Veggie Beef Chili is the perfect comfort food on a cold winter day! This gluten free chili is loaded with ground beef, beans, tomatoes, perfectly spiced, and made extra healthy with hidden veggies from the food processor! Full of amazing flavor, this might just become your new favorite chili!
Why We Love It!
- The Flavor is Amazing! – This healthy beef chili recipe is just so full of “stuff,” which is why we love it! There is a pinch of sweetness from a bit of brown sugar to balance that slightly spicy chili powder flavor. It’s bold flavored, thick and hearty chili, a family favorite one-pot meal!
- This is seriously healthy veggie-loaded chili! – My chili experience started with my Aunt Mary’s famous chili recipe, a favorite of my childhood. Now with my own two kids, often being picky as kids often are, I love finding the chance to add extra veggies to their diet. With the help of a food processor, chili is just the perfect chance to add a ton of veggies with no one noticing the difference! So, why not make that one-pot favorite a bit healthier? Whether you have picky kids or just adults, everyone can stand to eat more veggies. And, my kids would agree, the toppings are the best part! We top ours with shredded cheddar, a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream, avocado, and chips or crackers for dipping.
- It feeds a crowd or gives you great leftovers! – Veggie Beef Chili is the perfect large batch one pot meal to feed a crowd or freeze a bunch for later. It’s perfect for game day with some easy extras like chips and Guacamole. Especially because you can throw a batch of chili together quickly and it can sit on the stovetop all day, ready whenever your guests are.
- If you love this recipe, be sure to check out my Crock Pot Southwest Chicken Chili. And if you love hidden veggies recipes, try my Italian Sausage Bolognese sauce, similar to spaghetti but loaded with veggies!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Ground Beef – I use 1 pound of 85/15 ground beef for this recipe but you can adjust the quantity for how meaty you like it. You can, of course, leave it out for a vegan chili.
- The Veggies! – onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, garlic – This chili recipe with vegetables is an amazing way to up the nutrition in a classic kid-friendly meal! The veggies are all minced in the food processor so they blend right in with the spices and other ingredients. They do add great flavor, a hearty consistency, and make sure everyone hits their daily dose of veggies!
- Salt and Pepper – Season the beef and veggies while they saute.
- The spices – Chili Powder, Paprika & Cumin – These are pretty standard spices in chili, the chili powder give you a little kick of spice while all balancing each other for great chili flavor.
- Brown Sugar – A bit of sweetness balances the acidity of the tomatoes. This small amount of brown sugar really gives the chili a unique and delicious flavor!
- Worcestershire & Red Wine Vinegar – Enhances the bold flavor of the chili!
- Canned Tomatoes – You need 2 large 28oz cans of tomato for this recipe, any combination of crushed or whole peeled, pulsed in the food processor. A can of tomato paste also thickens the chili and deepens the tomato flavor. If you are really trying to feed a large crowd, you can add a third can of tomato.
- Beans – I like a combination of one can kidney beans and one can black beans. But, beans in chili are really a personal preference! You can add a third can if you love beans, or just do one or none if you are not a big fan. Use what you like, 2 cans of the same beans or any combination is fine. Beans add protein and fiber to the chili, making it a healthy well-rounded meal.
- The Toppings! – Possibly the most important part! We love to top ours with lots of shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream, avocado or guacamole, and crackers or chips!
Step 1 – In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the beef over medium high heat. While it’s browning, pulse the onion, carrot, celery and bell pepper in the food processor until finely minced.
This makes up the veggie-loaded nutrient packed base of your chili that nobody will notice!
Step 2 – As the beef is browning, push it to one side of the pot and add the minced veggies to the other. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3 – When the beef is fully browned, add the garlic, also minced in the food processor. Then add in everything else. If you are using whole peeled tomatoes, drain the sauce into the chili and pulse them in the food processor.
Step 4 – Stir well to combine and simmer the chili on low for about an hour or two. It can be lightly bubbling but not splattering out of the pot.
Step 5 – The chili can sit on a low burner until you’re ready to serve. Serve chili with lots of toppings!
I don’t hesitate to make a big batch of this healthy beef chili recipe for just our family, because the leftovers are the best part! Great for lunches all week, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. I also like to freeze extras in different size containers and jars for up to 4 months. Larger containers for another chili night, just thaw overnight and reheat for an easy weeknight lunch or dinner. But, also smaller containers for easy dinners like chili dogs and chili topped baked potatoes with all the chili fixings. When freezing, cool chili in the fridge overnight first and if freezing in glass jars, only fill them ¾’s of the way full.
Remember the veggies in this recipe are great to add nutrition but they are also optional. If you don’t have celery, not a problem. Only 1 carrot, that’s okay! Leave things out if you don’t like them and use what you have!
Is Chili Gluten Free?
Yes! This is a naturally gluten-free chili without needing to change anything! That’s because chili is thick and hearty with all it’s ingredients like veggies, beef, beans, and canned tomato, especially the tomato paste, so there is no need for any thickener containing flour. You can even top it with gluten-free corn tortilla chips.
Can I make this Chili Vegan?
Yes! This veggie loaded chili is very easy to adapt for a vegan diet, just omit the beef. It is very hearty without the meat, you may also choose to add an additional can of beans, lentils, quinoa or even diced sweet potato.
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Veggie Beef Chili
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 onion roughly chopped
- 2 carrots roughly chopped
- 2 ribs celery roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 grinds fresh pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 15 oz cans beans any combination of kidney, black, red, pinto (drained and rinsed)
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste plus rinsed with 1 can of water
- 2 28 oz cans tomato a combination of crushed, diced or whole peeled
- Toppings shredded cheese, plain yogurt, avocado or guacamole and tortilla chips or crackers
- Set a large soup pot over medium high heat and begin browning beef breaking it up with a wooden spoon (I did not add any oil, just used the fat from the beef to saute the veggies).
- While the beef is browning, pulse all veggies (not garlic) in a food processor until finely minced.
- Move the beef to one side of the pot and add your veggies to the other side, letting the beef finish browning and the veggies saute. Season the beef and veggies with salt and pepper.
- When beef is fully browned, drain the fat if you wish. Then add garlic (minced in food processor). Add tomatoes (whole tomatoes can also be done in the food processor as chunky or smooth as you like) and all other ingredients. Simmer chili on low for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Serve with lots of toppings!
- Remember the veggies in this recipe are great to add nutrition but they are also optional. If you don’t have celery, not a problem. Only 1 carrot, that’s okay! Leave things out if you don’t like and use what you have!
- Store leftover chili in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.