Low Calorie Crock-Pot Chili

Bowl of Chili

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Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 hrs 20 mins
Total: 5 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
285 Calories
8g Fat
24g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 285
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 67mg 22%
Sodium 338mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 6g 23%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 38mg 190%
Calcium 85mg 7%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 823mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cooking in a crock-pot is an easy way to prepare food with fantastic flavors while having your hands free to create other dishes or simply to get on with your day. Chilis are a classic slow-cooked meal, but most recipes are hearty, caloric, and filled with fats from bacon, oils, or added dairy products used as toppings like cheese or cream. While those are delicious and filling, they can be problematic if you keep an eye on your caloric intake or simply want a hearty dish that won't weigh you down. Our recipe for chili makes around 6 300-calorie bowls and can be cooked either on high or low, depending on your time-frame and needs.

After just a few minutes of easy preparation, cover, and let simmer. Perfect for family and budget-friendly meals, this chili is nutritious and packed with fiber and protein: just the pound of lean beef adds a whopping 85 grams of protein to the dish, while the beans add around 37 grams per can. Choose ground turkey or chicken for a different flavor profile, or skip the meat for a vegetarian alternative. Use low-sodium and unseasoned beans so you can adjust the seasoning to your palate.

Serve this dish with a slice of soft cornbread or a few corn tortillas, and a crisp green salad for a well-rounded meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (extra-lean)

  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)

  • 1 medium onion (chopped)

  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper (chopped)

  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans (drained)

  • 1 15-ounce can red beans (drained)

  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (undrained)

  • 1 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes (Mexican-style)

  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Salt (to taste)

  • Optional:

    6 tablespoons green onions (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a non-stick skillet on medium heat, place the beef, garlic, onions, and peppers and brown until the beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess fat that cooks off of the ground beef and discard the extra drippings.

  3. Place the beef mixture into a 4-quart (or larger) crock-pot.

  4. Add into the crock-pot the kidney beans, red beans, tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin. Gently stir together with a spoon until all of the ingredients are well combined. Set the slow cooker to cook on low for five hours, or three hours on high. Check the chili on occasion and give it a stir.

  5. Once the cooking time has passed, taste for seasoning and add salt to taste, if needed. Carefully ladle the chili into several bowls. Top with green onions, if using.

  6. Serve hot and enjoy!

Other Versions of Our Low-Cal Chili

Beef doesn't necessarily have to be what makes a hearty chili. Here are other options for you to choose from:

  • Mushroom Chili: mushrooms have a meaty quality and flavor and are great substitutes for meat, as they add volume to stews and chilis, but also a lot of flavor and nutrition. Brown 16 to 20 ounces of mixed mushrooms with the garlic, onions, and peppers as you'd brown the beef. Just add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan beforehand to avoid sticking. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as instructed, but lower your cooking times to 2 hours on high or 4 on low.
  • Vegan Chili: skip the beef, and add one can of drained garbanzo beans. Simply mix all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook as instructed. To this vegan chili, you could add 1 block of pressed cubed extra firm tofu, 16 ounces of crumbled tempeh, or 16 ounces of seitan. Add any of these plant-based proteins to the crock-pot 20 minutes before the cooking time is up.
  • All-veggie Chili: this dish is a great way to sneak in extra vegetables, and our recipe has room for other vegetables like carrots, kale, spinach, peas, or zucchini, although any other vegetable will complement the flavors without issues. For a heartier option, but still on the low-calorie side, add 1 cup of cubed sweet or white potatoes.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kidney Beans. FoodData Central, United Stated Department of Agriculture.