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Best Recipes For Sausage Chili and Meatless Chili

Updated on October 9, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty collects recipes and gadgets from the past and is particularly interested in early American history and all Indigenous Peoples.

Chili Was Popular in the Old American West

1902 trail drive in the American West.
1902 trail drive in the American West. | Source

Favorite Chili Recipes With Sausage and No Meat at All

Chili was great on trail drives in the Old West, especially since beef cattle were a major commodity of the western territories before the first railroad engine puffed through the land. Beans, onions, meat, some tomatoes and some peppers made the dish handy for its simple ingredients. Today, we have dozens of variations.

Here are two good chili recipes that I enjoy and hope that you will find them appetizing. The first recipes uses Italian sausage, while the second dish is completely meatless.

For the first recipe, try substituting any kind of meat that you like. This can also be half Italian sausage and half beef, half sausage and half cut-up pepperoni (like a pizza), half sausage and half chunked white meat chicken, or some other experimental combination to imagine.

Chili Origins

It is believed that chili began sometime before the American Civil War, among Texas trail hands. Th story goes that the trail cook assigned to the cattle drive (as in TV's Rawhide) had to feed a lot of men on the long trail journeys with whatever he had on hand. Sometimes he had to use whatever he could find along the trail - they had road kill even in the 1800s.

Meats that were used on the trail most often included beef, buffalo, venison, and rattlesnake. In fact, these meats are often still used today, with the includion of beefalo, a beef-bison hybrid with more protein and less fat. All sorts of meats have been used in chili since that time - moose, elk and caribou in Canada and Alaska, for instance.

On the trail, beef was made into chili bricks by pounding out dried beef or other meats with fat, chilies, and salt. These chunks could be thrown into hot water and boiled for stews whenever they were needed. They were a sort of dehydrated soup/chili mix. Today, survival foodstuffs stores will sell something similar in packets.


Italian Sausage Chili

Equipment and Tools

  • Clean and Sanitized Cutting Board.
  • Kitchen Knives
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Measuring Cup
  • Can Opener
  • Small Saucepan
  • Cast Iron Skillet with Lid
  • Mixing Spoon


  • 3 Celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 Medium onion, chopped -- For a more Mexican style, slice up some green onion instread; use all the whites and part of the greens.
  • ½ Cup chopped green pepper
  • ½ Cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • About a pound, more or less, of Italian sausage links, without casing
  • 1 15-ounce can stewed tomatoes, with juice (use brands with added spices if you wish)
  • 1 15-ounce can any type of kidney beans, drained -- You ight save the liquid for gravy later.
  • 2 Cups water
  • 5 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green chilies
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ Cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 Bunch green onions, including half of green tails, chopped (for garnish) -- You might want to place about a whole trimmed onion on top of each bowlful of chili if you have green onions sliced into the chili already. Lay the onion across the cheese topping.


  • Chop the vegetables or buy pre-chopped or chopped-frozen.
  • In the bottom of a small saucepan, pour EVOO to just cover the bottom.
  • Sauté the celery, onion and sweet peppers in the oil until tender-crisp. Don't overcook..Reove from heat and set aside.
  • Pour EVOO to cover the bottom of the skillet and break the sausage meat into it. Cook over medium-high heat until sausage is completely browned. Drain excess grease and return skillet to heat.
  • Stir tomatoes, kidney beans, water, tomato paste, chilies, and seasonings into the skillet.
  • Bring the meat mixture to a hard boil and reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Simmer uncovered about 30 minutes or until well thickened.
  • Spoon into serving bowls and garnish with sprinkled shredded cheese and chopped green onions.

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: 4 delicious servings

Rate This Chili!

5 stars from 1 rating of Italian Sausage Chili

Meatless Chili

Serves four bowls of chili.

  • Preparation......20 Min
  • Cooking Time...10 Min
  • Ready In...........30 Min


  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 Clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Celery rib, chopped
  • 1 Medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 Medium zucchini, chopped
  • 15 oz Can tomatoes, with juice
  • 15 oz Can kidney beans, drained
  • 8 oz Can tomato sauce
  • ½ Cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Chili powder
  • ½ tsp Hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper


  • Chopped green onions, scallions or chives
  • Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheeses
  • Jalapeño rings
  • Avocado slices.


  • In a large quart saucepan, heat the EVOO.
  • Sauté together the garlic, green pepper, celery, onion, carrot, and zucchini until tender-crisp.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring the whole to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until heated through.
  • Place in serving bowls and garnish as desired.

The International Chili Society and Cookoffs

  • International Chili Society is a Worldwide Chili Cook Off contest. it sponsors a a blog, recipes and other informartion. Get a free magazine subsription by registering online.
  • A Bowl of Red -- What is "Red"? Red is the nickname for a certain type of American chili and this site presents a great chili cookoff in the American West. Originally, this was the Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert - Wick Fowler Championship Chili Cook Off. That's a long name! It's still a lot of fun and good eats.

Tribute to the American Western

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS


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