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Chili Made With Fresh Tomatoes – A Delicious Recipe Using Fresh Produce

There is nothing better than making and eating a bowl of hot chili made from fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions that came right out of the garden.

And now that garden season is quickly coming to an end, we thought it would be a perfect time to share this non-traditional garden recipe.

Over the last two months, most people have used the majority of their garden tomatoes for canning salsa, tomato juice, and pasta sauce. And when the harvest is plenty some might spend time preserving diced tomatoes and tomato sauce for use throughout the winter.

But every year, when our garden season winds down, we are admittedly tired of canning. That is when we turn to our garden to make soups, stews, and of course chili.

garden chili fresh tomatoes
A thick and hearty bowl of garden chili made with fresh tomatoes, bell peppers and onions from the garden.

The end of the season garden crops are perfect to use in all sorts of soup recipes. We use them to make our homemade vegetable soup, zesty pepper soup, creamy tomato basil soup, in addition to chili.

When we have time we will put a fire in the firepit and cook a large batch of soup in a cast iron kettle and let it simmer all day long.

But there are times when cooking over the fire just isn’t possible. So instead, we make a smaller batch in our kitchen to enjoy on a cool Fall day.

Make Extra To Freeze

Or we will make an extra batch and freeze it for a quick and easy, garden fresh meal in the middle of winter.

To make everything stack neatly in our freezer, we use Rubbermaid Take Along rectangular containers to make our Famous Soup Bricks.

There is just something satisfying about pulling out a block of fresh garden chili on a cold and snowy day in the middle of winter. Not only is it warming and delicious, it also provides us with hope, excitement, and anticipation of next year’s garden.

Fresh Garden Chili Recipe

*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.

*makes approximately 8-10 servings.


  • Butter
  • Onions
  • Ground beef
  • Garlic
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Red or green bell peppers
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • Chili beans
  • Smoked paprika
  • Ground cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Jalapeno (optional)


The first step in making garden fresh chili is to determine whether or not that you want to peel the fresh tomatoes. Although I don’t bother with process of removing the skins from the tomatoes, I know that some people don’t prefer having small peels floating in their bowl of chili.

If you do want to remove the skins, simply place the whole tomatoes in a pot of boiling water. Let them stay in the hot water for 45 seconds. Once the time is up, quickly remove them and place them in an ice bath.

Once they are cool enough to handle, use a small paring knife to make a slice in the bottom of each tomato. The peels should then easily come off.

Now it is time to dice the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into approximately 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch sections and place them in a large measuring bowl.

diced tomatoes
Whether you peel the tomatoes or not, be sure to dice them into 1/2 inch sections before adding the tomatoes to the pot.

How Many Tomatoes Do I Need?

You need 8 cups of diced tomatoes for this recipe. Although I would love to give you an exact amount of how many tomatoes that you will need, it would be very difficult to do so.

However, I can give you a little guidance in terms of weight. Two cups of chopped tomatoes equals approximately 1 pound.

Therefore, because this garden chili recipe calls for 8 cups of diced fresh tomatoes, you will need 4-5 pounds of tomatoes. I added extra weight due to the fact that you will be cutting off the tops and any bad spots on the tomatoes.

Now that you have the tomatoes cut and measured, it is time to prepare the other vegetables.

Start by dicing the onions and bell peppers. If you like your chili with a little extra heat, add in a diced jalapeno pepper as well.

Set the diced vegetables aside and place a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Then add the butter to the pot.

Once the butter melts, add the diced onions and saute until they begin to soften. This will take approximately 4-5 minutes.

Next, add the ground beef and garlic to the pot and cook until the beef is fully cooked and no longer pink.

onions and ground beef in pot
Once the onions are tender, add in the ground beef and garlic and continue to cook until the meat is cooked through.

Ground Beef Substitute

To make this chili a little healthier, substitute ground turkey, chicken or plant based crumbles in place of the beef.

You could also use a combination of beef, turkey and/or chicken. The choice is up to you.

Once the meat is cooked and the garlic is fragrant, add the remaining ingredients to the pot and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer.

Place a lid on the pot and let the garden chili simmer for at least an hour so that the fresh tomatoes can break down and release their juices.

Be sure to stir the pot often to prevent anything from sticking or burning on the bottom surface.

Serve immediately or let cool and freeze for later use. Store any leftovers in a covered dish in the refrigerator.

garden chili fresh tomatoes
Be sure to let the chili simmer for at least an hour so that the tomatoes have enough time to break down and become soft.

Can I Use Canned Tomatoes

If you don’t have fresh tomatoes to make this chili, you can use canned tomatoes instead. If you canned diced tomatoes in pint jars, use two full pints, undrained.

However if are using store-bought, canned goods, you will need 2-15 oz cans of diced tomatoes.

Then also add 2-15 oz cans of tomato sauce to the chili as well.


Mary and Jim

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Yield: 8

Fresh Garden Chili Recipe

fresh garden chili

Thick and delicious chili made from fresh ingredients from the garden.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 8 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 2 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cans chili beans, not drained
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 jalapeno (optional)


  1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add ground beef and garlic. Cook until the beef is browned.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and put the lid on and reduce heat to a slow simmer.
  5. Simmer for at least an hour.


You could substitute 2-15 oz cans of diced tomatoes and 2-15 oz cans of tomato sauce instead of using fresh tomatoes.

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 689mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 27g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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