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This robust and flavorful Hearty Chili is full of the protein you need for just about every body function. This recipe is versatile and can be adapted to your own dietary needs. It can be made paleo with chicken or turkey or vegan with beans.  Either way, it’s a filling, comforting, super easy dish.Hearthy Chili

As a health coach, I work with clients to create a plan that works for them based on fundamental nutritional information and their own personal needs. Since we are all bio-individuals, we need different things.  Some people thrive eating clean animal protein and others do better with a more vegan approach.  My goal in my one-on-one health coaching practice and here on this blog is to empower people with information, recipes and tools to make the best choices for themselves.

Hearty ChiliProtein is one of the nutritional foundations for good health. Your body uses it to build and repair tissue. You need it to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. It is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

The USDA says .36 grams of protein for every pound. But we are all unique, each of us has different protein needs depending on our activity level, our age and how well our digestive system is working.   Research has shown that as you age you may need more protein. You may have a harder time digesting protein so it’s advisable to eat more. For more information read Protein Deficiency: Could This Be You?

The International Osteoporosis Foundation and the European Society of Clinical Nutrition found that some older people tend to lose muscle mass with age, therefore, they need more protein. They recommended that those over 60 years old get .54 grams of protein per pound of body weight in order to maintain healthy body mass.

Be sure to eat lots of green vegetables along with your protein to keep your pH in balance.  Also include raw sauerkraut or kim chi to keep up the good bacteria in your digestive system. Raw fermented vegetables help build those good bacteria naturally.  

Hearty Chili

One of the keys to eating healthy is having great food available for you when you’re hungry. This Hearty Chili can be made for dinner on a weeknight and then be there for a quick healthy lunch all week long.  Just heat it up, top with avocado, no fuss, instant wholesome food, yay!

I often make a double batch even for just the two of us.  I like to have it on hand throughout the week.  It also freezes very well.

In addition to the usual onions, garlic and peppers I add mushrooms for a rich umami flavor.  They make it special.

I also recommend a chipotle pepper for a rich smoky taste.  Chipotle peppers are smoked dried jalapenos. They don’t make it hot, just flavorful.  Remove them after cooking and don’t let them break apart. They’re optional but make the dish more sublime.

Enjoy the robust flavor of this Hearty Chili. I’ve included the paleo and vegan version for you to personalize based on your dietary preferences.

Hearty Chili

If you like this recipe, try these other hearty stews:

Indian Vegetable Stew

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine with Greens

One Pot Winter Vegetable Lentils

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Hearty Chili

Hearty Chicken or Bean Chili

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  • Author: Ingrid DeHart -
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This robust and flavorful Hearty Chili is super simple to make and full of spice. Choose the paleo version with chicken or the vegan one with beans. They’re both full of the protein you need for just about every body function.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small/medium or 1 extra large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow, red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 ½ cups mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 chipotle pepper (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes*
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked kidney beans, rinsed & drained (vegan option)
    1 1/4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed & drained (vegan option)
    or 2 ½ cups cooked chicken or turkey shredded (paleo option)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (I buy tomato paste in a tube, it lasts longer)*
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ avocado cut into chunks (optional for garnish)


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onion, pepper, mushrooms, jalapeno and chipotle (if using).
  3. Cook the vegetables, stirring every minute or so, for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and clear.
  4. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and crushed red pepper. Stir for a minute to combine everything.
  5. Add diced tomatoes and their juice and sauté 2 minutes.
  6. Add chicken or beans, tomato paste, and water or stock.
  7. Bring the chili to a boil, then lower it to a simmer and cover.
  8. Simmer, stirring frequently for 20 minutes, or until it’s thick.
  9. Remove chipotle, don’t let it break apart or the chili will get hot spicy.
  10. Add cilantro and lime juice. Taste to adjust salt.
  11. Serve with avocado chunks (optional).


For Whole30 use chicken or turkey and get canned tomatoes and tomato paste without any sugar.

Nutrition information is with chicken.  With beans, the protein is 8.9 grams and the fiber is 9.4 grams

  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Healthy, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

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