Mom’s Green Bean Chili

This fun Green Bean Chili is an easy one pot meal that’s kid friendly too!

This Green Bean Chili is easy to make and great for kids!

I’ve mentioned before I was kind of a picky kid. I always tell myself my future children won’t be picky. They’ll love eating a variety of healthy and delicious foods, and they’ll never complain or refuse to try something new. And then I realize what will really happen is payback. Big time. My children will probably organize a sit-in against broccoli and then bring their friends over to picket me while I’m making dinner. Apparently, my children will also be very into non-violent resistance.

Included on the long list of things I didn’t like as a child was chili. I hated kidney beans, and I thought chili was too acidic and, I don’t know, tomato-y?? to be fit for consumption. Silly, silly me.

My mom came up with this green bean chili when I refused to eat kidney beans! Easy to make and great for kids!

Not to be deterred, my mom came up with her own chili recipe that I would actually eat. She used green beans in place of kidney beans and added some curly rotini pasta. What kid can resist pasta? It was a weakness then, and it’s a weakness now. Luckily for all of us, her trickery worked and I’ve been enjoying this chili ever since.

This recipe is beyond easy to make and comes together in a single pot. It has all the chili standards–ground beef, onion, tomatoes–along with mom’s clever additions. The tomato base for this is mild and slightly sweet. My family was never much for the spicy food, but you could spice it up with a little cayenne or throw a jalapeno in there if you’d like.

This Green Bean Chili is a family favorite! Easy comfort food for a fall night.

Here’s the other thing you need to know about Mom’s chili. It must be served with a generous sprinkling of shredded cheese, Ritz crackers, and a dollop of sour cream. (Unless you’re my brother, who doesn’t like sour cream <<<WHAT???! HOW ARE WE RELATED?)

The anatomy of the perfect bite of mom’s chili looks like this: a curly pasta, a few hunks of ground beef and tomatoes, at least one green bean, a swirl of sour cream, a crunch of cracker, and a string of melty cheese. When you get that bite–the tangy sour cream melting into the tomato sauce, the crackers adding salt and texture, and the cheese, well, being cheese–there are big, fat, chili-sparked fireworks.

This Green Bean Chili is easy to make and great for tailgating or weeknight dinners!

Mom's Green Bean Chili

Mom's Green Bean Chili

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 can chunk tomatoes
  • 24 ounces (3 cups) tomato juice
  • 1 can green beans, drained
  • 4 ounces rotini pasta


  1. Combine the onion and ground beef in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until no pink remains. Drain the excess fat.
  2. Add the brown sugar, flour, chili powder, tomatoes, tomato juice, and green beans. Stir until well combined. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often.
  3. Add the rotini to the pot and continue to cook, stirring often, until pasta is al dente, about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and Ritz crackers.


This recipe can easily be doubled to feed more people. This also freezes well. If you'd like to freeze it, omit the pasta, freeze, then add the pasta when reheating.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Wow! Courtney, your chili pics showcase the chili much better than when I made it. Great post.
    Glad I “tricked” you! 🙂 Makes me want to make chili right now. Love you, Mom.

  2. I have been waiting for this day when you post your mom’s chili recipe! One time when I came to visit your house in college, she made it and I loved it! This is going on my ‘to make’ list, pronto!

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