Lean Beef Chili with Corn and Beans

I love chili and I’ve been trying to come up with a good chili recipe for a while now that won’t add an extra layer of belly blubber.  After some experimentation I came up with adding more veggies/legumes (that’s a stuck-up way of saying beans), and leaner ground meat.  Why the hell would I want to use leaner ground meat you ask? Am I crazy? Do I hate deliciousness? No, but thank you for asking.  I use a leaner ground meat for two reasons: The first is that it cuts down a bit on calories (anywhere from 10 to 50 calories per serving) and the second is that chili can have a lot of liquid, so a fatty meat will leave it with an unwanted greasy texture. Plus it’s kind of gross when you refrigerate it and there’s that white congealed fat on the top the next time you want some leftover chili.

Moving on… I decided to use ground 93/7 ground beef, which actually tastes great for chili despite the fact that it has such little fat.  I’ll just get to it and list the ingredients as well as substitutions you can make depending on your preferences.

Whole pot of chili = about 72 oz. = about 1880 calories
Makes six servings of 12 oz. each = 313 calories /serving
+ 1/8 Cup Cheese = 40 Cal.
+ 1 Tablespoon Sour Cream = 30 Cal.
+ Scallions and Cilantro = 5 Cal.
+ White Rice = 150 Cal.
= 538 Calories for a Meal

Lean Beef Chili with Corn and Beans

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Chili made with lean ground beef and vegetables.


  • 1 pound of 90/10 Lean Ground Beef (800 calories) Note: You can substitue ground buffalo, ground turkey, or if you want to get really fancy use half stew meat and half ground beef.
  • 1/2 – Large Vidalia Onion chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (about 30 calories) Note: You can use any other onion (white or yellow, but not red! I’m kidding, of course you can use red.)
  • Two, 14oz Cans of Diced Tomatoes (175 calories)
  • One, 15.5 oz. Can of Rinsed Red Kidney Beans (315 calories)
  • One, 15.5 oz. Can of Rinsed Cannellini Beans (280 calories)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups  – Frozen Sweet Corn (200 calories) Note: You can substitute fresh corn off the cob  canned corn, or even grilled/roasted corn.
  • Optional: 1  finely diced and de-seeded Thai Chili or Jalepeño (optional, but adds nice heat and negligible calories)
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon – Vegetable Oil (about 120 Cal.) if you don’t have non-stick pans.
  • 1/2 Cup – Water
  • Spices 
    • 2 teaspoons of onion powder (16 calories)
    • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder (20 calories)
    • 2 teaspoons of chili powder (16 calories)
    • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder (16 calories)
    • 2 teaspoons of paprika (12 calories)
    • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
    • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper for spicy heat 
      Note for Lazy People: You can substitute all of the spices with one McCormick Chili Spice Packet (about 120 Cal. / packet).  They get the job done in a pinch, but have a more calories.
  • Optional Toppings / Additions:
    • Fresh Cilantro – Finely Chopped (about 5 calories per cup or oz)
    • Scallions – Finely Chopped (about 30 calories per cup or about 5 calories per sprig)
    • Shredded Monterey Jack/Cheddar Cheese (about 80 – 100 calories per 1/4 cup)
    • Sour Cream (about 30 calories per tablespoon)
    • White Rice (about 150 calories per 1/4 cup uncooked)
    • Hard Corn Tacos (about 60 calories shell)


  • Large Frying Pan / Skillet
  • Large Pot with Lid 
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Teaspoon measurement
  • Measuring Cup
  • Fine Grate Colander
  • Cutting Board
  • Sharp Knife


  1. Open the cans of beans, pour them into a mesh or fine grate colander, and rinse them under cold water.
  2. Add the corn and set them aside until you’re ready to use them.
  3. Roughly chop half an onion and set aside.
  4. Dice a de-seeded thai chili or jalapeno and set aside.
  5. Get out a large frying pan, put it on the stove, and set the temp to med-high heat and add the tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan if it isn’t a non-stick pan. Note: You can also just cook the entire dish in a large pot if you don’t have a pan available.
  6. Once the pan and oil are hot (if you’re using oil), add all of the ground beef to the pan and start breaking it apart with a wooden spoon.
  7. Let the meat cook a bit and stir occasionally so that all of the meat browns and gets some color.  If there is too much liquid and the meat seems to be boiling rather than browning (your pan may be too small), you want to carefully drain some of the liquid from the pan and then put it back on the stove to finish browning the meat.
  8. Once the meat is ready, add the diced onion to the pan and stir the meat and onions together so that they finish cooking together. The onions should just start to get soft, but shouldn’t become translucent.
  9. Add the diced Thai chili or Jalepeño to the meat and onions. Be careful here because if you inhale too closely to the pan, you’ll get a surprise. Oh, and don’t touch your face/eyes if you’ve handled the chills with your bare hands.  Trust me, I learned that the hard way.  Try latex gloves when cutting chills if you want.
  10. Next, add all of the spices (salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin powder, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper) to the meat and stir very well.
  11. Add a 1/2 cup of water to the meat and mix thoroughly.
  12. When everything has been mixed well, let the meat simmer on low heat for about 4 minutes.
  13. Transfer the mixture to your big pot and set the stove to medium low heat.
  14. Add the beans and corn to the pot and stir them into the meat.
  15. Then add the canned diced tomatoes to the pot and mix.
  16. Bring the ingredients to a low boil/simmer and reduce the heat to low.
  17. Simmer the ingredients together for about 1 hour (you can stir the ingredients every 20 min or so if you feel like doing something, otherwise, it’s not a big deal). Note: If you’re feeling up to it, throw everything in a slow cooker and let it cook for six hours while you’re at work. Lean Beef Chili Recipe by Man Fuel https://manfuel.wordpress.com
  18. After an hour all the ingredients have merged and the chili is ready to eat! Serve it topped with shredded cheese, scallions, fresh chopped cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream! You can use it as a dip for tortilla chips or just eat the chili over rice.


4 thoughts on “Lean Beef Chili with Corn and Beans

Add yours

  1. This was incredibly delicious, filling but not heavy like typical chilis. Loved it! Definitely top with cilantro and scallion and cheese!

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