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Kalyn's Kitchen

Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa

The avocado salsa really puts this Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa over the top! This is a chili recipe I’ve made over and over, and it’s gluten-free, low-glycemic, and South Beach Diet Phase One. Use Chili Recipes to find more recipes like this one!

Click here to PIN this tasty chili with avocado salsa!

Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa found on KalynsKitchen.com

Before we talk about this Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa, let’s just talk about chili in general. For anyone not familiar with the cuisine of the Southwestern United States, the stew-like dish called Chili may be a bit puzzling. Yes, it does usually contain chiles (small red or green hot peppers) as well as chile powder (powdered dried chiles). If the Chili has meat it could be beef, pork, chicken, or turkey, but Chili can be a vegetarian dish. There are Chili recipes with or without beans, and even but if you use beans, many types will work, including red beans, black beans, white beans, pinto beans, and more. Besides chiles, meat and possibly beans, most Chili recipes include tomatoes and onions.

Chili is a great party food, as well as something that’s nice to have in the freezer for quick dinners. I’ve made a lot of Chili and have a great round-up of Healthy Chili Recipes, but this Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa really knocked my socks off. It wasn’t just the black beans, cilantro, and lime juice, although those are my favorite flavors for this type of dish. What really put this Chili into over-the-top status was the creamy avocado-cilantro-onion salsa, something I can imagine myself adding to all my Chili creations from now on. I found the recipe in Fine Cooking Annual 2008, which I discovered when Elke from Elkit in Wonderland chose it as a Menu for Hope prize in December. This book is another great collection of recipes from the people at Fine Cooking Magazine.

Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa found on KalynsKitchen.com

Start by rinsing the two cans of black beans and letting them drain.  (These photos are from a double batch of chili I made for my family Superbowl party, so divide by two in your mind.) Puree the third can of black beans with the tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Brown the ground beef, then remove and add to a heavy soup pot.

This recipe uses a generous amount of red onion, but some is for the salsa. Heat the oil and saute half the onion until it’s starting to soften; then add the chile powders and cumin and cook a minute or two until the spices are fragrant. By now I realized that the double batch of chili was not going to fit in the pan I was using so I transferred the meat and onion to this bigger pot, added the beef stock and drained beans, and let the chili start to simmer.  (Remember, this is a double batch!)

Dice the avocados and toss it with 1/4 cup lime juice. Then stir in the rest of the chopped onion. Add half the chopped cilantro. You can keep the salsa in the fridge if you don’t think your chili is done yet.

This chili will cook in about 30 minutes, but I like to simmer it on very, very low heat for a couple of hours. It will thicken a bit and cook down slightly.  Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro when the chili is as thick as you’d like it and serve hot, with a generous scoop of salsa on top.

Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Chili Recipes You Might Like:

10 Amazing Low-Carb Chili Recipes ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Chili Recipes Photo Index Page ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
CrockPot Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Collection of Chili Recipes (from Simply Recipes and other blogs)
Paleo Turkey Sweet Potato Chili ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Three Bean Vegetarian Chili from Pinch My Salt
Amy’s Amazing White Chicken Chili ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa

The avocado salsa really puts this Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa over the top!


  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 T olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
  • 1 lb. very lean ground beef (less than 10% fat)
  • 1 cup very finely diced red onion
  • 1 T or more regular chile powder (preferably New Mexico chile powder )
  • 1 T or more ground Ancho chile pepper (Ancho chile powder adds great flavor, but can use more regular chile powder)
  • about 1/4 tsp. ground Chipotle chile pepper (Chipotles are smoked jalapenos, and the ground chipotle is very hot so use sparingly)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin (or more)
  • 2 cups homemade beef stock or 1 can beef broth
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (I used my fresh-frozen lime juice)

Thickening Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • pinch ground Chipotle chile pepper (or one diced chile from a can of Chipotle Chiles in Adobo)

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 1 cup finely diced red onion (or less)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (I used my fresh-frozen lime juice)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 avocados, finely diced
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I didn’t use any salt)


  1. Drain 2 cans black beans into colander and rinse well, until no more foam appears.
  2. Let beans drain while you use a food processor to puree the third can of undrained beans, diced tomatoes and liquid, and the pinch of Chipotle chile (or diced Chipotle chile pepper). Process the beans and tomatoes about 2 minutes, until they are fairly smooth.
  3. In bottom of heavy soup pot, heat 1-2 tsp. olive oil and brown beef, using the back of the turner to break it into small pieces.
  4. Remove beef to bowl, then add a bit more olive oil and 1 cup red onion.  Lower heat a little and cook onions until they are softened but not starting to brown. Add all the chile powders and cumin and saute about 30 seconds.
  5. Add beef stock, browned ground beef, pureed bean mixture, drained beans from colander and tomato paste and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or longer. (I actually simmered my Chili at very low heat for nearly two hours. Halfway through the cooking time, taste to see if you want additional chile powder. I think chile powder is something you need quite a bit of in a dish like this.)
  6. While Chili simmers, dice avocados and place in plastic bowl with 1/4 cup fresh lime juice. (I used Elise’s method to chop the avocado inside the skin, which was easy and not messy.)
  7. Rinse and finely chop the cilantro. Mix 1 cup red onion and half the chopped cilantro (about 3/4 cup) into the avocado-lime juice mixture. (This can be kept in the refrigerator while the Chili cooks, but be sure to mix the lime juice with the avocado as soon as you cut it to keep the avocado from turning brown.)
  8. Just before serving Chili, stir in the other 3/4 cup chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup lime juice and cook about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper if desired.
  9. Serve Chili hot, with a generous scoop of avocado salsa on top of each serving.

To Adapt for the Crockpot:

  1. Reduce the beef stock to 1 or 1 1/2 cups (depending on how thick you want the chili.)
  2. Use an extra tsp. of regular and ancho chile powder. (I wouldn’t increase the chipotle chile powder; you can add hot sauce at the table if you want more heat.)
  3. Cook 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low (depending on how hot your Crockpot cooks.) Turn to low when you add the lime juice and cilantro.


This recipe was adapted slightly from Fine Cooking Annual 2008.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Made with low-fat ground beef, this Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa would be a great main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Dried beans are a limited food for Phase One, but in a dish like this with ground beef, tomatoes, and beef broth you can have a larger serving size than dishes that contain only beans. To make this a lower-carb recipe, double the beef and use less beans, but check out 10 Amazing Low-Carb Chili Recipes for a chili recipe that’s truly low in carbs.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, you can sign up for a free membership with Yummly and use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information. Another option is entering the recipe into this Recipe Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.

Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa found on KalynsKitchen.com

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101 comments on “Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa”

  1. Pingback: Anthony Bourdain's New Mexico Style Beef Chili Recipe | Cooking On The Ranch

  2. Anyone know how to convert this in instant pot?

    • I haven’t tried making this in the Instant Pot, but you could check out this instant pot chili recipe for ideas about cooking time. This recipe has more liquid, but with the beans thickening it I think it still might work, or you could simmer at the end to thicken if you need to. I would love to hear how you do it if you try!

  3. I Can not tell you HOW much my family LOVED this!! Just made it today and it was a hit! I never would have thought to add lime juice to chili, nor put a salsa on top… but it is OH so Yummy!! Thank you!!

  4. I've made this countless times over the past 4 years, even now that I'm no longer on the SBD (but should be again!). Thanks for a great recipe!

  5. Thanks for posting this recipe. I can't wait to make it on the 15th.
    I remember a chili recipe in my SBD cookbook that had avocado, but I forgot all about it until now. MMmm… can't wait to wow some people with this at a pot luck.

  6. Jen, I think veg broth would be fine.

  7. I don't have beef broth on hand and am curious if you or any of your readers have tried this recipe with vegetable broth? What about a mix of beans? Thanks Kalyn for all of the awesome SB recipes!

  8. I would leave it out. I don't think there is anything that really replaces cilantro.

  9. This recipe looks great, but I need a variation on the avocado salsa that doesn't include cilantro. My husband is one of those people who find cilantro bitter and soapy-tasting, so usually I just leave it out, but I'm afraid the salsa would lose a lot of the flavor. Any ideas?

  10. Donna, I'm telling you the avocado salsa on chili really is pretty life-changing!

  11. Here you go again – making a combination that I never thought of, but now will have to make every single time ` avocados and chili. Genius!

  12. Audrey, so glad you both enjoyed it!

  13. Hi Kalyn – I made this last night and it was soooo good! The avacado salsa absolutely made the meal and my husband loved it!

  14. I would probably skip the tortillas strips, as they would make the chili less South Beach Diet friendly. But you could definitely add some if you wanted!

  15. This looks wonderful. I am wondering if some fried tortilla strips, or just crushed tortilla chips on top would add a great crunch!

  16. Thanks Dara, definitely one of my favorite chilis.

    CJ, the salsa is kind of hard to resist.

    Anna, wish I had some too!

  17. THIS is what I want for my dinner

  18. This chili recipe sounds soooo good! Love the avocado salsa garnish to finish. I'm afraid I might eat it all at one sitting. *L*

  19. I can tell by the color of this chili that it is rich in flavor. This is definitely one to try!

  20. Don't have all the ingredients for this, but I'm going to give it a try with what I've got. I just wish my avocado hadn't gone bad. That seems like an awesome idea.

  21. Wazzup, glad you liked it! Fun seeing your version.

  22. Funny to end up at this place AGAIN when googling with my cravings 🙂

    Didn't make the salsa, but I was sorta capable of making the chili with was at hand. Really liked the lemon juice at the end. Also the blended beans and chili's made the stew exceptional.


  23. Chili dude, hope you enjoy it.

  24. Great idea for the cilantro, lime, and avocado salsa garnish! I am going to make this chili tonight for the kids. Thanks for this chili recipe.

  25. Keystone, so glad to hear you are enjoying the recipes, thanks!

  26. Kalyn, I've been a reader of your blog for over a year now and love to try out your recipes even when I'm not necessarily "on the beach," though I am now! But I tried this chili yesterday and I have to say that it is absolutely amazing. Definitely my new go-to recipe for chili from now on, and I've tried a ton!

    I also made your goat cheese, spinach, and leek egg casserole yesterday (cooking spree for the week), and my boyfriend definitely thanks you as well, as it was just as amazing! Loved them both a ton and stoked to have healthy and tasty food prepped for the week.

    Thank you so much for all your amazing recipes!

  27. Thanks! It was mentioned in the blog that it makes about 6 servings and I was curious as to what makes up one serving.


  28. South Beach does not limit servings except for certain foods. Beans are a limited food for phase one, with the suggested serving size being 1/3-1/2 cup. Since this chili has other ingredients besides beans, I'd say a serving for phase one could be a little over a cup and for other phases, you could eat more.

  29. Hi Kalyn – do you what the serving size is?

    Thanks! Jenny

  30. Thanks Lynn, definitely one of my favorites too!

  31. This was FANTASTIC! I don't know how I ever ate chili without avocado salsa on top…

  32. Ritters, so glad you liked it!

  33. Made this on Monday. I really liked it! Thanks for all you do.

  34. Jennifer, thanks for letting me know you've been enjoying the blog. And I am making this very recipe tomorrow for my dad's birthday lunch! It's one of his favorites.

  35. Kalyn – I have been checking your blog and using recipes for probably about 2 years now, and i am so glad i found it since my husband and i try to eat the SB way. your blog has saved us so many times and made it possible to stay on track. 🙂 this chili recipe is amazing !!! i love the coolness of the avocado against the heat of the chili. genius 🙂 thank you for another great and delicious recipe!!

  36. Glad the vegetarian version was a hit for you!

  37. i'm so glad i found your blog. i'm new to sb but have had success since starting one week ago. your website really helped me see how doable this lifestyle is for me. i made this chili tonight, added green pepper and omitted the meat (one son is a vegetarian) and everyone LOVED it. this will be a regular on our menu. thank you!

  38. Heidi and Angie, so glad you like it. This is one of my favorites to make for parties.

  39. I just finished making this chili. It is so good! I'm so glad I found your site! 😀

  40. I'm on my second week of phase 1, and a friend (my inspiration)who just finished phase 1 recommended your website and specifically this recipe. I made it last night, and all I can say is wow wow wow! It was so delicious, my husband and I thought we were eating at a restaurant. The avocado we got was a little firm, but that worked perfectly for the salsa.
    Great website, great recipes, thanks!

  41. Christine, I think it would be great if your husband thought you bought it and then you told him you made it!

  42. An excellent recipe. I love making chili, but some of the things you've put into this I would have never thought to use. I've always used the classic beans, ground beef and a few veggies (pathetic I know).

    My husband may actually eat this, but he'd of course think I bought it pre-made… yes I am a bad cook but I'm learning!

    Thanks for another great recipe Kalyn.


  43. Jean, thanks so much for the nice feedback. This is one of my favorites too; in fact I'm making it on Nov. 14 for a big family party!

  44. It is getting to be chile weather and this is absolutely our favorite. This morning, our 14 year son requested this for dinner on his way out the door for school. Generally, I make it with a combination of lean ground beef and lean turkey. This also freezes well and makes for great after school snacks on cold winter days or quick middle of the week dinners.

    Love you blog!!!

  45. Eden glad you liked it. I don’t think I’ve had a bad recipe yet from Fine Cooking.

  46. Wow. I just made this today and it was just as yummy as I expected. I cut the spices somewhat because I don’t like things really hot but other than that, yummy recipe. I think the avocado salsa really finished it off beautifully. Thank you!

  47. What a brilliant idea to use the can label to label your chipotles in the freezer! So glad you are enjoying the blog; thanks for taking time to let me know.

  48. This recipe looked so good that I doubled the recipe, even before I had tested the “single” recipe! I used salt free tomatoes and salt free tomato paste, and low-salt organic black beans. I didn’t have any Penzey’s Ancho Chili, so I just used a little extra of their regular chili. The salsa is lovely on top of the chili! I froze about 60% of the recipe and will serve it to friends on Friday night, when they’re here to plan for a retreat. I think it’ll be very much enjoyed!

    I, too, put the remainder of the little can of chipotles in adobo sauce in a small plastic container. I cut the label off the can, and, as I close the lid on the container, I “catch” the label between the lid and the container–that way, I know what’s inside!

    Kalyn–I love your recipes! Thanks for blogging–and have fun with your renovating!

  49. Anonymous, I have some little refrigerator containers with snap-on lids and I just put some of the chipotle chiles in there and store in freezer. They seem to last forever. I think you can use them anywhere that a smoky chili flavor is good.

  50. Hi Kalyn! Thanks for all the great recipes and cooking ideas. I made this chili a couple of weeks ago and it was a hit with my husband (me too!) and he has requested it for his Super Bowl bash this weekend. I used the canned chipotles, which gave the chili an amazing depth of flavor. They seemed a little small so I used 4, and the chili was hot, but not overpowering, just delicious if you like spicy food. My question–how do you store the remainder of the canned chipotles and how long can you keep them? And, any other ideas for using them up? The flavor makes me think they would make a good foil for steak or any grilled meat. Alas, grilling season is far away here in Chicagoland. I’m going to try adding them to meatloaf and things that could use a bit of smokey heat.


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