Donielle Flynn

Add meat of choice and spices. Heat until meat is thoroughly cooked. Michigan healthy chili recipe

I love chili. A healthy Michigan Chili? Even better! I’m always looking for a great chili at one of our local restaurants, but I also make it at home. I’ve been trying to eat healthier, so I made some adjustments to the recipe I’d been using, and I liked the taste of the chili BETTER. Talk about a win/win. I started out with a recipe from I like it because it doesn’t have fancy ingredients I don’t have readily available and it has a five-star rating with nearly 3,000 votes.  Pro tip: when I search recipes, I always put “best” before it, for example, “Best chili recipe.”  I think it helps bring better recipes to the top.

This chili is low-sodium, diabetic-friendly, and DELICIOUS.

I try to shove as many fresh ingredients in as possible, aside from tomatoes.  I would love to use some fresh Michigan tomatoes, but I also love chili more in the winter, so that is a rough match-up.  I experimented with some low-sodium options and I still think the chili is delicious.  I recently started using poblano green peppers.  I love the added kick.  If you prefer your chili milder, I recommend regular green peppers.

I found a survey where people in Michigan were asked what ingredients make up their “best” chili.  CLICK HERE if you’d like to find out about the results.  The survey said Michiganders prefer ground beef and three-bean chili.  I usually use two, but the more the merrier.  My Michigan chili recipe is based on the survey findings, but I did use two, not three beans.  I know, I am a rebel.

  • Ingredients

    1 pound of super lean beef. 90% or higher / lean ground turkey / or plant-based product substitute
    1 poblano green pepper (green bell pepper for a milder taste)
    1 red bell pepper
    1 medium sweet onion
    2 scallions
    1 clove of garlic
    a drizzle of olive oil
    2 tablespoons of chili powder
    2 tablespoons of cumin
    2 cans of Ro-tel no-salt-added diced tomatoes
    1 can of tomato sauce (12 oz)
    1/2 small can of tomato paste (use more or less depending on how thick you like your chili)
    2 tablespoons of Swerve brown sugar replacement (this is my favorite, but whatever sugar replacement you prefer)
    a pinch of sugar
    1 can of low-sodium red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
    1 can of low-sodium black beans (drained and rinsed)
    1 1/2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth (Kroger’s Simple Truth)

  • Step 1: Prep

    Finely dice the garlic clove.  Chop the onion and peppers into small pieces.  I slice the scallions thin, but I don’t bother to dice them.  Up to you to your personal preference on how you chop.  Obviously, it doesn’t affect the taste.

    Doni starts with fresh ingredients.

    Doni starts with fresh ingredients.

  • Step 2: Cook Veggies

    Heat a small drizzle of olive oil in your chili (soup) pot.  Add chopped garlic, onions and peppers.  Cook on medium/medium-low for about 5 minutes.

    Sauté with a small drizzle of olive oil in a large pot.

    Sauté with a small drizzle of olive oil in a large pot.

  • Step 3: add meat and spices

    Once our veggies are softened and fragrant, add your meat.  I like to add my spices right then too, but if you prefer, you can cook meat, then add spices.  Bottom line, throw your meat, chili pepper, cumin, swerve (sugar-free) brown sugar, a pinch of regular sugar (cuts down on acid level in tomatoes), and tomato paste.  Stir until well combined and the meat is thoroughly cooked.  I prefer to use a wooden spoon when cooking.  It’s great for breaking the meat up.

    Add meat of choice and spices. Heat until meat is thoroughly cooked.

    Add meat of choice and spices. Heat until meat is thoroughly cooked.

  • Step 4: Add remaining ingredients

    Throw your two cans of Ro-tel, a can of tomato sauce, 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth, and beans (drained and rinsed) into your pot. Stir well.

    Doni uses Ro-Tel instead of canned tomatoes and low or "no salt added" products.

    Doni uses Ro-Tel instead of canned tomatoes and low or “no salt added” products when possible.

  • Step 5: Simmer

    Let your chili simmer (cook on low) for about 30 minutes. Stir, turn off the heat, and let it sit for another 5-10 minutes. I think this chili is great without toppings, but a little cheese and sour cream never hurt anything in my book. Enjoy!

    Stir and simmer chili for 30 minutes.

    Stir and simmer chili for 30 minutes.

  • Your Finished Product!

    Doni's bowl of chili

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