Healthy may not be the first word that comes to mind when thinking about chili, but there are countless lightened-up versions that make this my favorite one-pot family meal. With or without meat, chili makes a hearty dinner chock-full of veggies and nutrient-rich beans that always satisfy. I’ve also been known to “hide” extra goodies like eggplant, squash, or sweet potato in the pot without any upturned noses. So skip the rich and cheesy beef bowls and bookmark these 5 healthy chili recipes. Weekend or weekday, this is winter comfort food you can feel good about.

Related: Skinny slow cooker recipes for easy weeknight dinners.


My mom turned me onto the 5 Ingredient Easy White Chicken Chili recipe at Gimme Some Oven (above) and now I make it all the time. Ali uses salsa verde as a brilliant short cut to maximize flavor but minimize prep. I’ve even used rotisserie chicken and it works great. Tip: My mom cooks the chili a little longer and smashes some of the beans for a thicker consistency.


Loaded with flavor, not fat, this Lighter Chili Mac may be your family's new favorite healthy chili recipe. | Taste and Tell
If your kids judge a meal by whether pasta is a main ingredient, this Lighter Chili Mac Recipe at Taste and Tell is for you. Made with lean ground beef, this lighter version of the classic comfort dish is big on flavor, not on fat. To maximize flavor and health, when buying lean meat, look for a blend of at least 90% lean meat to 10% fat.


Whole and pureed lentils make this Lentil Chili recipe a healthy chili recipe alternative to the classic beef version. | Little Broken
Loaded with protein-rich lentils, this comforting Lentil Chili at Little Broken is a tasty alternative to the traditional bean version. Katya blends some of the soup for a thicker texture, which is a great way to add richness without adding calories.

Related: Skinny comfort food recipes that gently ease you into healthier eating.


Coffee and red wine give a serious flavor boost to this healthy chili recipes: Bean Chili with Chocolate and Walnuts | Green Kitchen Stories
Dark chocolate (yes, chocolate) and walnuts give an antioxidant and omega-3 boost to this vegetarian Bean Chili at Green Kitchen Stories. Red wine and fresh chili also give it a nice depth of flavor–just make sure to cook it for at least 5 minutes after adding the wine so that the alcohol burns off. Top this off with a little cilantro and yogurt for a delicious meal, and maybe even serve it with a well-deserved glass of wine if that’s your thing. You know, with the alcohol not burned off.


 This healthy chili recipe is a great way for kids to eat fiber-rich beans and vegetables: Vegetarian Chili | Martha Stewart Everyday Food

This low-fat, low calorie Vegetarian Chili from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food is packed with tomatoes, spices, and two types of beans—a great way for kids to get their fiber. With a subtle chipotle kick and a cook time of 35 minutes, this winning recipe should find its way into your monthly rotation.