Waste Not, Want Not: Create a Tasty Meal from Kitchen Scraps

Welcome to my Garbage Chili Recipe! Now, before you turn your nose up at the name, let me tell you that this chili recipe is anything but trash. It’s a hearty and flavorful dish that’s perfect for those cold winter nights or for when you’re feeding a crowd.

I know what you’re thinking, “Garbage chili? That doesn’t sound very appetizing.” But let me tell you, this recipe is a true gem. It’s a mish-mash of ingredients that come together to create a delicious medley of flavors. It’s a recipe born out of necessity, when I had to throw together a meal with whatever was left in my fridge and pantry.

But the beauty of this recipe lies in its versatility. You can make this chili with just about anything you have on hand, and it will still be delicious. It’s a recipe that’s forgiving, and it’s perfect for those times when you need to clean out your fridge or pantry.

So, don’t knock it until you try it. This Garbage Chili Recipe may just become your new favorite chili recipe. Trust me, it’s worth a try.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Garbage Chili
Garbage Chili

Listen up, folks! I know you’re here for the Garbage Chili recipe, but let me tell you why you’re going to love it. First of all, it’s a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation, and it’s a recipe that’s loved by many. The flavors in this chili are so complex, it’s like a party in your mouth. The combination of the honey, cumin, and chili powder with the pitted black olives, diced green chilies, onion, and fresh mushrooms is something you won’t find in any other chili recipe.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking, “Garbage chili? That doesn’t sound appetizing.” But let me tell you, this is the kind of chili that you’ll want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s hearty, it’s flavorful, and it’s the perfect comfort food. Trust me when I say that once you’ve tried this Garbage Chili recipe, you’ll never go back to any other chili recipe.

Moreover, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can make it with lean ground beef, turkey or even make it vegan by using plant-based meat. You can also adjust the spice level to your liking by adding more or less chili powder or hot sauce. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even turn it into a Garbage Plate by serving it over a bed of french fries and topping it with cheese, onions, and hot sauce.

So, what are you waiting for? Give this Garbage Chili recipe a try and see for yourself why it’s been a family favorite for so many years. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredient List

 This hearty chili will make you forget it's made from
This hearty chili will make you forget it’s made from “garbage” ingredients!

Before we start making this delicious Garbage Chili Recipe, let’s gather all the ingredients you need to make this dish a success.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef: You can also use ground turkey or a vegan meat substitute if preferred.
  • 1 lg onion, chopped: This will add flavor and texture to the chili.
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped: The sweet and tangy flavor of the red bell pepper will balance out the chili’s heat.
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced: This will add earthy and meaty flavor to the chili.
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes: The diced tomatoes will provide a chunky texture to the chili.
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce: This will add a smooth and saucy texture to the chili.
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste: This will add richness and thickness to the chili.
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans: Use undrained beans to add more flavor and texture to the chili.
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies: This will add a mild spiciness to the chili.
  • 1 (6 ounce) can pitted black olives, drained and sliced: This will add a salty and briny flavor to the chili.
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder: Use more or less depending on your preference.
  • 1 tablespoon cumin: This will add a warm and earthy flavor to the chili.
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper: This will add some heat and depth to the chili.
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar: The acidity from the vinegar will balance out the sweetness and saltiness of the chili.
  • 1 tablespoon honey: This will add a subtle sweetness to the chili.

Make sure to have all the ingredients measured and prepared before you start cooking for a smooth and hassle-free cooking experience.

The Recipe How-To

 Don't let the name fool you, this chili is packed with flavor.
Don’t let the name fool you, this chili is packed with flavor.

Now, let’s get into the heart of this recipe – the how-to. This garbage chili recipe is easy to make and perfect for a cozy night in. Here’s how you can make it:


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 lg onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) chili beans
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
  • 1 can (2.25 oz) sliced pitted black olives, drained
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey


  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks.
  2. Add the chopped onion, red bell pepper, and sliced mushrooms to the pot. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chili beans, green chilies, sliced black olives, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  4. Bring the chili to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Let the chili cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. If you have time, let the chili simmer for an hour or two.
  5. Just before serving, stir in the white vinegar and honey. These ingredients will give the chili a tangy sweetness that balances out the spices.

Enjoy your homemade garbage chili with some garbage fries or a side of cornbread.

Substitutions and Variations

 Your taste buds will thank you for trying this unique chili recipe.
Your taste buds will thank you for trying this unique chili recipe.

One of the best things about cooking is the ability to experiment and make a recipe your own. The Garbage Chili Recipe is no exception. Here are a few substitutions and variations to consider:

– Vegan: Swap out the ground beef for a meatless alternative such as crumbled tofu or textured vegetable protein. Use vegetable broth instead of beef broth and omit the honey if you prefer a vegan recipe.

– Turkey Chili: Use ground turkey instead of ground beef for a leaner protein option. The flavor will be slightly different, but still delicious.

– Texas Chili: For a spicier, more traditional chili flavor, omit the olives and mushrooms and add in 2-3 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and a splash of red wine or white vinegar. Simmer for at least 2 hours to let the flavors develop.

– Garbage Fries: Instead of serving the chili on its own, make it into a “garbage plate” by layering it on top of a pile of crispy french fries. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, and hot sauce for a truly indulgent meal.

No matter how you choose to make your chili, don’t be afraid to get creative and make it your own. Experiment with different spices and ingredients to find your perfect recipe.

Serving and Pairing

 This chili is a great way to use up leftover veggies and meat.
This chili is a great way to use up leftover veggies and meat.

Now that you’ve made this delicious Garbage Chili recipe, it’s time to serve it up and enjoy it! There are many different ways you can serve this chili, depending on your preference and what you have on hand. One popular way to enjoy Garbage Chili is to serve it over a bed of crispy french fries, also known as “Garbage Fries”. This is a classic “trash plate” style that originated in Rochester, New York, and has since spread to other regions.

Another option is to ladle the chili over a bowl of rice, or even pasta, for a filling and hearty meal. If you’re looking for a lighter option, you can serve the chili on its own or with a side salad. You can even use it as a topping for hot dogs or burgers for a unique twist on traditional favorites.

When it comes to pairing Garbage Chili with beverages, there are many options that will complement the flavors of the chili. For a classic pairing, you can serve it with an ice-cold beer, such as a pale ale or lager. If you prefer a non-alcoholic option, you can pair it with a glass of iced tea, lemonade, or soda.

For those who enjoy a bit of spice, you can add a few drops of hot sauce to the chili or serve it alongside a spicy salsa or guacamole. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can top the chili with a dollop of sour cream or shredded cheese to help balance out the heat.

No matter how you choose to serve it, this Garbage Chili recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s perfect for a cozy night in or for feeding a crowd at your next party or gathering. So grab a bowl and dig in!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Who knew
Who knew “garbage” could taste so good?

If you’re like me, you know that sometimes you just need a big pot of chili to last you through the week. Luckily, this garbage chili recipe is perfect for make-ahead meals and reheating. Here are some tips for storing and reheating your chili:


This chili recipe is perfect for making ahead of time. You can make a big batch on the weekend and have it ready for the whole week. Simply let the chili cool to room temperature and then transfer it to an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


When storing your chili, make sure to keep it in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn or odors from the fridge. If you’re storing it in the fridge, keep it on the top shelf, where it’s coldest. If you’re storing it in the freezer, make sure to label the container with the date and contents.


When reheating your chili, you can do so on the stove or in the microwave. If you’re reheating on the stove, simply heat the chili over medium-high heat until it’s warmed through. If it’s too thick, you can add a little water or broth to thin it out. If you’re reheating in the microwave, transfer the chili to a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when storing and reheating your garbage chili:

– If you’re storing the chili in the freezer, make sure to leave some room at the top of the container for expansion.

– When reheating in the microwave, cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap to prevent splatters.

– If you’re adding any toppings, like cheese or sour cream, wait until after you’ve reheated the chili to add them.

– If your chili is too spicy, you can add a little honey or red wine to mellow out the heat.

– If you’re looking for a vegan option, you can substitute the ground beef for ground turkey or a plant-based meat alternative.

Tips for Perfect Results

 This chili recipe is perfect for those on a tight budget.
This chili recipe is perfect for those on a tight budget.

Cooking the Garbage Chili recipe is a fun and easy way to get creative with your meal prep. This recipe is versatile and can be adjusted to your taste preferences. Here are some tips to help you achieve the perfect bowl of Garbage Chili.

1. Use lean ground beef

Using lean ground beef in this recipe is essential. It will give you the flavor you want without the added grease. I recommend using 80/20 lean ground beef or even turkey if you’re looking for a healthier option.

2. Don’t skimp on the spices

The spices are what make this Garbage Chili recipe stand out. Be sure to use a healthy amount of chili powder, cumin, and black pepper. You can adjust the spice level to your liking by adding more or less hot sauce.

3. Add some honey and red wine

Adding a tablespoon of honey and a splash of red wine to the Garbage Chili recipe can help balance out the acidity of the tomato sauce. It also adds a subtle sweetness that complements the spices.

4. Use fresh ingredients

Fresh ingredients always make a difference in the taste of a dish. Use fresh mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions for the best results. Diced green chilies and pitted black olives also add a nice texture and flavor to the chili.

5. Let it simmer

Letting the Garbage Chili simmer for at least an hour will allow the flavors to blend together and create a rich and flavorful sauce. Be sure to stir it occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

With these tips, you can make sure your Garbage Chili turns out perfectly every time. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and spices to create your own unique version of this classic trash plate dish.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Garbage Chili Recipe is a fantastic dish that will leave you feeling satisfied and full. This recipe is perfect for those who are looking for something hearty and comforting, yet still packed with flavor. The combination of ingredients creates a unique and delicious flavor that you won’t find in any other chili recipe.

If you’re looking for a recipe that is easy to make, versatile, and perfect for any occasion, then the Garbage Chili Recipe is the recipe for you. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, this recipe is perfect for anyone who wants to make chili at home.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your ingredients together and start cooking up a batch of Garbage Chili today! Trust me, once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back to your old chili recipe again.

Garbage Chili Recipe

A little bit of this…a little bit of that and you have chili for a crowd! This is a easy way to feed a crowd on Super Bowl Sunday or for Monday Night Football when "the guys" are all together!

  • 3 lbs lean ground beef
  • 4 (30 ounce) cans chili beans
  • 2 (12 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (32 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 lbs sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chilies
  • 1 (4 ounce) can sliced pitted black olives
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar pimento stuffed olives, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder ((to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin ((to taste)
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional)
  1. Brown ground beef with onion until beef is no longer pink. Drain.
  2. In an extra large kettle, put the ground beef and all other ingredients.
  3. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 hours.
  4. Serve with grated cheddar, fresh chopped onion, crackers and fritos for add ins if desired.
Main Course
< 4 Hours, Easy, For Large Groups, Healthy, Low Cholesterol

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