use unsalted). Otherwise, add water or diluted tomato juice if the chili looks too “dry.”

I call this chili AMAZING because even the die-hard carnivores of my acquaintance like it. It can be as mild or as spicy as you like, simply by adjusting the amount of seasoning and varying the amount and type of pepper and onion you use. Here are the directions:

In a large, heavy saucepan sautee green pepper and onions in 1 to 2 tsp. olive oil until soft. Add spices; sautee a couple minutes more. Press garlic into mixture and sautee very briefly, being careful not to burn garlic. Add tomatoes and tomato liquid, then stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer, partially covered, for at least 30 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 bowls. Serve with a nice, substantial bread, and plan on sleeping alone that night. Heh.