Tired of dinner decisions? Enjoy a 14 day trial to our meal plan service, voted #1 by Lifehacker, and reduce your mental load today.

Slow Cooker (or not) All-American Chili
with zucchini / bell peppers

Active: 30 Total: 510

We call this 'All-American' chili because it's completely classic - ground beef, beans, and a simple blend of dried spices. To give it a Cook Smarts twist, we made sure it includes some vegetables, too.
Smarts: Chili is a great meal to make ahead and / or freeze for the future. It tends to taste even better a day or two after it's made.
Cooking methods: This recipe includes instructions for using the slow cooker or stovetop. Select your preferred method.

Tags

Ingredients

Metric
Servings:
4
All-American Chili:
  • Zucchini - 10 oz, diced
  • Bell peppers, any color - 1, diced
  • Onions, medium - 1, diced
  • Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped
  • Chili powder - 1 Tbsp
  • Paprika, smoked - 2 tsp (sub regular paprika)
  • Cumin - 1 tsp
  • Coriander, ground - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
  • Beef, ground and lean - 1 lb
  • Beans, red kidney (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • Tomato paste - 2 Tbsp
  • Stock, any type - 1 1/2 cups
  • Tomatoes, diced and preferably fire-roasted (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can
  • Cheese, cheddar - 4 oz, shredded (look for pre-shredded to save time)
  • Chives - 2 tsp, chopped (sub green onions)
  • Sour cream - for serving (sub plain or Greek yogurt)
  • Tortilla chips (opt) - for serving

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
Just a moment...
% Daily Value
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...

Increase your nutrition smarts

Choose Cooking Method

Prep

  1. Zucchini / Bell peppers / Onions / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store zucchini and bell peppers in their own separate containers. Combine onions and garlic in another container. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Make spice blend - Combine chili powder, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, salt, and black pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Saute beef - In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking it apart, until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and spice blend and saute until onions are starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  4. Beans - Drain and rinse.

  5. Slow cook chili - In the bowl of a slow cooker, combine beef-onion mixture, zucchini, bell peppers, beans, tomato paste, stock, and tomatoes (including liquid). Stir everything well to combine. Gently press down ingredients until they are mostly submerged in liquid (it may seem like you don’t have enough liquid, but the ingredients will release moisture as they cook). Cook chili on low for 8 to 9 hours. (Note: This is best cooked on low because the low liquid content and tomatoes can cause burning if cooked at higher heat.)

  6. Cheese / Chives - Prep as directed.

Unlock this meal along with hundreds of smart meal plans and never stress about "What's for dinner?" again

Try for free
Learn More

Make

  1. Give chili a stir. Taste and season with some salt and pepper. If you’d like it spicier, you can add some hot sauce (not on ingredients list).

  2. Serve chili with cheese, chives, sour cream, and chips for topping. Enjoy!

Prep

  1. Zucchini / Bell peppers / Onions / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store zucchini and bell peppers in their own separate containers. Combine onions and garlic in another container. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Make spice blend - Combine chili powder, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, salt, and black pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Beans - Drain and rinse.

  4. Cheese / Chives - Prep as directed.

Unlock this meal along with hundreds of smart meal plans and never stress about "What's for dinner?" again

Try for free
Learn More

Make

  1. Heat a Dutch oven with oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking it apart, until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

  2. To beef, add onion, garlic, and spice blend and saute until onions are starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.

  3. Stir in zucchini, bell peppers, beans, tomato paste, stock , and tomatoes (including liquid). Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer chili for 20 to 25 minutes to let the flavors come together (reduce heat as needed to maintain a low simmer).

  4. Give chili a stir. Taste and season with some salt and pepper. If you’d like it spicier, you can add some hot sauce (not on ingredients list).

  5. Serve chili with cheese, chives, sour cream, and chips for topping. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
Just a moment...
% Daily Value
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...
Just a moment...

Increase your nutrition smarts


Reviews

Ratings

Original (49)
Gluten-free (4)
Paleo (3)
Vegetarian (13)

32 reviews

Very delicious and easy. I added Tapatio to my bowl. I did not add sour cream, chives, or cheese.

By: Nichole
Posted: Nov 22, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Vegetarian was so good! I swapped butternut squash for the zucchini and it was delicious!

By: Jennifer
Posted: Nov 12, 2021
Diet: Vegetarian
0 Helpful

This was a great comfort meal for a cold day, and reheated well too. I loved having the veggies added. I just topped with cheese and chives- I omitted the sour cream and chips and didn’t really miss them.

By: Melissa
Posted: Nov 11, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Not a fave of the whole family. Best chili recipe still the sweet potato one.

By: Patti
Posted: Nov 09, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

I used a pressure cooker, so I did a bit of a mash up between this recipe and Am. Test Kitchen pressure cooker chilli recipe. I air fried the zucchini while softening onion/blooming spices to reduce it making the chilli watery. Also added 3 T. of the beans to the pot while under pressure so they would burst and thicken the chilli, added the rest after releasing pressure. Also only added 1 c. of broth. I liked the consistency. I thought my chilli powder would make it too spicy for the kids, but my daughter enjoyed eating the beans out of it. Added about 2 T. of a smoky salsa from a local restaurant.

By: Karen
Posted: Nov 08, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Made it in the pressure cooker. Not our favorite chili recipe.

By: Seren
Posted: Nov 07, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful