sweet n smoky chili

Jessica Penner, RDEntree, Recipes4 Comments

Smoky Chili

I like chili but often times I find it a little flat. Do you know what I mean? I keep wanting the flavour profile to be a bit richer, a bit deeper. I’ve tried adding more chili powder but that didn’t help. I tend to make my recipes rather low on the salt so I’ve tried adding more salt to see if that helped. But it wasn’t salt that was lacking. 

Turns out it was smokiness. I love a rich, smoky, mesquite, slightly sweet flavour. 

That’s how I like my coffee too. Bold, rich, smoky, earthy. In fact, I bet a cup of coffee would pair very well with this chili!

Know what else goes well with this chili? Cornbread. This was my first time making cornbread and I actually followed a recipe without changing it (gasp!). Oh wait, I lied. I just checked over this recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring and remembered that I used regular old sugar in place of the honey. I’m sure it’s also fantastic with the honey. I’m just a cheapskate and didn’t think I’d notice much of a difference so I went with the more economically friendly choice of table sugar. 

Smoky Chili


Why It’s A Smart Choice

Fibre! One bowl of this chili will give you 10g of fibre. That’s more than a lot of people get in a whole day! Fibre is incredibly important. It helps balance blood sugar, maintain a healthy cholesterol profile, and most importantly on a day to day basis: it keeps a person regular! Is there anything more frustrating than irregular bowel movements? 

I’m sorry if I just made you uncomfortable talking about bowel movements.  But I’m a Dietitian! I’m not shy about this topic at all. I’m here to help you with all your toileting woes.  

Smoky Chili (7 of 14)
Note: liquid smoke can often be found near the steak sauce section of the grocery store. If not, Amazonhas your back! 


If you give this recipe a go, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or snap a photo and tag it with #smartnutritionrecipes on Instagram!  I’d love to see your creations! Knowing someone has enjoyed one of my recipes always makes my day brighter.  



Sweet n Smoky Chili

  • Author: Jessica Penner, RD


A hearty, fibre-rich chili full of sweet and smoky flavours.


  • ¾- 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers, chopped
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 ½ cups kidney beans, cooked (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 ½ cups black beans, cooked (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (156 ml or 5 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 can (798 ml or 28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • ⅔ cup dried lentils
  • 2 cups water


  1. In a large pot, crumble fry the ground beef and onion over medium heat until beef is no longer pink.
  2. Add in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and garlic. Cook for one minute.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Cover and heat until boiling.
  5. Turn down to low heat. Chili is ready when the lentils are soft.


  • Serving Size: 8
 335 calories | 7.5g fat | 48.5g carbs | 10g fibre | 13g sugar | 22g protein

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links

Sweet and Smoky One Pot Chili


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4 Comments on “sweet n smoky chili”

  1. I made this chili last night and it was very good! Of course the toddler didn’t touch it as it did not contain chicken fingers, but my husband and I liked it. I’m also a dietitian and I agree that the sugar is no big deal. Food needs to taste good to encourage people to cook and eat at home.

    Monika – you are correct, your comment was rude. I know it’s easy to say whatever you please online under a cloak of anonymity but I think a good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online.

  2. a nutritionist…and you’re adding sugar to chili?

    I know this is rude…but I weep for your patients…

    1. I’m a Dietitian. I put sugar in my chilli. And I’m not ashamed of it.

      Sugar consumption needs to be examined in the context of a person’s overall diet. Yes, many people consume far too much sugar but the problem is usually an excess of soda, candy, and highly processed foods. 1 tsp of sugar in the context of a bowl of chilli filled with beans, meat, and veggies is quite minute in the grand scheme.

      There isn’t any evidence that a small amount of sugar added to many other healthful ingredients is harmful to one’s health.

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