Navajo Tacos - Beef and Three Bean Chili

I mentioned in an earlier post that one of the ways to serve Navajo fry bread is as a taco.  My mother-in-law made the best Navajo tacos!  The girls loved going to Grandma's for them.

When I started making the tacos I used a type of pot bean as the base when I built the taco.  I guess I should mention that Navajo tacos we make aren't really a "fold over" taco...they are more of a tostada where you layer all kinds of good things on top  of the fry bread!

As time has gone by, our tastes have changed and we wanted to use a more spicy beef and bean chili mixture.  The best part about a chili recipe is that it can easily be adjusted to meet your individual's a good thing because I misread teaspoon for tablespoon and created a snappy version of chili!!

Navajo  Tacos

Prepare Navajo fry bread, recipe is here.
Prepare the chili.
Prepare the fixings desired.

Beef and Three Bean Chili

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large jalapeno, minced with seeds
1 pound lean ground beef
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 cup beer
2  14.5 oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 can water
1 small can tomato paste
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp salt

In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook onion and pepper in olive oil until softened, about five minutes.   Add garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring, for another minute, then add the ground beef.  Cook, breaking up the meat with the edge of a egg turner to remove chunks, until meat is no longer pink.  Drain any fat from the pan and return to heat.

Add the two chili powders and cumin, and cook the spices and the meat together, stirring, for a minute or so.  Add the beer and stir.  Allow it to simmer while opening the cans of tomatoes and opening, draining and rinsing the beans.  Add the tomatoes, one can of water (14.5 oz), tomato paste, and beans.  Stir well.  Bring the mixture to a slow boil and then reduce the heat to low.  Simmer, partially covered, for an hour.

As the chili simmers, stir it occasionally, and taste to adjust spices.  (The salt is added at the very end of cooking.)  Once the chili reaches the desired thickness, add the salt and taste.  Eat immediately or cool and refrigerate overnight.  The chili tastes wonderful the next day.  It also freezes well.

To use the chili with the Navajo tacos, prepare taco fixings that you like, such as:  Chili, lettuce, thinly sliced, Bev's Homemade Salsa , avocado, sour cream, cheese, and cilantro.  Layer the fixings on the fry bread.

Of course, the Beef and Three Bean Chili is great just in a bowl with maybe some cornbread on the side!


I am so happy that I decided to "tackle" the box of clippings and recipes that had been waiting for so long!

I am participating in Full Plate Thursday hosted by Mix Helen's Country Cottage.  Take a look, you will  be amazed at the many dishes being prepared!


  1. I know I would love this! I'll bet it has some zip with a Tblsp chipotle chili powder:@)

  2. This looks sooo good and it's only breakfast time here. We love chili and beans and this looks so comforting and delicious.

  3. This looks really delicious - great flavors - it's raining and cold here - this could be a great dinner tonight!
    Mary x

  4. I like chili with some zip to it and a big scoop of sour cream to cool it down. Scrumptious tacos, Kate, and the chili looks delicious on its own. I love going through my now huge box of recipes saved over the years.

  5. The chili sounds delicious and looks especially good sitting on the fry bread.

  6. I had not heard of Navajo tacos until my recent road trip and saw them on a menu. I didn't try them, but someone said they were delicious. When I first had tacos many years ago, my aunt made them for me. She always put in a can of chili. To this day I love homemade tacos with chili. I do believe I would love it with the fry bread too.

  7. What a great find! I'm always looking for a new way of cooking beans. I make a good pinto bean chili, but this one looks extra special.

    Debby, "A Feast for the Eyes"

  8. Hi Kate,
    What an awesome meal, I can't wait to try this special treat. Hope you have a great holiday week end and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  9. I'm happy to have discovered your blog as it seems we have similar cooking tastes. I grew up in Texas where many people don't use beans but I always add them to my chili. I think you recipe sounds terrific.

  10. Oh yum!!! A Navajo taco is definitely something I have to make. I just love the idea of the chili on top of the fry bread. What a wonderful, different way to eat chili. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend Kate!

  11. I love that fry bread! Your layers of flavor on your tacos sound delicious.

  12. Congratulations,
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a wonderful week end and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen


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