New Year’s Smoky BBQ Chili with Flat & Crispy Cornbread



I’ve never been a big fan of black eyed peas which is a bit strange given how much I love beans and legumes. I’ve made black eyed pea soups in the past and was always left a bit disappointed with them. I felt like I was just slurping broth and chomping on black eyed peas. Not all that exciting.

I finally realized this year if I was going to enjoy them, I needed to amp up the flavours in the dish!

That’s where this chili comes in.


This year, I made chili instead of soup because I suspected the peas would pair well with the chili’s texture and flavours. I gave this chili a smoky and spicy BBQ flavour and it really brought everything together really well. I’m happy to report there was no disappointment with this black eyed pea recipe.


Instead of serving it with traditional cornbread, I was craving something flat and crispy so I came up with this crispy cornbread, which reminds me a bit of Socca chickpea bread. Like traditional cornbread and Socca, this version is cooked in a cast iron skillet for the crispiest texture and unlike traditional cornbread, it doesn’t have a delicate texture which makes it great for dipping into chili and soup. The flavour is lightly sweet with a crisp-around-the-edges and chewy-in-the-centre texture. A definite winner for sure!


As I type this, I really want to go back to the kitchen for more…..can I just give you my chicken scratch and call it a year?


Penmanship was never one of my strong suits. I think one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to write my recipes down neatly, or at least, legible.

Ok, ok, I will type it out. For your sake and mine…

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New Year’s Smoky BBQ Chili

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I almost forget the black eyed peas were in there. If you’re like me, that’s never a bad thing. Here’s to a lucky 2012!

Yield: 5 cups


  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 2.5 tbsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 cup dry/uncooked black eyed peas
  • 3/4 cup dry/uncooked black beans
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, liquid drained
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste, to thicken
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flax), to thicken
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 tbsp your fav BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • couple handfuls of chopped spinach, or other greens like collard, kale, etc


1. Soak the beans in water overnight or for at least 3-4 hours. This part is optional, but it helps reduce cook time and makes the beans more digestible. Rinse and drain beans before using. In a large pot, add the oil and sauté the onion and garlic over medium-low heat for about 5-6 minutes, until translucent.

2. Add in the pepper and optional jalapeno and sauté for another 3-5 minutes.

3. Stir in the spices (chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne) and sauté on low another couple minutes. If you want, you can add just a bit for now and then add the rest to taste after it has cooked.

4. Add the dry black beans and black eyed peas, broth, and drained diced tomatoes. Stir well. Now stir in the tomato paste. Simmer on low with the lid ajar for about 2.5 hours, checking often to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it does, add a bit more broth to thin out.

5. About 15 minutes before it’s done cooking, stir in the chia seeds, corn, and chopped greens. The chia helps thicken the chili. Also stir in the BBQ sauce, starting with 1 tbsp at a time and tasting as you go. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be made 2-3 days in advance and frozen if preferred.

Note: You can probably use canned beans, but you won’t need as much broth. I would add it slowly.


I was very excited to use my Kirkland pot (from Costco) that my mother in law Margaret gave me for X-mas! I’m loving it so far.


Every good chili recipe needs a secret ingredient. This BBQ sauce is the “special twist” in this recipe.


A couple tablespoons just brings all the spices together so nicely.

As with other chili recipes, making it in advance works to your advantage. I like making it the day before so the flavours can mingle overnight.


I also used chia seeds to thicken it, but you can use ground flax instead. I’ve heard that some people use cornmeal to thicken chili. I will have to try that next time!

This flat cornbread (shown above and below) was my very first trial. I made it in a square baking pan instead of a cast iron skillet. It crisped on the edges, but it had a very soft and bendy texture.


I noticed a huge difference when I used my cast iron skillet! It got a lot more chewy and crispy in the skillet. I picked up this skillet from Loblaws. I think it’s President’s Choice brand and only set me back about $9-10 bucks.


Note to self: Clean dried chili off the oven.

Flat & Crispy Cornbread

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Flat, chewy, crispy, “buttery” and lightly sweet tasting, this cornbread is the perfect vehicle for chili or other winter soup. You can also eat it on its own or with your favourite spread for breakfast or a snack.

Yield: 4-6 pieces


  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour (or flour of choice)
  • generous 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (or oil of choice or earth balance)
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (for coating skillet)


1. Preheat oven to medium broil (#3 on my oven). Place an 8-10 inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to pre-heat. In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar). Now whisk in the water and melted 1/2 tbsp coconut oil.

2. Microwave batter on high for 60 seconds. Batter will have thickened up a bit and cooked around the edges. Whisk vigorously until all clumps are gone. Place back in microwave and heat on high for another 20 seconds. Remove and whisk well until no clumps remain.

3. Carefully remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Add 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil. Move it back and forth to coat bottom and edges.

4. Pour batter into the skillet and quickly spread it around with the back of a large spoon. It’s ok if it doesn’t touch the edges perfectly. This will depend on the size of your skillet.

5. Place skillet in the oven and broil over medium heat for 10 minutes, watching it very closely as oven temperatures will vary! I kept an eye on it the entire time. When edges start to blacken (for me, after 10 minutes) remove carefully and gently flip it over using a flat metal spatula. Bake for an additional 2 minutes on the other side watching very closely.

6. Remove and let it sit in the skillet for 3-5 minutes. Place on cutting board and slice into 4-6 pieces. You can slice off any blackened edges if necessary, but a little bit adds to the fun.


I wasn’t expecting much from this cornbread, but I could not stop eating it.


I had a few slices for breakfast this morning and I had to peel myself away from it to keep from eating the entire thing! It’s just perfect on it’s own and even better dipped into chili. I can see myself having a lot of fun adapting this recipe.


Well, that’s a wrap for 2011 I guess. :)

Thank you for making 2011 an exciting, fun, and memorable year for me. I am so thankful for everyone of you who have impacted my life in so many positive ways.

I wish you a 2012 filled with glowing health, love, happiness, and the courage to follow your dreams.

I’ll catch you on the flip side!

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram (@ohsheglows + @theglowspot), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

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{ 144 comments… read them below or add one }

Joann@womaninreallife December 31, 2011

That cornbread looks awesome! I love chili, especially for a crowd. My mom always made it for large groups (with meat). Mine is sans meat, usually a recipe from Garden of Vegan. Good for you for posting all those lovely photos today, when it would be easy to do nothing! Have a wonderful 2012.


Melody December 31, 2011

Stubbs BBQ is in Austin TX! Though their vegan options are extremely limited (think green salad or dry baked potato), this place is a great venue for live music. If you ever make it this way, let me know. We have a great Vegan community and will welcome you with open arms. Love your website, Happy New Year!


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 1, 2012

Hey Melody, Thank you I just may have to come for a visit!! :)


Anne@BakingMe December 31, 2011

Wow this looks great! What a perfect New Year’s Eve feast.


Kate December 31, 2011

yum i love the idea of a crispy cornbread!


Audrey December 31, 2011

This looks delicious! I’m especially eying that flatbread! Is there a way to make it without using the microwave?


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 31, 2011

I would imagine you could heat it on the stovetop too :) Just until it thickens up a bit.


Crystal @ Tea Leaves and Vanilla December 31, 2011

Mmm I love chili! Usually we eat it with tortilla chips. I should make a batch of chili soon!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 31, 2011

Don’t you love Costco??! I think that’s awesome that their pot looks very much like a Le Creuset one (although probably costs a fraction!!) I had to laugh at your recipe photo because that’s exactly what mine look like before I type them up too. Happy New Year Ange! :) Thank you for everything!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 31, 2011

Yea it’s a knock off for sure…and way cheaper! Ive always had success with Kirkland products, so I hope this is the same. Happy NY to you as well!


Tricia December 31, 2011

I’d be very interested to hear how your enamel pot performs over time. I soon have to say goodbye to my ancient Le Creuset and would very happily replace it with Kirkland or similar if it holds up as well.


Pure2raw twins December 31, 2011

yum! this sounds like the perfect New Year meal!! that cornbread looks amazing


Lexi @ A Spoonful of Sunshine December 31, 2011

Mmmm I love cornbread.

Have you ever tried Susan at FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s Black-eyed Pea Portabello Soup?

It made a believer out of both my family and me :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 31, 2011

Nope but I will have to try that out!


Bitt December 31, 2011

Mmm I live Chili. Do you mean to soak the dry beans prior?


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes December 31, 2011

I’ve never tried black eyed peas before! I will be making this though! Happy New Year :D


Becca December 31, 2011

This Black Eyed Pea recipe sounds really devine, but I have to say that I really enjoyed your Black Eyed Pea Masala from January 2011. Can’t forget about that yummy dish! Maybe I’ll just make both.

Thanks for another great year on OSG! It was a year full of fun and deliciousness.

P.S. I know you are super busy, but I can’t wait to see a Winter themed-header. :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 31, 2011

heh I’ve actually been waiting for a sunny day…they don’t come by too often!


Anna @ The Guiltless Life December 31, 2011

Ooh I don’t even need to put out there how much I love cornbread; I think pretty much everyone does!!! Chili is something I honestly haven’t had since going vegetarian…so I am excited to try this recipe! Have a wonderful New Year Ange!


Erika - The Teenage Taste December 31, 2011

Way to end the year with a bang, Angela! This chili and cornbread look fabulous! I love Stubb’s BBQ sauce! :-)


Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles December 31, 2011

That crispy flat cornbread looks TO DIE FOR!!


Silvia @ skinny jeans food December 31, 2011

happy 2012, Angela!


Maria Carolina December 31, 2011

WoW looks delicious! Will be making soon! Just one question: did you add corn kernels? I see them in the pictures but not in the recipe….?


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 31, 2011

added that in…I used 1 cup frozen kernels :)


katie@ KatieDid December 31, 2011

I received a very similar cast iron for christmas. A le creuset in red as well and I’ve been adoring it! And I love how simple that cornbread looks, I have all those ingredients on hand, in fact I just finished making a polenta bake with the cornmeal. Happy New Year!!


Emily (Edible Psychology) December 31, 2011

Wow, these recipes look delicious – as always! I have used red lentils to thicken chilli, and that also worked well. I’ll have to try using chia seeds sometime.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and that 2012 is a great year for you! I have been so inspired by your blog and look forward to each new post.



Angela (Oh She Glows) December 31, 2011

Red lentils are a great tip to thicken it up…will have to try that. Happy New Year Emily!


Emily (Edible Psychology) January 1, 2012

Thank you! :-)


Debi December 31, 2011

Happy New Year to you too! Your recipes are fantastic, and thank you for making my transition from vegetarian to vegan so tasty and simple. Making this chili next week :))


Kaila @healthyhelperblog! December 31, 2011

Chili and cornbread… ultimate comfort food. This meal looks incredible!


Ellie@Fit for the Soul December 31, 2011

Oh I want some crispy cornbread! Anything with corn is its own food group, seriously! And Angela…I have to say that not only does this meal look amazing, but I think that this group of photos is by far my favorite from you! I feel like the color scheme, lighting, angles are all so beautifully harmonized! The end. :D
ps: what lens did you use for these, if you don’t mind my asking?


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 31, 2011

thank you Ellie! I credit the new dishes Eric got me for Christmas, heh. I use the Canon 1.4 50 mm macro lens.


Amber K December 31, 2011

This looks delicious. Hope you have a great 2012!


Char @ December 31, 2011

Chili & cornbread is one of the best winter comfort foods! Happy New Year, Angela! :)


Vivian Leung December 31, 2011

Love the twist on traditional corn bread, can`t wait to give it a try!


Lorinda @ Everyday Endeavours December 31, 2011

That cornbread looks amazing! I really need to get myself a cast iron frying pan… Funnily enough, I can’t seem to find black eyed peas over here on the West Coast. Seems I’m not missing out on much? ;-) Good for you for trying to make them work. Looks like success to me!


TeenyLittleSuperChef December 31, 2011

Oh wow, what a great New Year’s recipe! I love the addition of black-eyed peas to the chili. Or as they see in the great state of Tejas, “Texas Caviar.” I was so excited to see you using Stubb’s barbeque sauce. They used to make that stuff down the road from me back when I lived in Austin. Doesn’t get better than that :) Do you think I could substitute liquid smoke for the smoked paprika or would that be a totally different flavor? Just wondering because I don’t have the paprika and don’t want to fight the crowds at the grocery store.
I hope you have a great New Year’s Eve.


JL December 31, 2011

Yes! Stubbs!!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 1, 2012

I was actually thinking liquid smoke would be great in this, although I’ve never used it myself!

Happy New Year!


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga December 31, 2011

That big ole cornbread pancake looks like something my hubs would love! And that it’s a one skillet easy recipe is even better! And it gets so crispy and crunchy looking…yum.

Perfect with the smoky chili.

I hope you have a wonderful 2012 and that all your dreams come true! :)


Colleen December 31, 2011

Happy New Year, Angela! Thanks for 2 more delicious sounding recipes.


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 31, 2011

Thank you for reading my mind – I was just at the farmer’s market shopping with the idea that I need to make chili this week! This looks great – especially that corn bread!


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen December 31, 2011

I’ve never had black eyed peas on New Year’s and I honestly can’t remember ever cooking with them but who doesn’t love a good chili? :)
I’d love to try this flat crispy corn bread out, I love the flavor of cornbread but the crumbly part really doesn’t make it so practical for dipping!


Nadiya December 31, 2011

That looks like a healthy and hearty way to start of the new year. Never tried crispy cornbread, so that’s one more thing on the list for next year. Happy New Year everyone! :)


Lisa (bakebikeblog) December 31, 2011

Wishing you all the very best for 2012!!


PoochesForPeace(Anna H.) December 31, 2011

happy new years eve!!! I made your pumpkin chocolate brownies with the pecan topping this morning and had one for breakfast. couldnt help myself :) they are irresistable!


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 1, 2012

Glad you enjoyed them Anna!


Katie December 31, 2011

Looks delicious! Love Stubbs BBQ sauce-the Hickory one is my favorite :)
Happy New Year!


Kayley Ray December 31, 2011

WHY have I never thought of this?!? I’ve always been that annoying person who peels off the crispy edges of the cornbread from the sides touching the skillet. I’m SO glad I read this recipe! Never again will I make cornbread the traditional way!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers December 31, 2011

The Chili and Flatbread look amazing! What wonderful comfort food!


Kris | December 31, 2011

Happy New Year Girl!! I hope you and Eric have a wonderful evening and a VERY FAB 2012!!!! WOOO HOOOO!!! Big things are happening this year!



Red December 31, 2011

Ohhhh, spicy Stubb’s is the best! I’ll have to try this!


Luv What You Do December 31, 2011

I have never had black eyed peas, but after seeing your pictures, I actually want to try them!
The chili looks great!


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