Healthy Beef Chili

Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
40 mins

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.


  • 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.

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