New This Month

Healthy Beef Chili


We've trimmed down a speeded-up Tex-Mex classic, ready in just 40 minutes. For beefy flavor without excess fat, pick ground sirloin instead of chuck. We've added extra portions of traditional (and nutritious) ingredients, such as beans and tomatoes.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

Source: Everyday Food, January/February 2008


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 pound ground beef sirloin
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • Toppings, such as reduced-fat sour cream, sliced scallions, and baked tortilla chips, for serving (optional)


  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

  2. Add tomato paste, chili powder, and cocoa powder. Cook, stirring, until mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beef, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.

  3. Add tomatoes (with their juice) and beans. Bring to a boil over high; reduce to a simmer, and cook until chili is slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with toppings, if desired.

Cook's Notes

Cocoa powder adds depth but not sweetness to the chili. Briefly heating the cocoa, chili powder, and tomato paste before adding the beef releases their aroma.

Reviews Add a comment

  • cec145
    4 JAN, 2014
    I really like this recipe, but I did make some changes. For the amount of meat, I double the beans and tomatoes. Sometimes I throw in a can of kidney beans with the pintos, maybe a can of tomatoes with green chilis with the regular ones. I use a whole (small) can of tomato paste. If I have chipotle chilis in adobo around, I put in a couple of tablespoons of adobo, or you can add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for some heat. I also make it with ground venison.
  • liz_alchemist
    14 MAR, 2011
    I love the idea of cocoa chili, but it is a bit bland. I added a lot of hot sauce. However, I will give it credit: this is a quick dinner to whip up without a grocery store trip.
  • MS11736549
    8 FEB, 2011
    I made this chili over the weekend and thought it would be good but it was bland bland bland! We didn't even eat it, just chucked it out. Really dissappointed in this reciepe. I feel like if a receipe is going to be posted, you shouldn't have to tinker with it.
  • anna3456
    8 APR, 2010
    WIth all the positive comments, I was expecting this to be really good. Unfortunately, it was not. I followed the recipe, buit it was bland. My husband said that canned chili would have tasted better. I'm going to keep looking for a chili recipe...this is not it.
  • SharomfmMaine
    16 MAR, 2009
    Deliscious and easy to make!
  • JoShannyU
    19 OCT, 2008
    This chili is incredible. I made it for my neighbors and it was so easy to make. They went home w/the recipe.
  • VegasShopper
    5 OCT, 2008
    This is a kind of mole chili. Interesting. Suggest using tomatoes with no salt added. Beans, too if you can find them. Then add salt to your taste or health requirements. Chuck usually has too much fat, but ground round should be okay and a little cheaper than sirloin. Choose a round steak then ask the butcher to trim the fat and grind it coarse. Definitely add cumin.
  • auntdelite
    5 OCT, 2008
    I just don't think Chili is Chili without the Cumin. This is a must as far as I'm concerned.
  • blackbeetle
    12 SEP, 2008
    scary face is right...cumin and cayenne and paprika.
  • kiltfire
    1 MAR, 2008
    I left the cocoa powder out and instead added cumin and cayenne and paprika. I also added jalapen n n n o peppers as chili just isn't chili without the heat.