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Easy Beef and Bean Chili

bowl of chili with beans, beef, yellow and red bell pepper

Using beans in chili cuts down on the meat in this hearty dish.

Chili is the perfect meal for cooler days, and you can put it together fast with canned goods, such as beans and tomatoes. Easy beef and bean chili is is lighter on beef than most recipes, packed with vegetables, and features a secret ingredient that boosts flavor and nutrition without overpowering the dish.

It’s a good idea to make a double batch of this easy, nutritious dish, especially when you have lots of mouths to feed. Freeze what you don’t use for later.

Why canned beans are good for you

Canned beans are a godsend. Beans supply protein, fiber, potassium, and many other vitamins and minerals. And, as part of a balanced diet, beans can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood that lead to clogged arteries and heart disease.

In addition, beans are rich in prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut, which benefits your health in several ways.  Most of your immune system is located in your gut, which is why it’s helpful to eat foods that promote the beneficial bacteria that help prevent you from getting sick.

two hands holding uncooked legumes (beans)

It’s OK to used canned beans, which are already cooked!

I choose canned beans for the sake of convenience and because I usually forget to buy dried beans and soak them! Rinse canned beans to reduce their sodium content by as much as 40%.

How to make vegetarian chili 

This recipe is flexible.  Skip the meat and add more beans and tomatoes to make a vegetarian chili, or use different types of beans, such as white kidney beans and garbanzo beans.

Also, I’m a wimp, so I keep the heat to a minimum. You can add chili powder, jalapeño peppers, more cumin, or any other spice you like. It’s your choice!

bowl of cocoa powder

Unsweetened cocoa powder intensifies the flavors in chili and other savory dishes.

 

How to Use Cocoa Powder in Chili

You may be used to cocoa powder in brownies, cake, and smoothies. While cocoa powder is often associated with desserts, I also use it in this chili recipe. Unsweetened cocoa powder upgrades easy beef and bean chili by intensifying the flavor, and you won’t even know it’s there.

Cocoa powder is also good for you.

Cocoa contains antioxidants called flavonoids. While it’s unclear exactly how flavonoids benefit health, they may help to lower blood pressure, which protects the heart and the brain.

Buy unsweetened cocoa powder that hasn’t been treated with alkaline, which reduces flavonoid content. Avoid Dutch-process cocoa, which has lower flavonoid levels.

Easy Beef and Bean Chili

Delicious and nutritious chili that's easy to make from pantry staples and is ready in about 30 minutes.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beans, chili, easydinnerrecipe, groundbeef
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces 95% lean ground beef or 100% ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, not drained

Instructions

  • Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook, breaking it up into very small pieces.  
  • Season meat with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the oil to the saucepan and heat over medium heat.  
  • Add the onion and saute for two minutes or until soft. 
  • Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute.  
  • Add peppers, and continue to cook until peppers are soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the beans, tomatoes, cocoa powder, and meat to the pan. Combine thoroughly. 
  • Cover, and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Notes

Nutrition facts per serving: 291 calories, 21 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fiber, 9 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 33 milligrams cholesterol, 586 milligrams sodium 

bowl of easy beef and bean chili pinterest

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