My guys love vegetable chili so much that they could eat it every week, even on a hot summer day. When we have a pot cooking on the stove, the boys ask me to take off the lid so they can see it cooking and stick their noses a little closer to soak in the aroma. Inevitably, Hockey Guy will ask, “Is this the chili I like?” And I always say “yes” because that boy has never met a chili he didn’t like.
This hearty chili has some meat and beans, plus plenty of summer vegetables, and makes a delicious meal in a bowl. It’s a great The Kids Cook Monday meal because it is easy to put together, and if you choose a faster cooking time, you can have dinner on the table in about 45 minutes. If you have time to let it cook longer, go for it. Chili gets better the longer it cooks.
Older children with more experience in the kitchen can probably make this whole dish with a little supervision; younger children will need close supervision using sharp knives.
Make sure to visit The Kids Cook Monday for more recipes to cook with your kids, and check out the rest of our Kids Cook Monday recipes below.
The recipe calls for canned beans, which is great in a time crunch, but if you plan ahead you can use dry beans. Just follow the directions in our Dry Beans and Legumes Cooking Chart to rinse and soak overnight 1/2 cup each of kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans.
This makes a big batch, so you’ll have plenty for another meal. Chili makes great leftovers and keeps well in the freezer.
Meat and Summer Vegetable ChilI
- 1 pound 454 g lean ground beef, turkey, chicken, or pork
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 1 bell pepper (diced)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 medium zucchini (cut into chunks)
- 1 16-ounce/454 g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 16-ounce/454 g can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 16-ounce/454 g can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 28 ounce/ g can crushed tomatoes
- 1 28 ounce/ g can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Brown the meat in the heavy bottomed pot, then stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil, and cinnamon. Strain the meat and transfer it to a plate, then wipe out the pot. Warm the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onion and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and sauté until it starts to glisten, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the zucchini chunks and sauté until they glisten, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the meat, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 30 to 45 minutes, or cook on low for 1 to 2 hours. If the chili gets too thick, you can add a little water. Serve hot.
More Kids Cook Monday Recipes
For the complete list of The Kids Cook Monday recipes, visit my Cooking with Kids page.