3-Bean Healthy Chili Recipe

This healthy chili recipe is full of good-for-you ingredients and big flavor, featuring a trio of beans, quinoa, and lots of hearty spices.

3-Bean Healthy Chili Recipe

This post was created in partnership with ALDI. All opinions are our own.

Is it chili season already? Wasn’t it just moments ago we were eating watermelon salad in our flip flops? As the weather changes, foods follow suit: changing from light and bright to hearty and spiced. As much as I hate to admit it: we’re craving all the fall over here! So Alex and I are starting the party with this insanely-tasty healthy chili recipe. It’s got a savory, hearty flavor even though it’s meatless. And it’s full of good-for-you ingredients; a trio of protein-packed beans, quinoa, and loads of spices. We got all of the ingredients at ALDI: our go-to place to stock up on fall ingredients that are high quality, organic, and affordable. Ready to get cooking?

PS The cast-iron pot below is also available at ALDI! The Crofton Cast Iron 4.6 Qt. French Oven is available starting September 25 for a limited time ($24.99).

Want to try it too? Let us know if you head to ALDI to stock up and make this recipe! Tell us in the comments below. Or tag us on Instagram using @acouplecooks and @aldiusa.

Pouring beans and tomatoes into a pot

What makes this a healthy chili recipe?

If you search the internet for healthy chili recipes, you come up with a lot of turkey chilis. But what about making it even healthier by going meatless? We won’t go into the nitty gritty here, but research is showing the value of eating lots of plants. So to us, a healthy chili is loaded with vegetables instead of the traditional meat.

A healthy chili is also loaded with good-for-you ingredients that are full of valuable nutrients! Here are some of the heavy hitting veggies in this chili:

  • Simply Nature Organic Beans: pinto, kidney, and black beans
  • Simply Nature Organic Quinoa: packed with plant-based protein
  • Tomatoes, onions, and corn
  • Simply Nature Organic Flax Seed: Optional, but it adds protein and omega 3’s

This recipe works as a family dinner recipe for a weeknight. When entertaining, pair it with our smash hit Best Homemade Cornbread, Easy Vegan Cornbread or any of these best sides to go with chili.

Healthy chili ingredients

The flavor secrets to this chili

It can be difficult to load flavor into a vegetarian chili because, well, meat tastes really good. So we’ve had to use a few secrets to making the flavor delicious and satisfying. Here are a few of our tricks to this healthy chili recipe:

  • Simply Nature Organic Ketchup: Ketchup brings in a little sweetness and tang to this chili. We like to use organic ketchup because it usually tastes better and is free from high fructose corn syrup.
  • A hefty dose of chili powder: Using quite a bit of chili powder helps to bring big flavor. Some chili powders can be spicier than others, so make sure you’re using a brand that fits your spice tolerance.
  • Cumin, oregano, fresh garlic, and garlic powder: These spices round out the chili and bring a depth of flavor.
Stirring chili

Toppings for a healthy chili

Loading up chili is the best part, right? But if you’re thinking about healthy chili, the toppings can be a place where calories can add up. One tip we’d say is to add just enough toppings to add flavor, but not so much that someone might say, “Want some chili with that sour cream?”

With that in mind, here are our favorite toppings to load up that chili — and the first one is our favorite new idea!

  • Southern Grove roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds): Not only are they cozy, they add a nice crunch and a bit of plant-based protein
  • Plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, or Cashew Cream (for vegan chili)
  • Shredded cheese — just enjoy it in moderation (or omit for vegan chili)
  • Thinly sliced green onions or chives
  • Hot sauce

What other chili toppings do you like? Do you do saltine crackers (is that a regional thing)?

Healthy chili
Pepitas make a great chili topping!

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free (with vegan toppings).

Print
Healthy chili recipe

3-Bean Healthy Chili Recipe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (14 votes, average: 4.43 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

This healthy chili recipe is full of good-for-you ingredients and big flavor, featuring a trio of beans, quinoa, and lots of hearty spices.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Simply Nature Organic Quinoa
  • 2 small or 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Simply Nature Organic Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 15-ounce cans Simply Nature Organic Beans (we did 1 can each black, pinto and kidney), drained
  • 2 28-ounce cans Simply Nature Organic Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, vegan if desired
  • 2 tablespoons ground Simply Nature Flax Seed (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle chilis)*
  • To garnish: Sour cream or Greek yogurt (or Cashew Cream for vegan), Mexican blend shredded cheese, and Southern Grove Pepitas

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa: Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot, and simmer where the water is just bubbling for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed. (Check by pulling back the quinoa with a fork to see if water remains.) Turn off the heat and let sit covered to steam for 5 minutes.
  2. Dice the onions. Mince the garlic.
  3. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add the ketchup and spices and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Add all other ingredients, and throw in the quinoa whenever it is cooked. Simmer for 25 minutes. Serve immediately with toppings. Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for 3 months.

Notes

*Totally optional, but stirring in adobo sauce adds another level of complexity. Chipotles in adobo sauce are available in a small can; the chilis are packed with adobo sauce, a purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and some other spices. You’ll just add the sauce.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Healthy chili recipe, Chili recipe, Bean chili recipe, Meatless chili recipe, Vegetarian chili recipe, vegan chili recipe

3-bean healthy chili recipe

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Sandra Lea
    September 18, 2019 at 6:39 am

    Would it work to substitute tomato sauce for the ketchup?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      September 18, 2019 at 9:25 am

      Yes, this should be fine. Just taste and adjust spices once it’s cooked!

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