(Updated from original post “Low Sodium Chili” on November 10th, 2011)
You don’t need to add more salt to a dish to add flavor, just add more flavor! To make chili less complicated, canned tomatoes, sauce, and beans are a great option. But this usually packs your chili with a ton of sodium.
Opt for “no salt added” canned goods instead and you will create a much healthier meal. These are conveniently labeled in the canned goods section of your local grocery store. You can always add more salt to taste in your finished recipe. It’s easier to add salt than remove it!
Here is my go-to chili recipe that replaces all added sodium with a couple teaspoons of sea salt and uses sugar and spice to bring out a flavorful meal for chilly nights.
I grew some delicious (but super hot) Bulgarian Carrot Peppers in my garden this year, and they are a key ingredient. Make sure you wear gloves when dicing them! If the oils get in your skin it will burn like crazy.
You can make this deliciously spicy, low fat, low sodium chili quickly on the stove top–it will take about 30 minutes to cook. Or, you could simmer it for four to six hours in the Crockpot, whatever method suits your time and energy level.
I usually cook it on low in the Crockpot when I want to come home from work to a ready dinner. If you choose this method, make sure you sauté your veggies over the stovetop before adding them to the slow cooker for the best flavor.
Use 93% or higher lean ground beef to make this recipe even healthier. I try to find 96% lean. It’s more expensive but worth it when it comes to eliminating excess fat from your diet.
- 1 pound 93% or higher lean ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1-2 Bulgarian carrot peppers or serrano chili peppers, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans no salt added diced tomatoes
- 1 can unsalted tomato paste
- 2 cans no salt added kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1/4-1/2 cup water or low sodium beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- In a large stock pot over medium heat, sprinkle the black pepper onto the ground beef and cook meat until browned and no pink remains. Carefully drain excess fat then return pot to stovetop.
- Add olive oil, onion, peppers, and salt to the pot. Stir and cook for five minutes, or until onions and peppers begin to turn translucent.
- Make a well in the middle of the pot ingredients and add the minced garlic. Cook garlic for no more than 30 seconds before stirring with the rest of the mixture.
- Add the diced tomatoes with liquid, drained and rinsed kidney beans, tomato paste, wine, water or broth, sugar, spices, and bay leaf into the pot. Set on medium high heat to start the boiling process.
- Once the mixture starts to bubble, reduce to medium low heat and cover. Simmer for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally. If you make it in the Crockpot, cook on low for at least six hours or high for four hours. Salt to taste.
- Serve with shredded vegan cheese, chopped onions, and lactose free sour cream!