Put Some Rotel in it!

When you think of Ro Tel, you almost certainly think of that cheesy dip that is irresistibly good. Everybody does. But there are a lot more delicious uses for this old spicy standby than the famous dip.   Ro Tel is nothing more than canned tomatoes and chilies, and there are eight verities. It’s has been around forever; in fact, it was invented in Texas in the 1940s.  But let’s skip the boring details! Ro Tel is in fact a delicious way to quick meals and you should always have a can or two in the pantry. Making a quick omelet and need a salsa-like topping? Open a can of Ro Tel. Want to spice up your spaghetti sauce? Yep, open a can. Thinking about a quick bowl of chili? You know what to do.

Here are three recipes that are easy to make and your family are sure to love. 

Ro Tel Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups ground beef

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 cups chopped onion

1 chopped bell pepper

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 can white beans

1 can red beans

1 can Ro Tel Hot Diced Tomatoes with Habaneros

Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

Cook the beef in a sauté pan until done, remove and set aside. In the same pan, sauté the onion and bell pepper in oil for 5 minutes, add the chili powder, Tony’s, and cumin, mix well, then add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the beef, beans, and Ro Tel, combine and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and re-season, as necessary. Serve with rice or crackers.


Tom’s Ro Tel Chicken Spaghetti

Tom Johnson owns a very cool little place in Yazoo city called Tom’s on Main. He was kind enough to give me this recipe, one of the most popular items on his menu.

1-pound cubed chicken

1 chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

1 can Ro Tel (your choice of flavor)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1-pound spaghetti

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper, Tony Chachere’s is optional


Fill a pot with enough water to cover the chicken, plus an inch or two. Simmer the chicken until done, remove the chicken, and set aside. Add the onion and celery to the same pan, and simmer or 3 minutes. Separately cook the pasta until done. Combine the cooked vegetables, chicken Ro Tel, cream of chicken soup, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. If it is a bit dry, add some of the cooking water from the pasta.


Ro Tel Salsa

This is about as easy as it gets!

1 can Ro Tel tomatoes (not drained)

1 can whole tomatoes (drained)

2 chopped green onions

Juice of ½ a lime

1 finely chopped clove of garlic

1 good pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients, taste, and season to your taste.


Written by Julian Brunt

Julian Brunt is a food and travel writer that has been writing about the food culture of the Deep South for over a decade. He is the eleventh generation of his family to live in the South, grew up in Europe, traveled extensively for the first fifteen years after graduating from the University of Maryland, University College, Heidelberg, Germany. Today, he's a contributor for multiple publications, including Our Mississippi Home. He's also appeared on Gordon Ramsay's television show, "To Hell and Back in 24 Hours."


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