Healthy Eating

5 Delicious Ways to Make a Healthy High-Protein Chili

There’s something for everyone — paleo, plant-based, and protein-packed!

By: Lexy Parsons

When you’re looking for cold-weather comfort food, no one does it better than a bowl of chili. It will fill you up, keep you warm, and satisfy all your cozy cravings. Traditionally made with ground beef, beans, tomatoes, and spices, chili is the ultimate winter wellness meal. It’s packed with protein, fiber, and iron, and thanks to the wide variety of veggies and herbs, chili is full of important nutrients. Plus, it’s easy to modify and customize for all your flavor preferences or dietary needs. 

And not only is healthy chili easy to make, but it’s also simple to prep in advance! Make a big batch in the Crockpot, or let it simmer on the stovetop and warm up the kitchen. Perfect for family dinners, Sunday gameday, or a hearty and healthy lunch or snack. 

Ahead, are five healthy chili recipes for all your cold-weather comfort food cravings. Enjoy these recipes as is, or customize them with your favorite add-ins or healthy swaps. Yum!

Hearty & Healthy Chili Recipes to Keep You Warm & Satiated All Winter

#1 Turkey Pumpkin Chili

This lightened-up healthy chili recipe is made with lean turkey and lower-carb pumpkin for a hearty and healthy meal. Full of colorful veggies and plant-based fiber, it will have you feeling full and satisfied. Serve with your favorite add-ins, or enjoy as is! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil⁣
  • 1 cup yellow onion⁣, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper⁣
  • ½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper⁣
  • 1 clove garlic, minced⁣
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes, diced (with juices)⁣
  • 1 can black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained⁣
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree⁣
  • 2 tbsp chili powder⁣
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper⁣
  • Salt, to taste 

Step #1: In a large pot or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic and sauté until tender. 

Step #2: Stir in the turkey, and cook until brown. Next, stir in the canned tomatoes, beans, and pumpkin. Season with chili powder, pepper, and salt.

Step #3: Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until thick. Serve with toppings of choice, such as avocado, Greek yogurt, or fresh herbs. 

#2 Healthy One-Pot Salsa Verde Chili 

This one-pot healthy chili is a yummy twist on the classic recipe. It’s made with salsa verde in place of canned tomatoes and packed with tons of plant-based protein from the quinoa and hearty black beans (or white beans). Toss it all in your crockpot and let it cook down to perfection!

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups chicken or bone broth
  • 2 (12 oz) jars salsa verde
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 lbs chicken breast
  • 1 (15 oz) can black or white beans
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp oregano 
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Step #1: Add all ingredients to a crock pot and or slow cooker and stir well to combine. Set on high for 3-4 hours or medium for 6-8 hours.

Step #2: Once cooked, remove the chicken and shred. Return to crock pot and stir to combine. Serve with optional add-ins such as Greek yogurt, jalapeños, fresh cilantro, or tortilla chips.

#3 Easy Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili

Looking for an easy-prep Vegetarian option? This FitOn PRO recipe is for you! Made with butternut squash, pinto beans, and flavorful herbs and spices, this healthy chili recipe is protein-packed and ultra-delicious. Swap the vegetarian protein for your favorite alternative, or add any additional veggies or herbs of your choosing. 

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 15 oz canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. vegetarian meat crumbles
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • ½ cup celery stalk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp ground chili powder
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and diced (optional)
  • 2 garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 14 oz canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • For topping: Your favorite chili toppings such as sour cream or Greek yogurt, avocado, cilantro, shredded cheese, tortilla chips 

Directions:

Step #1: In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, celery, and jalapeno. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the onions are beginning to become translucent.

Step #2: Add the vegetarian ground meat, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and bay leaf. Cook for 6-8 minutes, breaking up the vegetarian meat until it is browned.

Step #3: Add the tomatoes, pinto beans, broth, and squash. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until squash is tender but not mushy.

Step #4: Serve with fresh lime juice, baked tortilla chips, sour cream/Greek yogurt, avocado, cilantro, cheese, or any of your favorite chili toppings.

#4 Healthy Paleo Turkey & Sweet Potato Chili 

This no-bean turkey and sweet potato chili is the perfect protein-packed recipe that’s Paleo, dairy-free, and gluten-free! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cups chicken or bone broth
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½  tsp cumin
  • ½  tsp chili powder
  • ½  tsp oregano
  • ¼  tsp paprika
  • ¼  tsp garlic powder
  • Black pepper and salt, to taste 

Directions:

Step #1: In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until caramelized.

Step #2: Next, add the ground turkey and spices. Cook until browned. 

Step #3: Once cooked through, pour in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and broth. Stir well. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Step #4: After 20 minutes, stir in sweet potato and bell peppers. Cover with lid and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Step #5: Once cooked through, serve and enjoy! Serve with any additional add-ins such as avocado, Greek yogurt, or fresh herbs.

#5 Healthy & Creamy White Chicken Chili 

This healthy and creamy white chicken chili is dairy-free, gluten-free, and made with whole food ingredients like coconut milk, white beans, shredded chicken, and lime. Packed with fresh flavor and simple to make

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp cumin 
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans white beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken or bone broth
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup corn
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped 

Directions:

Step #1: Add oil to a large dutch oven, then cook chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side until browned. Remove and set aside to cool. Once cool, shred the chicken.

Step #2: Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and translucent. Next, add the dried spices, stirring well. 

Step #3: Add the beans, green chilies, broth, and lime juice. Stir until well combined. Then add the chicken back to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Step #4: Once thick and well combined, stir in the coconut milk and corn. Taste test, adjusting seasoning as needed. Simmer for another five minutes until well combined. Serve

The Best Cozy Chili Recipes For All Your Cravings

The colder months of the year tend to leave us craving heartier foods, so there’s no better time to cozy up to a bowl full of chili. Not only will these recipes keep you warm, but they’ll also keep you satisfied, satiated, and nourished! Whether you’re plant-based, Paleo, or looking for something packed with protein, we’ve got you covered. The best part? All you have to do is toss everything in one pot to cook in the crock pot or the stove! What’s not to love?