I love chili on a cold winter night, coated with gooey cheese and steaming in the bowl. After I graduated from nutrition school I began to see the potential in adding more nutrition to everyday meals. Hence, “Chili Spiked with Veggies” was born. It’s the perfect marriage between comforting, warm, tasty chili and healthy veggies. Even better, you can make the whole thing in the crockpot and it only takes about 15-20 minutes (depending on how fast you chop!)
Slow Cooker Chili Spiked With Veggies
Equipment: Slow Cooker, 7 quart
- 2-3 pounds ground beef, buffalo (grass-fed) or turkey
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 10-12 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 1/2 cup chili powder (use 1/4 cup for kids or those who don’t like a lot of “heat” to their chili)
- 2 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (again, use less for less spicy flavor)
- 2 cans (each 28oz) diced tomatoes with juices
- 2-3 small zucchinis, diced
- 1 bell pepper, chopped in small pieces
- 1-2 carrots, diced
- 4 cups (32oz) beef, chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cans (each 14oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 Serrano or jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
- sour cream or grated cheese and chopped green onion or chives optional for garnishing
Brown the ground meat over medium-high heat either in the slow cooker insert (if it is OK to be used on stovetop – mine is and I love this function!) or in a skillet. Season with salt and pepper while cooking. If using a high fat content meat you may want to drain off some excess fat.
Reduce heat to medium, add the garlic and yellow onions to the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, and cayenne and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, zucchini, bell pepper, carrot, and kidney beans. Add the broth and stir to combine.
Transfer the slow cooker insert to the base, or spoon the ingredients from the skillet into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper and more spices if desired. If you want even more of a kick to your chili, add an additional Serrano or jalapeño pepper (minced) to your chili for the last 15-20 minutes of cook time. Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with your choice of sour cream, grated cheese, green onion and/or chives.