Hearty and Healthy Winter Chili

Photo courtesy Amber Ketchum.
Photo courtesy Amber Ketchum.

by amber ketchum, MDS, RD

Perfect for those cold winter nights, a bowl of this chili will warm everyone, not to mention it feeds quite a crowd. And don’t tell the kids, but there is a secret ingredient making this recipe even healthier. It may sound a little strange, but adding chopped mushrooms in with the ground meat makes them virtually undetectable while adding volume and healthy nutrients.


  • 1 pound 97%-lean ground beef (can also use ground turkey)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed, divided 2 cups
  • shredded cheese, such as cheddar


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and beef. Cook, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until the beef is browned (about five minutes).
  2. Add chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder and stir to mix spices in well. Add the diced tomatoes and beef broth and bring to a simmer.
  3. Mash half the beans in a bowl, and stir the mashed beans and whole beans into the mixture in the skillet.
  4. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally and maintaining a simmer, for 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. To serve, ladle about 1 cup of chili into individual bowls. Garnish with cheese.


  • To make it a Texas-style chili, add a small handful of corn chips to the bottom of the bowl before pouring in the hot chili and topping with cheese.
  • Make it vegetarian. Omit the meat and replace with 1 can of pinto beans, 1 can of black beans, and 1 cup chopped zucchini. Substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth and you’ll have a delicious, vegetarian three-bean chili!
  • Nutrition bonus: this chili is a great source of lean protein, and the beans add fiber, iron, and additional protein.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition information per serving (a serving is about 1 ½ cups)*

288 calories 8.4 g total fat 436 mg sodium 23 g carbohydrate 4.9 g sugar 6 g fiber 30 g protein

*Nutrition information assessed using caloriecount.about.com.