Healthy Beef Chili with Beans AND Vegetables
Elevate your comfort food with this cozy and extra-nutritious Healthy Beef Chili! It’s made with lean ground beef, kidney beans, and SIX different vegetables. This means that its hearty and warm while packing important nutrients like protein, fibre, iron, calcium, vitamin C, and more. It’s freezer-friendly, ready on the stovetop in under an hour, and makes 8 generous servings.
I used to think that chili wasn’t a healthy meal. Then I studied to become a Registered Dietitian, and I got schooled! I realized that even a basic red chili recipe with beef, tomatoes, and beans was a relatively balanced, high-protein dish with nutrients like fibre, iron and vitamin C.
I also saw the potential for a basic chili recipe to become a conduit for even more nutrition. And that’s where this Healthy Beef Chili recipe comes in. Not only does it include protein-rich (lean) ground beef and high-fibre kidney beans, it packs a fibre and micronutrient punch thanks to the inclusion of SIX different vegetables.
Yes, six different vegetables! The great thing here is that you can swap out veggies you don’t like for other ones that you do. Regardless, this beef and bean chili is a great way warm up and fill up in the colder months. Plus, it’s a great contribution to the recommended six servings of vegetables per day.
Love chili but not the meat? Make The Best Veggie-Packed Vegetarian Chili instead! For more healthy cold-weather recipes, try my Tuscan Kale Soup with White Beans or my favourite: Creamy Tomato Basil Soup!
Key Nutrition Benefits:
I’ve already mentioned some of the ways that chili makes a nutritious meal above. It’s great to meal prep and pack for lunch or whip up when you want a healthy but comforting dinner meal.
Here are some of the key ingredients that make this beef chili a healthy one:
- Lean ground beef: It’s lower in saturated fat than typical ground beef, while still maintaining high protein content! Most notably, beef is a fantastic source of iron. Specifically, it’s high in heme iron, which is better absorbed by the body than non-heme iron. Other notable nutrients include vitamin B12, zinc, and vitamin B6.
- Kidney beans: Why just use animal-based protein when you can add some plant-based protein too? Both are fantastic! The red kidney beans in this recipe boost the protein content even more, while adding dietary fibre, more iron (the non-heme kind this time), as well as calcium, magnesium, and more vitamin B6.
- Tomatoes: Yes, canned diced tomatoes count as a vegetable! They’re rich in vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid (a pigment) that acts as an antioxidant and may support bone health, healthy blood pressure, and cancer prevention. Yay!
- Mushrooms: I love adding mushrooms to my chili recipes. Even though they’re not colourful, mushrooms are very nutritious! They’re a good source of folate (vitamin B9) and other B vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine.
- Broccoli: Finally, my favourite addition. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and these are associated with reduced chronic disease risk. Broccoli is a great source of fibre, vitamin C, calcium, and folate. And its really, really delicious cooked into a chili recipe like this one!
Chili Substitution Suggestions:
Now, there may or may not be some beans or veggies in this healthy chili recipe that you either don’t currently have on hand, or you’re not partial to. That’s okay! Here are some substitution ideas:
- Ground turkey or chicken instead of beef
- Black beans instead of red kidney beans
- Chopped zucchini instead of broccoli
- Diced carrots instead of mushrooms
- Extra beans instead of canned corn
Prepping Healthy Beef Chili:
Making chili isn’t hard at all. This recipe takes less than an hour, and all you need is one large pot (I use the Perfect Pot from Our Place) .
First, we heat the oil, then add the beef to brown. Once the meat is browed, we’ll add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Following these is the spices (chili powder, cumin, and salt).
Now for the fun stuff! We’ll add in the beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and a little bit of water. Then it’s time to turn up the heat and bring it all to a boil.
Once boiling, we’ll reduce to a simmer and add some extra flavour with Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and hot sauce. All that’s left to do now is let it simmer for about half an hour before serving it up with whatever toppings are preferred.
My favourite pot for everything from chilis, soups, stews, and more! It’s an 8-in-1 family-sized, stovetop-to-oven nonstick pot. You can do everything from boiling to baking, steaming and braising!
How to Store Leftover Healthy Chili:
The great thing about making a batch of this healthy chili with ground beef is that it makes a lot. You’ll likely have leftovers (unless you’re serving a big group), which is great for lunches the next day or freezing for later.
To store in the fridge, place the chili into an airtight container (I like these glass bowls with lids). They will keep like this in the fridge up to 5 days.
Alternatively, you can freeze leftover chili up to 3 months in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.
Connect with Hannah Magee, RD!
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. If you try it, let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a review in the comments below.
Oh, and be sure to take a photo and tag me at @hannahmagee_rd so I can re-share on my stories!
Healthy Beef Chili with Beans AND Vegetables
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, or any colour, diced
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 19 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 12 oz. can corn, whole kernel
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1/2 8 oz. can water
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp sriracha, or other hot sauce
- 1 head broccoli, chopped into small florets
- optional toppings: sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, diced avocado, cilantro leaves, tortilla chips.
- 1 Large pot or Dutch Oven
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ground beef and saute for 3-4 minutes until browned.
- Add the diced onion, red bell pepper, and chopped mushrooms to the browned beef and saute for another 4-5 minutes or so until tender and fragrant. Then, stir in the chili powder, cumin, and salt.
- Add the drained and rinsed kidney beans, canned corn, diced tomatoes with juices, tomato sauce, and 1/2 tomato sauce can of water. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a low boil before reducing to a simmer.
- Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and sriracha. Add the chopped broccoli florets, then cover and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and serve with optional toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, diced avocado, cilantro, tortilla chips, etc. Enjoy!