Spicy Salsa Chili

spicy salsa chiliMost of my best recipes are born out of creativity, made necessary by poor planning and laziness. I’ll get a hankerin’ for something – like spicy homemade chili, but I’ll realize that I don’t have all of the ingredients in my pantry. So…rather than running to the store (because y’all know my hair is NOT ready for public viewing most days), I see what I do have in the pantry and run with it. Sometimes, what I make is a flop. But other times, my frankenrecipe becomes a household favorite

Salsa chili is definitely in the favorite category!

The great thing is, you can customize ANY chili recipe with my salsa technique. I know a lot of you out there probably have a favorite chili recipe. So go ahead and use it…just modify a little.

And if you don’t have a family favorite chili recipe, I’m going to share ours with you! The chili we make actually comes from a recipe given to us by a friend of my mom’s. (Thanks, Amy!)

To make this recipe, you need ground beef, a jar of salsa, a can of tomato sauce (or a can of diced tomatoes), a small onion (or half of a large onion), 1-2 ribs of celery, a can of kidney beans, and chili powder. I like to make my own homemade chili powder instead of using the store-bought stuff. That way, I can customize the amount of heat in the chili. Plus, homemade always tastes better!

Start by browning the ground beef in a pan with chopped onions and celery.

making homemade chili

Drain the fat from the pan and add your other ingredients except beans. If you want to make the chili powder from scratch, check out our recipe for homemade chili powder from earlier this week! If not, store-bought is fine too.

Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. Then add the beans and heat for 10 more minutes or so, until the beans are hot.

homemade salsa chili

So, normally, chili doesn’t include salsa. Usually, it includes one can of diced tomatoes and one jar of tomato sauce. I didn’t have sauce, so I used salsa instead. It made a really chunky, but delicious chili. I’ve also made is with salsa and sauce, but now tomatoes. The result in this case is less chunky and more stew-like.

Either way, it’s totally taste. So use two of the following: salsa, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. No matter what the combination you use, this chili rocks. I like the salsa best because it means I can easily customize the heat level by choosing mild, medium, or hot salsa.

I like to sprinkle my chili with cheese and add a dollop of sour cream. Sometimes, we have it with crushed saltine crackers too, which is especially tasty if you make the chili on the spice side and need to cut the heat a little.

salsa chili

Here’s the printable:

Spicy Salsa Chili
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 1-2 ribs of celery (chopped)
  • 1 can salsa
  • 1 can diced tomatoes or 1 jar tomato sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  1. Brown ground beef with onions, and celery over medium high heat.
  2. Drain fat.
  3. Add all other ingredients except beans and simmer covered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add beans and simmer uncovered for 5-10 more minutes.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of cheese, sour cream, and crackers.


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Allison is one of the co-founders here at The PinterTest Kitchen. She also works as a content marketing consultant and freelance writer - find out more at AllisonBoyer.com.

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