Skip to main content

Two-Bean Beef Chili

Updated: 8/14/21 3:00 amPublished: 5/30/18
By Catherine Newman

Makes: 6 servings

Total carbohydrates: 27 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

This is a deliciously hearty, tangy version of the classic, and it’s amazingly easy to make. If you’d like to lower the carbs even further, consider swapping in another half-pound of beef for 1 can of beans (you can still call it “Two-Bean Chili” and we’ll never tell) and/or adding a couple of diced zucchini when you’re cooking the vegetables. Also, once you’ve gotten through step 3, feel free to pop the chili in a slow cooker and let it finish out its time in there for 2 or 3 hours on low.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 stalks of celery, diced

1 ½ pounds ground beef (ideally 85% lean)

3 tablespoons chili powder blend (see note below)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste) (or ½ teaspoon table salt)

1 (14-ounce) can pinto or pink beans (not drained)

1 (14-ounce) can black beans (not drained)

1 (14-ounce) can crushed or pureed tomatoes

0-2 tablespoons white vinegar

Toppings: grated cheese, sour cream, chopped red onions, hot sauce


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot, over medium-low heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté until the vegetables are tender but not browning, around 10 minutes.

  2. Turn the heat to high and crumble the ground beef into the pot. Cook, breaking up the clumps with a spatula, until the meat is starting to brown and sizzle in its own fat, around 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low.

  3. Add the chili powder, garlic powder, and salt, and stir just until the spices are fragrant, around 15 seconds. Stir in the beans with their liquid and the tomatoes.

  4. Simmer the chili, uncovered and occasionally stirred, until it is thickened and delicious-looking, about 30-45 minutes, then taste it. If it is not completely fantastic, try to figure out what it needs. More salt? A dash of white vinegar? Add it and taste again, repeating until the chili tastes perfect.

  5. Serve in bowls, letting everyone top their own at the table.

Note: “Chili powder blend” is the spice powder you might simply think of as “chili powder,” but instead of containing only ground, dried chiles (this is true “chile powder”), the blend also contains other seasonings, typically including cumin, garlic, and oregano. (You’ll see these additions if you look at the ingredients list of the chili powder you have on hand.)

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

What do you think?

About the authors

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop... Read the full bio »