Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

By Toni Okamoto, Recipe by Alex Bury

This week we celebrated the birthday of Vegan Outreach’s cofounder and Executive Director, Jack Norris. You can read more about him by clicking the link attached to his name, but all you really need to know is that he loves turtles (specifically Richard, his companion turtle, who we recently found may be female), playing ultimate frisbee, and eating Cincinnati chili.

To celebrate Jack’s special day, his wonderful wife, Alex (who is also a dedicated animal rights activist and talented vegan chef),  made our office his favorite meal. Below, you can see a photo of how happy her thoughtfulness made Jack.

Jack and his Cincinnati chili

Our Office Manager, Josie, and I were very skeptical about chili being served on spaghetti, but thankfully Jack is a true Cincinnatian and walked us through the proper serving presentation. The order being: pasta, chili, onions, vegan cheese, and crackers (right before you eat it).

Cincinnati chili

The recipe was so delicious that I asked Alex to share it with the world. Here it is, we hope you enjoy it as much as Jack and the Vegan Outreach staff!

Hungry Jack


  • 1 whole yellow onion, diced small (and separated into 2 batches)
  • 1/2 carrot, diced very small
  • 1 tbsp canola or safflower oil
  • 1 packet Cincinnati Recipe chili mix
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (get one that’s “fire roasted” if you can)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 package spaghetti
  • 1 package of your favorite vegan ground meat (Beyond Meat, Lightlife, Gardein, etc.)
  • 1 package of your favorite vegan cheese, shredded (I used Follow Your Heart cheddar, but Daiya also works great)
  • 1 bag oyster soup crackers


Sauté half the diced onion and the diced carrot in the oil, on medium heat, for 5 minutes.

Add the spice mix. Stir to coat with oil and toast it a little bit.

Add the tomato products right after. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions and drain.

Add the crumbles. If it seems too thick, add 1/4 cup water or so. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve the chili over the spaghetti. Top with shredded vegan cheese, diced onions, and oyster crackers.

9 thoughts on “Cincinnati Chili

  1. What a great birthday present for a transplanted Cincinnatian! Skyline and Gold Star Chili would be very proud of the attractive presentation. There are thousands of vegans around the country who wished they could have participated in the birthday celebration. Good Job!

  2. I’m surprised that Jack Norris, a nutritionist, is promoting Cincinnati Chili Spice Mix. It contains hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fat and probably GMO sourced, BHT (a potentially harmful preservative), corn syrup solids (an unhealthy sweetener probably GMO sourced), dextrose (another highly processed corn sweetener probably GMO sourced), and silicon dioxide (sand that we don’t need to be eating). I guess I assumed that Jack would carefully read the labels of the manufactured foods that he uses.

    1. Mel,

      > I’m surprised that Jack Norris, a nutritionist, is promoting Cincinnati Chili Spice Mix….

      I am not worried that these Cincinnati chili spice packets are going to provide enough of any of these ingredients to measurably increase morbidity or mortality. For anyone who prefers not to ingest any amount of those ingredients, but would still like to try Cincinnati chili, here is a recipe from scratch:

  3. I am new to Jack Norris but he is going to speak in our town this month and as a plant-based vegan I planned on seeing him. But this recipe is a huge disappointment. Coming from an RD, it is almost pure junk! Refined white pasta with no reference to using whole wheat, refined white oyster crackers, fake meat and cheese, and not even any greens! And the spice mix has already been addressed. And Jack is eating this for dinner every night! It seems almost as if this recipe was some sort of gag, but I’m really disappointed in this from a vegan RD.

  4. Geez guys, it’s his birthday (Happy Birthday, by the way!). Birthday meals are special. I think 100% perfection is asking an awful lot. I am thrilled for this recipe because just yesterday, one of my kids asked if I can find a vegan Cincinnati chili recipe. I’ll be making it this week!

    1. You won’t be disappointed, Kristi! It is a great and super tasty recipe! Thank you for your comment!

  5. Whoops, just noticed this post is almost a year and a half old. That was embarrassing. Haha!

    1. Don’t worry, Kristi! We have people comment on older posts all the time. We love to hear from our readers no matter how recent or old the post is!

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