Healthy Beef, Sausage and Bean Chili

A healthy, hearty, chunky, all-American chili filled with ground beef, turkey sausage, beans and vegetables.

Healthy Beef, Sausage and Bean Chili
Best Healthy Chili - hearty, all-American

A few years ago, I stumbled on a Cooking Light recipe for All-American Chili. I loved the hearty chunks and thick sauce and started making it.  Through the years, I’ve adapted it to add more vegetables and make it even more of a family favorite.  Now I am happy to present it to you.  I’ve had this recipe on the calendar for a while but felt it was somewhat serendipitous as I had jury duty last week.  What could be more “All-American” then completing my civic duty with jury duty?  Do the words “jury duty” send shivers down your spine?  I have to admit I was less than excited when I received the summons.  I was moaning and groaning about who was going to do my work (no one), who was going to take care of my daughter after school and generally how I did not have the time.  Does that sound familiar?  I sat at jury duty being angry that they were blocking my website; so I could not even get work done while I sat and sat and sat waiting for the court to go through all of its legal hoops.

When it came time to be questioned by the attorneys, I had an ethical quandary.  I could give the answers I knew that would disqualify me (but were not the truth), or I could simply honestly answer the questions and risk being picked to be on the jury.  While I could tell a number of people were giving answers simply to be dismissed, I could not do it.  While jury duty is an annoyance, I do believe it is part of my responsibility of being an American citizen. Of course, I was picked to be part of the jury.  I had a little bit of a bad attitude about the whole thing and begrudgingly came the next day.
Lots of vegetables, ground beef and beans - this is the best chili

What a waste of energy that was! Once I was with my fellow jurors, the atmosphere changed to one of true pride for our country. The way hearing the National Anthem makes me feel. My fellow jurors had great senses of humor and at the same time took the job so seriously. Their attitude was contagious, and soon I was happy to be there. The case itself was a mess. Every witness had a different story, and I was pretty sure none were completely telling the truth. Actually there was only one witness, one of the police officers, that testified competently and what appeared to be fully accurately. The first officer on the scene, while seemingly perfectly honest, did not seem to have a good grasp on what actually happened.  It was really frustrating and made me shake my head so many times.

Trying to deliberate was a challenge for us.  We all seemed to share the same view of the witnesses and all knew that we probably did not have the truth of what happened that night.  One of the victims and the defendant were friends since kindergarten.  It was obvious the victim was trying to get his “friend” out of trouble.  The other victim while more trustworthy, had changed her story from the initial police report.  The question to me actually was did she change her story or did the police officer not ask the right questions?  After some spirited but respectful debate we came to a unanimous decision, guilty to two misdemeanors rather than felonies.  We left the jury room feeling like justice had been served.  After the trial, the attorneys come to talk to the jury and ask what made you come to the decision you did.  It was there we found out that the defendant had five prior felony charges!  Ugh!  Are you kidding me?  Of course, his prior acts were not allowed to be part of the trial, and while I understand why, since this case simply came down to credibility of witnesses, that information put a much different light on the case.  So now I find that my heart is slightly heavy with our verdict.  While I understand we made the correct decision based on the evidence, or lack thereof, and according to the law, my heart of hearts tells me this defendant is going back in prison in the future.  Even with that, I am really happy that I did serve and next time will go with the proper attitude.

Whether you ever have jury duty or not, you can still enjoy a taste of “America” with this chili made with “Food Done Light” flavor.


Best Healthy Chili - hearty, all-American

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Yields 8

Serves About 1 1/4 cups

Healthy Beef, Sausage and Bean Chili

20 minPrep Time

1 hr, 45 Cook Time

2 hr, 5 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 8 oz. mild or spicy Italian turkey sausage (not in casing)
  • 1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped bell peppers (any color)
  • 8 oz. chopped mushrooms
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped*
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups fruity red wine
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans no-salt added whole tomatoes
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans no-salt added kidney beans, drained
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Heat a large Dutch over medium high heat.
  2. Add the sausage and ground beef. Cook for a few minutes, stirring to crumble. The meat does not need to brown.
  3. Add the onions, pepper and mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, jalapeno and spices (through salt). Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the wine scraping off any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the beans and bay leaves.
  7. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove the cover and cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
  10. Serve with any additional toppings.


I calculated 9 Weight Watcher smart points.
Adapted from Cooking Light

Happy Healthy Eating,


But wait, there’s more.  Check out these deliciously, healthy chili recipes:

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Slow Cooker Mole Chicken, Pumpkin & Hominy Chili

A great tasting chili - Pork & Tofu Chinese Chili - Low Calorie, Low Fat Dinner - Repin it for later

Chinese Chili 

To eat with your chili:

Cast Iron Pumpkin Cornbread

Cast Iron Pumpkin Cornbread

Best Healthy Chili - hearty, all-American


  1. I have to use red wine in my chili next time what a great idea!!
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Hi Colleen, I love the background flavor the red wine brings to the chili. More depth of flavor is always welcome.
  2. What a delicious sounding and simple chili dish, gotta put this into my rotation :)
  3. This chili looks absolutely fantastic, perfect for a chilly day!
  4. Scrumptious looking dish! I love the way you photo shoot your foods
  5. I think that's the most beautiful chili I ever did see. And love that you adapted it over time from Cooking Light!
  6. Love a good chili. Made one this weekend and enjoyed it last night. Yours looks delicious. Might have to try this recipe.
  7. This chili looks so delicious! It would cheer me up no matter how bad the day... though I must say, I get excited for jury duty. Weird, I know. I've been called twice but never even made it to talk with the attorneys. Once I was told the day before I didn't even have to show up and the other time I just sat all day and got dismissed in the afternoon. So I'm a little jealous that you got to serve! And definitely jealous of this chili - will have to add this to the menu!
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Hi Kathryn, I will definitely go into jury duty with a positive attitude next time. As for the chili, I am always happy to eat a bowl.
  8. I love chili but I have never tried it with sausage before. Such a great idea!
  9. I love a hearty chili and yours looks fabulous - loving the addition of the mushroom too, perfect!!
  10. I love finding new chili recipes, especially ones like this one that are healthy enough that I can serve them guilt-free. I've made chili with beer, but fruity red wine is a new one on me. I'm intrigued.
  11. This would be so good tonight! Thanks for sharing!
  12. I love cooking light recipes and this chili looks amazing! Bookmarking for later!
  13. This chili looks so good. I'm such a big fan of hearty chili recipes. This one fits the bill. I am terrified to get picked for jury duty. With my illness there's no way I could sit through the trial. I would happily do it if I could. But pretty sure they don't like breaking every 20 or 30 minutes. Ha.
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      It was very hard to wait for bathroom breaks Kim. I barely drank any water those days. That was the only negative about it.
  14. What a great idea to use turkey sausage! I bet it packed with flavor.
  15. I can't say that I have ever had the "pleasure" of being chosen for jury duty, but I would think it would at least be interesting? But yeah, not really convenient for anyone, right? :P This chili does look amazing though! :) And I love that it is lightened up and packed with veggies.
  16. Wow, Christie, I came because I saw this beautiful chili on Pinterest but I was completely riveted by your jury duty story. That's quite an experience! I've never been called and I hope I'm not, lol. You opened my eyes to a lot though and I would likely change my mind once we were in the process of it all. This chili is one of the best looking I've ever seen and chili is my fav dish since I was a kid. I'll be making this for sure! Thanks for a great recipe :)
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Thanks so much Robyn. I am thrilled Pinterest actually showed a newer recipe too! Next time I get a jury summons, I will go with a much more positive frame of mind. Hope you enjoy the chili.


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