Go Back Email Link
+ servings
Chili with toppings of cheese and sour cream in a decorative bowl

Lean Chili with Beans

Jani H. Leuschel
Healthy and delicious chili full of fiber, healthy carbs, and iron
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Entrees, Main Course, Recipes, Stew
Cuisine American, Southwestern
Servings 4
Calories 324 kcal


  • large pot
  • cutting board
  • chef's knife
  • Can opener
  • measuring spoons
  • Strainer


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 90/10 lean to fat percent
  • 1 can kidney beans See note below
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses use light molasses; can sub dark brown sugar or honey
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt kosher
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper fresh ground
  • pinch ground cloves


  • Wash hands thoroughly.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until it begins to lose its color, about 5 minutes.
    Raw ground beef, large can of tomatoes, spices, oil, onions, and kidney beans - ingredients for superbowl chili
  • Add ground beef to the pot and cook until no longer pink, breaking the meat into small pieces as you brown it. Place the browning utensil in the sink for cleaning. Grab a fresh utensil and continue with the recipe.
  • Pour diced tomatoes into the beef-onion mixture and scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the rinsed kidney beans, molasses, and spices. Stir well to combine all ingredients and bring the chili to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Keep warm until ready to serve or cool and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
  • Serve hot, with toppings of cheese, green onions, sour cream, and cornbread.


The nutritional calculations do not include any toppings. A couple of tablespoons of shredded Colby-Jack cheese will add about 60 calories, 3 grams of saturated fat (5 g fat total), and 90 mg of sodium. It also ups the protein by 4 grams.
Do not use dark or black-strap molasses. If you don't have or can't find light molasses, use up to a tablespoon of dark brown sugar or 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey.
Grandma's Molasses bottle -- for lean chili with beans recipe
Some type of sweetener is usually necessary to balance the acidity of the tomatoes in this recipe. You could also add a tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste with the spices and 1 teaspoon white sugar. Taste after the chili has simmered for 15 minutes and use 1 to 2 more teaspoons of sugar if the flavor is too sharp.
You can add an extra can of beans to increase the serving size and the fiber.


Calories: 324kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 31gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 696mgPotassium: 905mgFiber: 8gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 626IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 6mg
Keyword B vitamins, diabetic friendly, fiber-rich, ground meat, lean, make-ahead, protein, winter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!