Zucchini Chili – Delicious and Nutritious

Zucchini Chili

With summer comes an abundance of zucchini in my garden.  While the harvest is amazing, I needed to come up with different ideas on how to use it so I decided to make a Zucchini Chili.  I must say, it was a HUGE success.  My husband and all of my kids LOVED it.  I combined freshly harvested zucchini, onion, diced tomatoes and green chilies, orange bell peppers, onion, spices, and a hot “holy mole” chili pepper. The combination of flavors was delightful and refreshing.  It will definitely be added to one of my “go-to” recipes in the future!

Pile of assorted zucchini and summer squash for Zucchini Hamburger Bean Chili

Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini.  I love zucchini and summer squash.  I love it grilled, in stir-fry, in zucchini bread, and in spaghetti sauce.  That said, it is prolific this year and it is ONLY MAY!!!  Sheesh.  During the spring and summer harvest, I am always looking for ways to be creative and shake things up.  I’ve frozen it, canned it with tomatoes, and tried every way imaginable to use it up.  So, I thought, why not in chili?  I played around with different ingredients and came up with this Zucchini Chili recipe.  This far exceeded my expectations in every way.  There were no leftovers.  Yummy!!!!

Zucchini Chili ingredients - zucchini and tomatoes

One flavor combination that is simply delightful is zucchini paired with tomatoes.  It’s one of the only ways to pressure can zucchini thanks to the acid in the tomatoes and has a really nice flavor.  I’ve used zucchini and tomatoes in spaghetti sauce with a lot of success in the past.  For this Zucchini Chili recipe, I built upon this concept of combining zucchini with tomatoes but gave it some additional heat and spice.

Zucchini Chili

Another ingredient I used was a “holy mole” pepper.  I grew these for the first time in my garden this year and they are prolific and SO good!!!  It gives a totally different flavor.  I also added a milder orange pepper for color and complexity in taste.

Holy Mole pepper for zucchini chili

Zucchini chili is quick and easy as well as satisfying and healthy!

zucchini chili

The nice thing about this recipe is that is can be QUICK if you use canned tomatoes, which I did in this case.  You can also use fresh tomatoes which have an out of this world flavor, but I often have to cook on the go and using canned tomatoes and green chilies was fast and easy.

zucchini chili

To thicken my Zucchini Chili, I added tomato powder.  This is a great food storage item to have on hand.  If you don’t have any, you can also use a can of tomato paste instead.   You may need to adjust the seasonings accordingly, to taste, if you do so.

zucchini chili

Zucchini chili is packed with protein and vegetables and is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.  I hope you have a full and bountiful summer and that you find ways to use of your zucchini in fun and creative ways.  Be sure to serve it with a side salad or bowl of Golden Cornbread muffins!  Bon appetit!

Zucchini Chili

5.0 from 2 reviews
Zucchini Chili
Serves: 8 servings
  • ½ yellow or white onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini, washed and diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 4 - 16 oz. cans of light kidney beans, drained (you can also use chili beans or pinto beans)
  • 2 - 14 oz. cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 c water
  • 1 T chicken bouillon
  • 3 T tomato powder (or 1 can tomato paste)
  • 1-2 T chili powder
  • 1 "holy mole" pepper, diced (you can also use a green Anaheim pepper for a milder flavor or a hotter jalapeno pepper for more heat)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Brown hamburger and onion in a skillet. Drain off grease. Place in a stock pot.
  2. Add rest of ingredients to the stock pot.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Lower heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until zucchini and pepper are cooked and flavors have blended together.
  5. Serve warm with Golden Cornbread or top with toppings of choice.
Possible toppings include tortilla chips, shredded cheese, Greek yogurt, sour cream, and/or chopped green onions or chives.

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