by: Ali Brown, RD, LD

In my house, chili is a hearty comfort food consumed in the fall and winter months.  However, while chili isn’t necessarily bad for you, some bowls can add up to over 700 calories after toppings are added. While working with clients who are following anti-inflammatory diets we found that chili can be part of a healthy diet!  So we have come up with healthier anti-inflammatory chili recipes.

A few tips for keeping your chili “lean” include:

  • Watch your toppings: high-fat toppings like sour cream and cheese should be limited (or avoided if you can’t resist the temptation). There are plenty of other add-ins that can bring variety to your chili.
  • Choose a lean meat: Choose the leanest meat you can find at the store, or make sure to remove the fat from your pan before using.
  • Cut carbs: you can GREATLY reduce the carb content in your chili by eliminating the beans. We often have customers tell us that they don’t even miss the beans in our hearty chili.


Healthier Anti-Inflammatory Chili Recipes

smoky butternut chili

Smoky Butternut Chili

Course Main Course, Soup
Servings 4


  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef 97/3 if possible
  • ¼ lb yellow onion diced
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups plum tomatoes with juice canned tomatoes are fine to use, no sugar added
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes with juice canned tomatoes are fine to use, no sugar added
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 4 oz chopped green chilies
  • 8 oz beef broth
  • ¾ lb butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed
  • ¼ lb red bell pepper diced
  • ½ bunch green onion diced for garnish


  • Brown beef with onions and spices over medium-high heat. Tip: if you do not have lean meat, brown the meat in a separate pan and drain before adding to onions.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add tomatoes, tomato paste, green chilies and broth and mix thoroughly.  Simmer for 15 minutes, to allow flavors to blend.
  • Add butternut squash and simmer for 45 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  • Add bell pepper and simmer an additional 15 minutes. Add water if necessary, and adjust seasonings to taste.
Keyword Anti-Inflammatory, Beef, Complete Meal, Entree, Soup, Tomato

Try Some Variety

Now, for more variety try including some of our favorite add-ins, listed here. Foods that are incorporated into the dish can be added with the tomatoes to simmer. Toppings should be added when the chili is served.
Healthier Anti-Inflammatory Chili Recipe


If you’re interested in an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and more information and recipes like this, check out The Official Anti-Inflammatory Diet Masterclass.  Or email us at for more details.


Get The Official Anti-Inflammatory Foods List Here