Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Green Tomato Chili

October 28, 2011
 The end is near, I saw my breath when I stepped outside this morning and although we haven’t seen any, Meteorologist Hutch Johnson has been throwing the s-word around for a few days now. I noticed they had a blizzard in Denver yesterday.

At least my ‘lil one will have her witch costume covered only by a coat and not a snowsuit this Halloween. The smartest costume I saw last year was the neighbor girl dressed as a snowmobiler… practical… although it would’ve been much more clever if she had thought to tell people she was Todd Palin.

Anyhoo, I think my gardening days are doneskies.

I pulled up all my glorious tomato plants and gathered what green tomatoes were left, turns out quite a few. There is probably a reason no one else grows heirloom tomatoes up here, they grow too slow or need many more hot days than is possible this far north.

I’m not going to start admitting now that my all organic, sustainable, urban gardener ways may have been slightly misguided. I did too much scoffing at everyone else’s puny tomato plants this summer to acknowledge the fact that their tomatoes actually ripened, while most of mine did not.

Nonetheless, I’ve got buckets of green tomatoes on my hands and am rapidly thinking of ways to use them. I’ve deduced that anywhere a tomatillo would work, so would a green tomato. They have a similar texture and tartness. What better to cut through the spice and beefy-richness of chili than some sharp green tomatoes?

Oh yeah, add some aged sharp cheddar on top. Washing this down with a Fanta never hurt either.

Green Tomato Chili

Yield: 8-10


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced (you can leave seeds in if you like things spicy)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 pound dry pinto beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 3 large green tomatoes, diced
  • 6 cups chicken broth, stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems chopped


  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add garlic, celery, bell peppers, and jalapeños and continue cooking until browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add ground beef, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and coriander and stir, breaking meat up with the back of your spoon. Cook until beef is browned, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Add beans, tomatoes, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Add salt and cook another hour. Taste and add more salt as needed; stir in cilantro right before serving.

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  • Trout Caviar October 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Kate, I hate to break it to you, but you live in North Dakota: the end is always near(!). We’ve had a remarkably extended Indian summer here in Minne’Sconsin, too, and your chili looks like a great way to use up some green tomatoes. I like the Fanta in the picture, too!

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now. Lots of appetizing stuff here. May winter spare your home on the plains for many more weeks.

    p.s.- You have a very chef-like typo in this post, where you wrote “cleaver” for “clever”!


  • Kate Ramos October 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Ha Ha Brett! I meant to say cleaver. Good Eye!

    Thanks for reading!

  • c3db38aa-9c90-11e0-8237-000bcdcb471e November 10, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    *You know that real chili has NO beans!!!! Have you never visited Texas?
    **Pick your heirloom tomatoes just as they turn from solid green to yellow, then bring inside & put in a paper sack. They’ll ripen in no time and taste like they ripened on the vine. The reason is because you didn’t thin them so they grew too close together. No problem, tho’ are still much better than the regular kind.
    ***Green tomatoes??? Try slicing them and dipping in an egg wash w/ milk then in corn meal and fry. “Fried Green Tomatoes” YUMMmmmmmmmm.
    If you have a spare room in the house, you can always dig up a few and bring them inside and let them continue producing all winter. Surprise your neighbors with fresh from the “garden” tomatoes in January! 🙂