I love using my crockpot to make dinner. It seriously makes my life so much easier! I think one of the best things that you can make in your crockpot is chili. The longer chili simmers the better it gets. I love this crockpot veggie loaded beef chili because it is a fun and healthy twist on a comforting classic. I love making this recipe in both the winter and summer months. Warm chili on a cold day is so comforting but in the summer months it’s also a great way to use up zucchini. Plus, if you make this recipe in the summer you don’t have to cook over a hot stove and heat up your house.
I also love making this chili after the holidays. It is both an easy and healthy recipe. After too many Christmas cookies, this is a great recipe to hit the reset button with.
My kids loved this chili once I covered it in sour cream and shredded cheddar. It’s a great way to get some extra veggies into little bellies if you have picky eaters. I love serving this chili with freshly grated shredded cheddar (freshly grated is always so much better than the stuff in the bag), sour cream and oyster crackers. Diced onion, avocado, corn bread, or corn chips would also nicely on this chili as well.
Can you taste the veggies in this chili?
When I first made this recipe, my husband was really hesitant to try it because he thought it would taste like zucchini. Because the carrots and zucchini are diced very finely and the chili simmers for so long, the veggie taste is very mild and hardly noticeable.
Is this chili spicy?
This is a very mild chili. If you prefer a spicier chili, add one seeded and diced jalapeño to the recipe.
What ingredients do I need to make this recipe?
In case you need to check your pantry or make a trip to the grocery store you will need the following ingredients to make this crockpot veggie loaded beef chili:
- Ground beef (lean)
- Baby carrots
- White onion
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Onion powder
For the ground beef, be sure to select a lean ground beef. I recommend getting the leanest that you can afford. This recipe also goes very well with ground bison.
For this recipe, be sure that you chop up your carrot, onion, and zucchini very well. You will want them to be diced into small pieces. Large pieces and bits will not cook down well in the chili. One bag of baby carrots (about one pound) may seem like a lot but once they are chopped and then cooked down it won’t seem so.
You will also want to rinse and drain your beans, especially your black beans.
Do I have to use beef for this recipe?
I recommend that you use beef or bison for this recipe. I’ve found that ground turkey just doesn’t have the right flavor with this particular recipe.
Can you put raw meat into the crockpot for chili?
I don’t recommend putting raw hamburger into the crockpot. If you don’t brown the meat first, it becomes rather weird and clumpy and the fat needs to be drained before you add it. If you are pressed on time, you can brown the beef the night before to make this an easy toss and go recipe.
How long should this recipe cook in the crockpot for?
This recipe should be set on low for 6 to 8 hours. If you need to leave this chili on longer than 8 hours, you certainly can but make sure you have it on the low setting. I think this recipe is best if you have the time to cook it on low but if you are in a pinch, it can be cooked on high for 3 to 4 hours.
What kind of crockpot do I need for this recipe?
This is a large recipe so you will need at least a 6 quart size crockpot.
Can I freeze this recipe?
If you want to freeze any leftovers or extra portions for later meals you absolutely can. Let your chili cool and then pour it into freezer safe storage dishes. When you are ready to eat the chili let it defrost overnight and reheat it on your stove-top. This chili can be frozen up to three months.
Crockpot Veggie Loaded Beef Chili
- 6 quart or larger crockpot (slow cooker)
- 1 lb ground beef (lean)
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 bag baby carrots about 1 lb
- 1 white onion
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can diced tomatoes about 10 ounces
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
For serving (optional)
- oyster crackers
- shredded cheddar
- sour cream
- corn chips
- corn bread
- sliced avocado
- diced onion
- Begin by browning your ground beef in a large skillet.
- Once the ground beef is browned, drain any excess fat from the skillet and set it aside.
- Chop your zucchini and carrots into very small pieces.
- Dice your onion.
- Add the ground beef, carrots, onion, and zucchini into your crockpot.
- Rinse your beans well and then add them to the crockpot.
- Add the diced tomato with their juices in with the mixture.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients into your crockpot and then stir well.
- Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. This recipe can be cooked longer, if needed.