Homemade chili is a favorite in our home and not just in the colder months. We enjoy it regularly as a delicious meal packed with nutrients. Once I started experimenting with how to make chili something that wasn’t just meat, a packet of seasoning, and tomato sauce, I quickly found that it was easy to make a healthy homemade chili that my husband and the kids could enjoy, but that was predominantly vegetables, legumes, and other nutritious ingredients. And the best part? My husband, the chili lover and connoisseur, declared he loved it without knowing all of my secret ingredients.
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If I was to tell you that the number 1 ingredient in our chili was technically a fruit, you might immediately dismiss the idea. In fact, once I told this to my husband, he quickly told me to never mention any ingredients in his beloved chili again because it ruined it for him. But really, it’s that good and sounds that weird. So give my healthy homemade chili recipe a try at least once to see what you think – just don’t tell anyone what’s in it. And normally that would go for the kids, this time it’s more for the husbands.
Hearty Vegetable Chili Recipe
Note – 2 cups can equal one can of something, or you can use fresh/make your own.
1 Medium-large onion, sliced into slivers
2 Garlic scapes or cloves of regular garlic
2 Cups 100% Pumpkin puree
2 Cups Great Northern Beans
2 Cups Kidney Beans
2 Cups Tomato Sauce
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 Pound Ground Beef (or meat of choice if any)
1 Tablespoon Cumin
6 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Teaspoons sea salt
Chili Recipe Instructions
Throughly cook any ground meat that you are going to use. I prefer cooking it in the large pot that I am going to make the chili in to save a step/not have extra dishes.
Once cooked, add your seasonings to the meat and mix together. Then pour in beans, tomato sauce, pumpkin, and garlic. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until hot. Once hot, add your chopped onion and tomatoes. Let cook for another couple of minutes.
I personally wait to add the onions because I want the entire chili to have the flavor, but do not want the onions to be over-cooked and squishy. I also prefer quartering grape or cherry tomatoes when adding diced tomatoes because they’re so flavorful!
Serve with cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, or whatever your heart desires to garnish!
Notes: When adding pumpkin puree, make sure that if you buy a can it’s 100% pumpkin with nothing added. the flavor isn’t really affected, but it adds to the texture and consistency, help reduce sodium, and also adds the amazing health benefits that pumpkin as a fruit provides!
Save leftovers in old peanut butter jars or in 16 ounce glass canning jars. Fill 75% of the way, close, and freeze. These make great one-serving quick meals and is a great substitute for canned chili!
Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!