Chili and Rice

Healthy Slow-Cooker Chili with Veggies

20 years ago as a new mom when I was just learning to cook, my stepmom handed down her chili recipe to me. It was one of the very first things I ever made. ¬†Fast forward 2 kids later and her chili is still a hit. I’ve added a few of my own personal tweaks to call it my own. ūüėȬ†

Before I dive in, let me put this disclaimer out there: ¬†I’m not a chef, I’m not a fancy cook, and I’m not even a blogger. ¬†I’m just doing this so my kids will always have a quick place to reference their family recipes from growing up. My photos aren’t professional, the lighting is never right, and most of the time I don’t have anything witty to say. ¬†But I will tell you this – my pet peeve is food bloggers who write pages and pages about their recipe, mixed in with 20 different ads crowding up your screen and it’s like trying to fight through a crowd of protesters to finally get to the recipe. ¬†So you’ll find none of that crap here. ¬†I’ll briefly recap and throw in a few blurry images, then jump right into the recipe!

I’ve included 2 options with this recipe: ¬†stove-top and slow-cooker. ¬†Both turn out great, but I feel like the slow-cooker version lends a richer flavor since the ingredients simmer for so long.

With either version, you’ll start by browning your meat (omit if you’re doing the vegan thing). After browning and draining the meat, heat the butter in the same pot and saut√© the spices for about a minute. Don’t skip this step! ¬†Cooking the spices with the butter brings out the flavor so much more than if you were to just toss the spices into the pot.

Blurry image of the butter and spice paste
Veggies

Next, you’ll add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Then add all your veggies and cook until bright and almost tender. ¬†Probably a few minutes, but I never count.

At this point, if you’re doing the slow-cooker version, dump everything in the slow cooker (including the meat if you haven’t already done so), along with the tomatoes, beans, and corn. ¬†Give it all a good stir and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6. ¬† Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. ¬†Yes, I said sugar. ¬†Weird, I know, but I’ve found the sugar balances out the flavors. ¬†Just trust me on this. ¬†It’s only a little bit.

When ready, serve hot with rice and your favorite toppings.

If you’re doing the stove-top version, you’ll add the tomato paste, tomatoes, beans, and corn. If you’re vegan, you can add your meat substitute here as well (or completely omit if you prefer). ¬†Bring to a boil and simmer for 45-60 minutes. ¬†Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. ¬†Serve hot with your favorite toppings!

I grew up in a Japanese/Hawaiian household and if you know anything about Japanese or Hawaiians, you’ll know they eat everything with white rice. ¬†I never knew any different growing up, and we always ate our chili over rice. If rice isn’t your thing, just leave it out. ¬†But it is oh-so delicious! Or, “ono” as the Hawaiians say!

Chili and Rice

Chili and Rice

Adding veggies is an easy way to turn every-day chili into a delicious and healthy family meal.  This recipe can be done on the stove-top or a slow-cooker. I've included adaptations for both in the recipe. 

Course Main Course
Servings 8 -ish servings
Author Sparky

Ingredients

For the Chili

  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil omit if you're not using meat
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large sweet potato chopped into 1" chunks
  • 5 medium mushrooms diced
  • 2-3 large carrots chopped into chunks or circles
  • 1 each red, green, yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 large zucchini chopped into 1/2" chunks
  • 1 16 oz. can red kidney beans liquids reserved
  • 1 16 oz. can black beans liquids reserved
  • 1 16 oz. can pinto beans liquids reserved
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can unsalted corn kernels rinsed
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 lb. ground turkey or meat/meat substitute of your preference

Toppings

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or greek yogurt or vegan substitute
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese or vegan substitute
  • 3 green onions sliced thin
  • 1 fresh jalapeno seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 medium avocado diced
  • 1/4 cup onion diced

Instructions

Stove-Top Version

  1. Before beginning, wash and rinse 2 cups of short grain white rice and cook in a rice cooker according to the manufacturer's directions.  You can also cook it on a stove-top, but I have honestly never done that before, so you're on your own there!

    If using carnivore option, heat 2 tbsp grape seed oil in a large pot or dutch oven over med-high heat.  Add ground turkey (or beef, or whatever meat you choose).  Crumble and cook until just browned. Drain oil and set aside 

  2. In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat

  3. Add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 min. Add crushed red pepper and cook another 30 seconds

  4. Add onions and cook just until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic

  5. Add the sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers and cook just until bright and crisp, but not too tender

  6. Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes, corn, beans and their liquids

  7. If you're making the vegan version, add your meat substitute here. Bring to boil, reduce heat to med-low, and simmer, covered for about 45 min.  Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.  Serve with toppings of choice

Slow-Cooker Option

  1. If using carnivore option, heat 2 tbsp grape seed oil in a large pot or dutch oven over med-high heat. Add ground turkey (or beef, or whatever meat you choose). Crumble and cook until just browned. Drain oil and add to the slow-cooker

  2. In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat

  3. Add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 min. Add crushed red pepper and cook another 30 seconds

  4. Add onions and cook just until translucent. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds careful not to burn the garlic

  5. Add the sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers and cook just until bright and crisp, but not too tender

  6. Dump everything into the slow-cooker!

  7. Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes, corn, beans and their liquids. 

  8. Give it all a good stir to mix well

  9. If you're making the vegan version, add your meat substitute here.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste, give it another stir, then let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with toppings of your choice

Just me, my iPhone 6, and a cheap remote-control tripod from Amazon. ūüėČ

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