Harvest Chili

Healthy Living, Recipes

As the weather gets cooler and fall vegetables fill the farmer’s market, try this healthy Harvest Chili. Butternut squash and zucchini give this Harvest Chili lots of good nutrition and taste. Make it ahead so the flavors can meld and you’ll have dinner ready with a quick reheat in the microwave.

A serving size of ¾ of a cup is a small portion for most adults- if you find yourself portioning out more than that, be sure to increase the nutrition values relative to the serving you actually eat. A quick glance at the ingredients gave this Registered Dietitian (RD) pause due to many high sodium ingredients. If you look at the nutrition information, 289mg per serving is considered a moderate amount of sodium. If you eat one and a half cups of chili you’ll find yourself in high sodium territory. You could modify the recipe to contain less salt by omitting the beef boullion, salt, Worcestershire, and cheese, relying instead on the flavors of the spices and veggies to really add taste to your dish. Why monitor how much salt you eat? Many medical conditions including Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), kidney disease, and hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, require a low salt diet. Talk to your primary care physician or your RD for more information.

Theresa Jackson RD, CSOWM, CDN

Clinical Nutrition Manager, Kenmore Mercy Hospital


  • 3 lbs 90% lean ground beef
  • 2 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 2 1/2 cups butternut squash peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 (29 oz) reduced-sodium tomato sauce
  • 1 (28 oz) diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon crushed
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups zucchini cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 oz shredded low fat cheddar, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions, optional
  • Whole wheat crackers, optional


In a large saucepan, brown the beef over medium heat. In a colander, drain the beef over a bowl and discard the fat. Set the beef aside.

Lightly coat the same saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Add onion, celery, squash and garlic and sauté over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add the reserved beef, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and paprika and stir.

Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes with their liquid and stir. Add the crushed beef bouillon, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar and stir. Simmer on low, covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the squash is almost tender. Add the zucchini and stir.Continue to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until zucchini is tender. Serve with the cheddar, raw onions and crackers, if desired.

Yield: 24 servings

Heart Healthy Recipe
Diabetes Recipe

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3/4 cup

Calories: 169

Sodium: 289mg

Fat: 7g

Carbohydrates: 8g

Saturated Fat: 3g

Fiber: 2g

Cholesterol: 50mg

Protein: 17g

* Nutritional information is based on ingredients listed and serving size; any additions or substitutions to ingredients may alter the recipe’s nutritional content

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No information provided in any recipe and/or other product or service is a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be interpreted as treatment recommendations. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH PROVIDER WITH ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING A MEDICAL CONDITION.