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Easy Weeknight Chili + 5 Reasons to Eat A Bowl Today

Healthy and hearty, this homemade, easy weeknight chili w/ pinto beans, black beans, and {optional} sweet Italian sausage, makes for a perfect family meal! Try it out along with 19 more healthy chili recipes for everyone to enjoy! {vegan, vegetarian, & paleo options}

Easy Weeknight Chili

As much as I like chili for it’s own sake, sometimes I think a big ‘ol bowl of piping hot chili is just an excuse to pile on all the delicious toppings. Hello cheese, onions, and avocado!

What else would you top yours off with???

Today kicks off National Chili Month, and I’m excited to share my latest recipe creation with you, Easy Weeknight Chili with Pinto Beans, Black Beans, & Sweet Italian Sausage, plus, if you’re not convinced you should be eating chili, I’m going to give you 5 good reasons to eat a bowl today!

5 Reasons to Eat a Bowl of the Easy Weeknight Chili Today!

Easy, healthy, delicious! Smoky & Sweet Turkey Chili topped with Avocado,Pumpkin Seeds, and Cilantro.

1. Chili is the ultimate “health food” that doesn’t taste “healthy”

Of course we all know it tastes delicious, but what about all the super nutritious ingredients that go into your chili pot? Metabolism boosting chili powder. Sulfur rich onions and garlic. And, lycopene laced tomatoes! And, let’s not forget the MIND Diet friendly beans for brain health! Toot, toot!!

2. It’s super versatile!

My chili contains beans and a modest amount of meat, but yours can contain whatever you like! Vegetarian or vegan? Skip the meat and add more beans. Or, throw in some lentils. Sub the dairy cheese for non-dairy cheese or just omit the cheese altogether, and you’re good to go!

Low FODMAP diet? Ditch the onions and garlic and try canned/rinsed/drained lentils-1/2 cup per serving or chickpeas-1/4 cup per serving. 

Paleo? Say adios to the beans and cheese and add in some chopped up veggies in addition to the meat. Of course, it goes without saying, for those of you following a gluten-free diet like me, {most} chili is naturally gluten-free!

3. This easy weeknight chili is super easy to make

Especially if you have a well-stocked pantry. Don’t have chili powder? Add any or all of the following: cumin, onion powder, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, allspice, and red chili flakes.

Don’t have sausage? Try adding ground grass fed beef, ground turkey, ground bison, or, again, ditch the meat altogether and add more beans, lentils, maybe some fall veggies like sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Oh, my!

No plain chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce? Got a jar of marinara? Toss that into the pot and enjoy a bowl of chili a la Italian style!

4. It will make you happy!

A couple of reasons for this…One, chilies contain a substance called capsaicin which triggers your body to produce the mood boosting endorphins. And, two, think about what you associate with eating a bowl of chili…for me, it’s images of ski trips to Mammoth with friends or sitting down to a cozy fall family dinner followed by a board game or two. Pure bliss!

In other words, chili is the ultimate comfort food, and what better reason to eat it than that?!

5. Did I mention it’s National Chili Month??

Enough said! So make a batch of my easy weeknight chili recipe below, then be sure and check out all the other delicious chili recipes I’ve rounded up from some of my favorite healthy food bloggers for you too!

Easy Weeknight Chili

Easy Weeknight Chili with Black Beans, Pinto Beans, and Sweet Italian Sausage

Dinner doesn’t get any easier than this healthy, hearty weeknight chili with sweet Italian sausage, two types of beans, and your favorite toppings of choice. Enjoy fully loaded!
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons high oleic expeller pressed sunflower oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 small sweet onion or 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 14.5 oz can chopped or diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable broth i.e. “no chicken” broth
  • 15 ounce can black beans
  • 15 ounce can pinto beans
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Toppings of choice Chopped onion, grated cheddar cheese, chopped avocado, chopped cilantro, sour cream or Greek yogurt.

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Removed casings from sausage, add to pan and cook until sausage is no longer pink (~7-10 minutes). Removed sausage from pan into a small bowl using a slotted spoon, and set aside.
  • Add chopped onion and mined garlic to pan with meat drippings, and stir until onion is tender.
  • Return cooked sausage to pan and add beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Add 1/2 cup broth and stir in with other ingredients. Add an additional 1/4 cup if more liquid is desired.
  • Add spices and salt and pepper to taste, then turn heat down to low and simmer for ~ 20 minutes.
  • Divide in to 6 bowls and garnish with toppings of choice.

Notes

Make it your own! Easy ingredient swaps & substitutions:

  • Omit meat for a vegetarian version
  • Omit meat and cheese for a vegan version & addd extra veggies {butternut squash, sweet potatoes, fresh or frozen corn, pumpkin, chopped peppers, etc.}
  • Add additional varieties of beans and/or lentils; stir in cooked whole grains such as sorghum, rice, millet, buckwheat, or quinoa.
  • Low FODMAP option: Omit onion and garlic. Add sauted leeks (dark green tops only) & garlic oil. Swap pinto and black beans for canned/rinsed/drained lentils and/or chickpeas. Top w/ chopped green onion tops.
  • Have fun experimenting!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 585kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 1721mg | Potassium: 1185mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1550IU | Vitamin C: 18.4mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 6.1mg
EA Stewart, RD | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Gluten Free, Paleo Option
Keyword easy chili recipe
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Healthy Easy Weeknight Chili Recipes Roundup Collage

19 More Healthy Chili Recipes You’ll Love!

Chili Recipes with Meat

 Vegetarian & Vegan Chili Recipes

Paleo Chili Recipes

What would you put on top of this easy weeknight chili? Beans or no beans in you chili? Which other health chili recipes would you love to try???

17 thoughts on “Easy Weeknight Chili + 5 Reasons to Eat A Bowl Today”

  1. The weather has just today turned from summer to autumn, and darn nearly winter! It is lashing with rain and we have the fire on. AS for food, for the first time in absolutely ages we had a creamy pasta dish to warm and comfort. I almost made my chilli (thank you for linking to me, btw) but hadn’t soaked the beans. I love that you have offered so many alternatives for everyone with your weeknight chilli. A chilli for all. Sounds like a manifesto!

  2. Hi! Great post – I happened to make chili on Sunday night – who knew it was national chili week! I added pumpkin to mine and it turned out really yummy (and the added vitamins from the pumpkin was a bonus). My son (5) loved it – esp. the cheese on top – “Mommy, I love this soup!” LOL. It is a good thing, since the batch is huge, and he is now getting it in his lunches. 🙂 Happy and safe travels!

    XO, Lisa

  3. Loving all these chili recipes! I was going to make chili for dinner tonight so now I have lots to choose from. Thanks for including my Cincinnati chili – it’s one of my son’s favorites!

  4. Chili is one of my favorite fall and winter foods. We usually top it with chopped onion, shredded cheese, and sometimes avocado. While I like traditional chili wih meat, I also have a meatless one with shredded carrots, olives, and mushrooms. Your recipe sounds delicious; I’ll have to give it a try. Have a fun trip!

  5. I I always enjoy your recipes and insights into health. I was just wondering why you include vegetable oil in recipes given that there is so much information out there now that tells us this is one of the most unhealthy oils to use.

    1. Hi Carolyn! Thanks so much for your comment and question. Usually I clarify the type of oil/fat I recommend, vegetable or otherwise, in my recipes, but this time I was in a bit of a rush and didn’t clarify, so glad you asked! I just revised the oil in the recipe to “high oleic, expeller pressed sunflower or safflower oil” which is one of the oils I use from my oil pantry {i just did a pantry clean out and, believe me there are a lot}. I like this oil for certain foods as it is rich in monounsaturated fats {which have a lot of favorable research behind them}, and has a neutral taste, which is good for certain dishes. Other oils/fats I use regularly include: Extra Virgin Olive Oil {mostly at room temp}, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil {pancakes, baked goods, etc, and for roasting some veggies}, and Pastured Butter {baked goods}. Others I enjoy occasionally include avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, and other nut oils. Hope that clarifies things a little 🙂

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