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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.