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

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 31, 2011


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…

IMG_5883 IMG_5903


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!

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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Page 3 of 3«123
MomoVegan January 8, 2012 at 11:13 am

Thank-you for a very well done site. My daughter turned vegan this year and has been diligent about making sure she had a balanced diet. I was not very pleased with reading many of the labels on items and noting all the chemicals added to the food. She introduced me to your website. I just finished assembling the smoky chili recipe and it is now simmering! It smells delightful, and mys sample tastings (opps) prove that it is everything you said it was! My family truly appreciates how your site uses real food! Thank-you for making healthy eating fun and tasty!


MomoVegan January 8, 2012 at 11:17 am

Thank-you for a very well done site. Our family turned vegan this year. (health reasons) I was not very pleased with reading many of the labels on items and noting all the chemicals added to the food. A dear friend introduced me to your website. I just finished assembling the smoky chili recipe and it is now simmering! It smells delightful, and my sample tastings prove that it is everything you said it was! I appreciate how your site uses real food! Keep up the good work.


Caroline January 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm

This is so yummy, I’d recommend it to anyone. Thank you for posting such lovely recipes :)


Juliana Booker January 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I don’t have a microwave so I did step 2 in a saucepan. I also only have one broil setting but that didn’t seem to make a difference either. Worked perfectly — so perfectly that I made them twice in one week!


Sowmya January 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I only have Hi & Lo options on the broil function in my oven! Can you tell me which is preferable? I have never attempted cornbread before & would like to try your recipe, since my husband loves chili and bread.


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I would try LO and then keep and eye on it…better to be safe than sorry I think!


christina January 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm

thanks for sharing! really enjoyed it & posted about it on my own blog. look forward to reading your blog regularly from now on!


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Glad to hear that!


Nicole January 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

First of all, just want to say I am a huge fan of so many of your recipes! Every one i’ve tried has come out beautifully. I’m sad to say I tried the crispy flat corn bread last night (to accompany some slow cooked sweet potato chili I made), and it didn’t turn out like I had hoped at all! My oven doesn’t have any different broil settings…so I think that may have been the problem. I have the bottom drawer broiler and I was terrified I would just burn it if cooked in their entirely…so I cooked it at 475 until almost done then threw it in broiler below to crisp up. The bread came out more tasting like a very thin, firm pancake? It was only crisp around the edges, but it also had barely any corn taste. Other than using earth balance instead of coconut oil, I followed the rest of the ingredients exactly. Do you think just not broiling it is the reason it didn’t come out right? It wasn’t bad, but certainly not very corn-like and not suitable to pair with a chili. Help! I was so excited about this. Should I just try again and broil it??


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 17, 2012 at 8:42 am

Hey Nicole, I’m sorry to hear that! Your description of a firm pancake texture is exactly how I would describe it! I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but it sounds like it came out how it should have.


Nicole January 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Hmm. Well we did like it, just not with the chili and it wasn’t what I expected, mainly bc the corn taste was not very strong. Maybe I will increase the cornmeal and play around with broiling it again. Thanks tho! (This certainly won’t discourage me from reading and trying many more recipes tho!)


Natalie January 31, 2012 at 1:15 am

I just made this recipe and WOW! I love chili and missed it dearly ever since becoming a vegetarian, but this recipe made me feel like I wasn’t missing out on anything! Thanks for sharing!


Hollie November 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Hey Angela! I just made this using kaput flour in place of whole wheat and sucanat. It’s tasty! Thanks for the variation on cornbread! I think it’ll be a great little for when the kids come home from school, too!


Hollie November 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Oops! Kamut! Auto correct…


Sarah Rossall November 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Wow! This is probably the BEST chili I have ever had! I am often disappointed by vegan recipes but this was quite the opposite. My husband couldn’t stop saying how good it was. I made a few modifications that I would like to share…I used a can of kidney beans and a can of black beans instead of using dried beans. I then used 2 cups of veggie broth instead of 6, and added homemade seitan (around 1lb) that I broke up into chunks to resemble the shape/appearance of ground beef in chili. My brother thinks that only meat chili can taste good, hopefully I can prove him wrong :) This chili was contest-worthy!


Christie November 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm

What if you don’t have a cast iron skillet ? Is there another way to cook the corn bread?


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

You could probably just use a square 9inch pan? It wont get as crispy as the cast iron but it should work in a pinch.


Britt Avery December 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Angela! I am making this for 10 adults and a handful of children for New Years this year! We will all be in the woods. Can I make this a night in advance? If so, how would you reccommend I store it? Freeze, refrigerate? Also, I will be using canned beans instead of soaked, will that make a difference? Thank you! My hubs and I loved this and are very excited to share it with our carniverous friends! I love surprising them:)


Krisha March 11, 2013 at 10:18 am

Hi there, I made your cornbread this weekend and it was a hit, using coconut oil gives it an amazing coconutty flavour! I wanted to ask, though, why you microwave the batter? Likely to thicken it up a bit, but I found the bread to be rubbery after baking, which I think is from microwaving the batter. Is there away to bake this without microwaving it?


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 11, 2013 at 11:39 am

Hi Krisha, I microwaved it to “set” the batter I think, but I’m sure it would work fine without doing so. Maybe you can just let it stand for 10-15 minutes before baking. I haven’t tried it personally but let me know how it goes if you do try it!


Shannon Morgan April 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm

This cornbread is delish!! I had blue cornmeal, so I used it. My hubby and I loved it so much that I had to make a second batch after dinner so as to have some for the left over chili. Thanks for a great website. Everything we have tried is great!


Katie May 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Any suggestions of how I could make the chili in a crock pot? I am cooking in a kitchen with very little resources haha.

Thanks :)


Sam June 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Hi There,
This recipe looks delicious, could you make it in a pressure cooker?


Jen August 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm

I made this yesterday, and it was my first time eating black eyed peas. I used all peas and no black beans, and it is delicious! It does have a little more spice than I am used to. I will definitely make this again!


Lindsay October 31, 2013 at 2:42 pm

This chili was so good I was sad when I finished up the last of the left overs. it will definitely be doubled next time and frozen!


Katie November 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Hi! I am wondering how you might be able to make this great dish in a slow cooker, as I will need to be out of the house longer than 2.5 hours. Is it still possible? I really want to make it!


Becky November 4, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Hey all! I’m going to make this tonight. If I soaked the beans and black eyed peas prior, do I still need to cook this for 2.5 hours?

Thanks in advance for your help!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 5, 2013 at 9:22 am

Hey Becky! No, I don’t think it’s necessary to cook for that long. As long as the beans are cooked through and fork tender, you should be just fine! Enjoy


Mychael McNeeley November 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Becky, I also had precooked the beans. I just threw in everything except the beans, corn, spinach, Chia and BBQ Sauce and cooked that on low for about 45 minutes or so, just to meld the flavors, then put in the beans and other stuff and continued to cook slowly for a while more. It was really ready to eat in about an hour or so after starting the dish (sautéing the onions and garlic).


Mychael McNeeley November 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Angela, I was craving something hearty today (“chilly” November day in San Diego, at least for the first few hours!). This totally fit the bill. I didn’t make the cornbread but may do that tomorrow. I doubled the recipe so it will give us lots of leftovers. Also, I have a Chili Cook-Off Wednesday at work. I have a really good Soyrizo Chili recipe I created that I was going to make for it. Since this is so delicious, I may just save half and bring that to the cook-off. By the way, I love black-eyed peas. And I used Trader Joe’s Barbecue Sauce.
Thanks for another great recipe! Cheers!


Debbie December 2, 2013 at 4:06 am

Hi Angela
I made this last night using canned beans to save a bit of time! All the ingredients worked well together and it was really delicious. I love your recipes. Take care


Lauren January 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm

I never post comments but I just made this chili and had to let you know that this is the best bowl of chili that I have ever had. This is seconded by my spouse. I followed your directions exactly and used a local BBQ sauce that matched the flavors perfectly. I bought a cast iron skillet to try the corn bread next time, but the chili is amazing and stands alone! Thank you!


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 6, 2014 at 10:56 am

I’m so happy to hear that Lauren! Thanks for letting me know :)


Mandy January 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I’m making this right now, and it smells delicious!


Liz January 22, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Hi Angela,
We’ve been vegan for 2 ½ years, and this is my husband’s and mine new favorite chili! I’ve been looking for a dynamite chili, and so glad I turned to your site for ideas since I had a 6 cup container of leftover black beans, which I had cooked without salt previously. The combination of chili powder, smoked paprika and cumin is creative and spot on! I have a few time saving tips for readers in case anyone’s interested. I generally soak and cook my all my beans in large quantities, then store in their own liquid in 3 cup containers in the freezer. Since black beans are naturally smoky, all I did was sauté the garlic and onion, cook the spices a bit, then add vege broth and a generous amount of red peppers along with the drained black beans, and some frozen corn a bit later. (I omitted the tomatoes and chia seeds, as I wanted a thinner chili). Adjusted seasonings, then added some ketchup since I didn’t have any BBQ, and the balance of the smoky paprika with sweetness in addition to the depth of chili and cumin powders was taste bud heaven. I served this over some leftover heated brown rice along with a side of guacamole, and it paired well. All prepared in under ½ hour. I’d love to try the flat & crispy cornbread when I have more time. Thank you for your wonderful recipes – I’m looking forward to getting your new book from Amazon!


Sharon January 23, 2014 at 3:52 am

I just made this Chilli and LOVE it. I love the smokey flavour. I had never added BBQ sauce to my Chilli before. I can tell you it won’t be the last time. I added some mushrooms and zucchini, didn’t hurt the flavour. Just loved the spiciness. Great job. Thanks.


DebbyM. February 9, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Just made your barbecue chill recipe today and it is fantastic. So glad to find a chill recipe that I finally like. Thanks so much for sharing this with the world!


Lisa February 25, 2014 at 10:26 am

You lost me at microwave. I will try the stove top and give feedback.


Angela (Oh She Glows) February 25, 2014 at 10:42 am

haha well you’d be happy to know we gave up our microwave 2 years ago!


Lisa February 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

That comment sounds rude and I didn’t mean it to!! I will try this stove top. It looks great.


Lisa February 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Good move on the microwave!


Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork February 25, 2014 at 11:58 am

Just made the cornbread last night and it was delicious! I subbed in GF (brown rice) flour and one of the tablespoons of sugar for honey. It didn’t look nearly as nice because my skillet was a bit too big, but it tasted delicious. My husband and I ate the entire thing with a three bean chili. I didn’t realize until we were done our meal that the entire thing was vegan (we’re omnivores). Thanks for sharing!


Micheline August 8, 2014 at 9:19 pm

This looks like wonderful chili; I can’t wait to try it, even though it’s not really chili weather right now! Does this really make 5 cups? As in 40 oz? Seems like the output would be more than that, but I suppose if the broth is all absorbed…

If it’s really 5 c. only, I think I’d like to double this so we have leftovers. Would any of the proportions change, do you think? I’d probably try cutting down the broth a bit, but if you have any insights, either on how much broth to try or anything else, please reply.


Melinda October 15, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Now THAT was good chilli.


Jen November 14, 2015 at 9:01 am

Hi Angela!
I made ‘My favourite Vegan Chili recipe’ and saw this cornbread recipe. I was really glad that I tired it!
It was so tasty with the chili, I certainly wanted to eat the entire crispy cornbread.
When I told my husband I was making cornbread with the chili, he pulled a face and said ‘oh’. I really does not like cornbread. I told him to try a piece because it was really good, and he actually ate a few of the smaller pieces! Success! I’m certainly going to make the cornbread again.
Thanks for all the great recipes. I’ve tried many online and from your cookbook. You are my go to website for recipes now. I even have my family members that are not vegan eating the recipes and asking for them :-D


Scott February 2, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Hi Angela,
I have just recently discovered your blog and I am enjoying your amazing recipes. This chili recipe is by far the best plant based chili I have ever had and I have tried many!

I cannot wait to try more of your delicous recipes!!


Diane January 30, 2017 at 9:29 am

I’m late to the party! Made both the chili and cornbread for a young vegan woman I’m cooking for. The chili is delish. I had to use canned corn for the chili, so while making the bread I added 1/2 cup of the canned liquid. Fantstic!
Ps. Fried up the cake on the stove and it was perfect!


Angela Liddon January 30, 2017 at 11:15 am

Oh, I’m so glad you found the recipe, Diane! And I’m happy to hear it was a hit. :)


Becky February 12, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Hi Angela – I too am late to the party but can’t wait to try this! I have a number of dried beans in my pantry that I’d like to use up – pinto, cannellini, scarlet runner, and garbanzo. Do you think any of these would work in place of the black-eyed peas and black beans?

PS I just made your OMG burgers – and yeah, OMG is right!!! :) Thank you for your constant inspiration, and for keeping my omnivore husband’s taste buds happy.



Angela Liddon February 22, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Hi Becky, I don’t see why another type of bean wouldn’t work! Please let me know what you try. :) And I’m so happy you’re loving the OMG burgers!!


Jen January 1, 2018 at 7:24 pm

I really like this chili! It’s my go-to now for New Year’s, I’ve made it for the past several years. So yummy. Thanks!


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 2, 2018 at 7:50 am

Happy New Years, Jen! So glad you love this chili so much. :)


Chris April 12, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Loved this chili! Made it almost exactly as the recipe stated, and received lots of compliments. What makes it good is that cooking for hours really develops a good depth of flavour, and the different beans and corn give it a hearty texture (not mushy). Two changes: I put the liquid from the tomatoes in, and I only used 2 cups of broth. I simmered for about 3 hours and it cooked down to the right consistency – not too watery, not too dry. Thanks for the recipe, will definitely make this again.


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2018 at 8:01 am

Hey Chris, Thanks so much for your feedback…I love the swaps you made too! Good call.


Fiona August 14, 2018 at 9:32 am

This cornbread is so good!! I love it because it’s so easy! I might try doing a double batch next time in a larger skillet.


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