Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa
The salsa with cilantro, red onion, avocado, and lime really puts this black bean and beef chili 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.
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.
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 (or put in a bowl if you want to just use one pan.)
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 saute 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
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe adapted slightly from Fine Cooking Annual 2008.)
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)
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)
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)
Drain 2 cans black beans into colander and rinse well, until no more foam appears. 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.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. 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.
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.)
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.) 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.)
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. Serve Chili hot, with a generous scoop of avocado salsa on top of each serving.
To adapt this recipe for Crockpot:
Reduce the beef stock to 1 or 1 1/2 cups (depending on how thick you want the chili. 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.) 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.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Made with low-fat ground beef, this Chili 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.
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.
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.
More Variations of Chili 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