Easy Chili Recipe with Homegrown Tomatoes

March is already here & the weather is finally starting to warm up, but our days will continue to be relatively cold until well into April. Even though I can’t wait for 70+ degree days, I also still kinda enjoy getting to bundle up on chilly days. What’s better to eat on a chilly day than a big bowl of chili? Nothing, nothing at all. I’m in zone 5b, so these pictures are from October when I used my last batch of tomatoes, therefore you’ll have to forgive me for using old pics. The pics might be a few months old, but the recipe is a classic. Keep on keeping on to see it.

chili recipe with homegrown tomatoes
Its lack of looks is made up with its taste!


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon of Better than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base
  • 4 cups of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • 1 can of kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder & paprika to taste


  1. Using a large pot, cook the olive oil on low heat. Throw in onion & garlic & saute until lightly browned.
  2. Add ground beef. Cook until the meat is browned completely. Make sure to drain the fat once the meat is cooked.
  3. Add in better than bouillon, tomatoes, basil, kidney beans & seasonings. Stir well.
  4. Cook on low for 2 hours or until the tomatoes have fully broken down.
  5. Enjoy!


  • Experiment with different seasonings & meats. Chili is the ultimate throw-in everything, leave it on the stove & enjoy meal. I love Better than Bouillon, but it’s not necessary for this recipe. Flavor it with what you enjoy!
  • I like to go big & garnish my chili with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, bacon & Fritos, but your toppings are up to you. Go healthy or not healthy at all!
  • You can substitute the tomatoes for tomato sauce. Check out my killer tomato sauce recipe.
chopped tomatoes
Tomatoes make me happy.

I never liked chili when I was a kid, so I’m a late convert over here. I had a real aversion to chunky foods & chili was never up my alley. It wasn’t until relatively recently that I decided to make chili one day using some of the tomatoes that I grew. I’m so glad that I made that decision because it’s one of the easiest, most delicious & comforting foods that you can make. There really is nothing like sitting down to a big bowl of chili, especially when it’s paired with sour cream, cheddar cheese & Fritos! But then again, anything tastes good with sour cream, cheddar cheese & Fritos, but I digress.

browning beef.
Brown that beef!

Looking at these pictures just makes me jealous of autumn me when I had all of those homegrown tomatoes. I keep telling myself that summer will be here soon & I’ll be able to grow all of the tomatoes that I can handle soon enough. I pretty much have more tomato seeds than I can handle with limited space, but every year I find that I never have enough tomatoes. Maybe this will be the year that I’ll get the tomato jungle of my dreams. Growing your own tomatoes is really one of life’s greatest little joys. I say it up, down & all over town on this site, but growing your own food is such a rewarding experience.

cooking chili
Everyone’s all here!

Luckily for me, I don’t have to wait until summer for my first tomato crop. I have been diligently growing my own tomatoes in my AeroGarden Harvest for over a month now. So far, I chronicled the planting process, as well as a one-month update. I plan to do a full update once the tomatoes start to make their appearance, so I won’t go into full detail here about the progress. However, I will say that the tomato plants have been an unstoppable growing force that has been a challenge to tame. They have long grown too large to fit their hydroponic system, even with me pruning them about every other day at this point. The plants have put out a ton of flower buds too. The first of the yellow flowers started to open this week! Needless to say, I’m on pins & needles waiting for the tomatoes to start coming in!

making homemade chili
& fin.

Don’t mind me, creating this recipe just made me want to make chili all over again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to grow enough cherry tomatoes in my AeroGarden to make it, or else I will have to wait until summer for a homegrown feast like this again. My closing advice to you, dear readers, is to grow your own tomatoes if you can. Because store-bought is fine, but homegrown is better. Growing your own food, in general, is a delicious endeavor, but growing your own tomatoes is on another level entirely. Join us! You won’t regret it! Happy gardening, everyone!

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