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This beef chili recipe is an all-time favorite dish that’s not only easy to make but also won’t break the budget. This flavorful recipe is fantastic on its own with all of your favorite chili toppings or also on nachos and of course chili cheese hot dogs.
With fall arriving faster than we can blink, many of you will be looking at tailgating events. Tailgating is a time-honored tradition in this country and good food is always a top priority. But just because you want good food doesn’t mean it has to be filled with garbage that leaves you feeling less than your best.
In fact, a good beef chili can totally be part of a low-calorie diet. The carbohydrates are easily adjustable (take out the beans!) for a low-carb diet, and in fact, this recipe gives you plenty of fiber and protein, and it’s easily adjustable for many different diets and eating styles.
This wonderful beef chili recipe will serve many tailgating purposes without overly expanding your waistline, and it even takes minimal prep time. You can’t beat it!
Healthy Beef Chili Recipe
The truth is, the best chili is rarely made with a ton of bottled or boxed ingredients. While people are generally used to those types of chilis, inevitably, they love the real unprocessed stuff even more. Why? Because real food tastes amazing when it’s prepared well!
For this recipe, you can use canned or fresh ingredients, depending on what you have on hand. Just be sure to read the ingredients on your canned food goods if you use them. Pick the ones that don’t have added sugar. Bonus points for low or no sodium!
What Beans Make Good Chili?
According to a review of 28 studies published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, daily bean consumption resulted in about a 10 percent lower risk of heart disease and high blood pressure compared with not eating them.Consumer Reports
That sounds like a great excuse to eat more beans, right?
Usually, three types of beans make a good pot of chili. You can use one, two, or all three. Any combination of these three is always a sure thing.
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Red beans – Such as red kidney beans
How To Make Homemade Chili Without Beans?
If you can’t have or don’t like beans, there are a few simple substitutes you can use. Leave the beans out and try one of these instead:
- Chopped mushrooms
Best Chili Toppings
While many people have their favorites, there are some classic standards. They are:
- Sour cream – A healthier substitute is usually Greek yogurt.
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Fresh, sliced green onions
- Fresh, diced tomatoes
- Chopped, fresh avocado
- Diced red onion
- Crumbled queso fresco
- Sliced jalapeño chiles
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Tortilla chips
- Soy sauce – Hear me out. It won’t ruin your chili! It simply adds umami, or depth of flavor. Don’t overdo it. A little goes a long way.
What To Serve With Chili
My favorite go-to side dishes for chili are:
- Italian Chopped Salad – or any green salad
- Crusty garlic bread
- Bread sticks
- Soft pretzels – These can also be made into big, soft breadsticks
- Grilled cheese rollups – Great for dippers!
How To Use Leftover Chili
- Chili nachos
- Use as a filling for taco night
- Stuffed baked potatoes with chili on top
- Inside a quesadilla
- Over pasta
- Mixed with rice
Chili Seasoning Mix
Chili spice mix generally has sugar, additives, or preservatives added when you buy it at the store. If you can find a packaged mix that has only spices in it, then use it. If not, give this chili seasoning mix recipe a try. It’s super quick and easy to make from spices you probably already have in your spice cabinet.
What Ingredients Do You Need For Beef Chili?
(Scroll all the way down to print the recipe below in the recipe card)
Ground beef – You can use regular or lean. Lean is better.
Oil – Any oil you normally cook with is fine.
Green bell pepper – You can use red peppers if you prefer them.
Red onion – Red onion is the best, but white or yellow onion will work too. Use what you have.
Garlic cloves – Mince these as fine as you can get them.
Chili seasoning mix – If you buy it at the store, look for one that has no added sugar or preservatives. Just regular spices.
Ground black pepper – White pepper works too.
Ground cumin – This is in addition to the chili seasoning.
Cayenne pepper – This is optional and can be adjusted to your heat preference.
Salt – I add this after cooking, to taste.
Bay leaf – Optional, but tasty. Just remember to remove it when you’re done cooking.
Canned black beans – Drained and rinsed. Look for a can with no added sugar.
Canned pinto beans – Drained and rinsed. Look for a can with no added sugar.
Canned diced tomatoes – Look for a can with no added sugar.
Tomato sauce – You can also use tomato puree.
Beef broth – Look for broth with no added sugar or dextrose.
How To Make The Best Homemade Beef Chili
Gather all your ingredients.
Heat a large pot and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil then the beef. Cook the beef until cooked through.
Push the meat aside and add the onion and sauté until it just begins to soften, then mix until combined with the beef.
Next, add the garlic and all of the spices, and salt and mix them into the beef mixture.
Now add the rinsed beans and the bell pepper and again mix until well combined.
Then pour in the tomato puree/sauce and mix until well combined. If you used whole tomatoes break them up with a spoon as you mix in.
Now pour in the beef broth and stir until well combined. Over medium heat, bring the chili to a soft boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes the chili will have thickened up and is ready for serving. Taste it and adjust any of the seasonings as desired. If adding more seasoning, then allow to simmer for another 10 minutes under low heat to let the flavors combine well. Serve as desired!
NOTES & TIPS:
* You can use white, brown, or even red onion. All work well and each will lend a slightly different flavor to the chili.
** If you’d like to use home-cooked beans the equivalent would be about one and three-quarter cups of beans. Additionally, you could use only black beans, or only pinto beans, or only red beans, or a combination of any two or three if desired.
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More Healthy Chili Recipes
Healthy Beef Chili Recipe Card
Beef Chili Recipe
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 ½ cups chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 tbsp. chili spice mix (see recipe link above)
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust to heat preference)
- 1 tsp. salt (adjust as desired)
- 1 large bay leaf (optional)
- 14 oz. can black beans (rinsed)
- 14 oz can pinto beans (rinsed)
- 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato sauce (or puree)
- 2 cups beef broth (no sugar added)
- Gather all your ingredients.
- Heat a large pot and add 1 tablespoons of vegetable oil then the beef. Cook the beef until cooked through.
- Push the meat aside and add the onion and sauté until it just begins to soften, then mix until combined with the beef.
- Next add the garlic and all of the spices and salt and mix into the beef mixture.
- Now add the rinsed beans and the bell pepper and again mix until well combined.
- Then pour in the tomato puree/sauce and mix until well combined. If you used whole tomatoes break them up with a spoon as you mix in. Now pour in the beef broth and stir until well combined. Over medium heat, bring the chili to a soft boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes the chili will have thickened up and be ready for serving. Taste it and adjust any of the seasoning as desired. If adding more seasoning then allow to simmer another 10 minutes under low heat to let the flavors combine well. Serve as desired!
NOTES & TIPS:
- * You can use white, brown or even red onion. All work well and each will lend a slightly different flavor to the chili.
- ** If you’d like to use home cooked beans the equivalent would be about one and three quarter cups of beans. Additionally you could use only black beans, or only pinto beans or only red beans, or a combination of any two or three if desired.
Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 6/14/2020.