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Trying to eat healthier? You’re going to want to add this Zero Points Weight Watchers Freestyle Chili recipe to your meal plan rotation. It’s so full of flavor and so easy to make!
Zero Points Weight Watchers Freestyle Chili Recipe
Whenever I think about trying to eat healthier, the first thing I do is begin obsessing by what I have to give up. So, I met with a dietitian.
She taught me some basic tips for taking family favorite recipes and making them with more nutritious ingredients. That’s what inspired me to turn my mom’s classic chili recipe into this Zero Points Weight Watchers Freestyle Chili Recipe.
Be sure to scroll down for a printable recipe and more tips including instructions for making this in your slow cooker or Instant Pot!
Is it still just as good as mom’s? You bet it is. In fact, I didn’t have to change much at all. It’s mostly the meat that makes a difference in the points and calories.
Now, I do have to tell you that sometimes we had my mom’s chili as is in a bowl but other times, she served it to us “Cincinnati style”. She called it “chili-getti”.
Sometimes she served it over spaghetti, much the way you would marinara sauce. Other times she broke the spaghetti up and cooked it in the chili, kind of like chicken noodle soup.
Obviously, if you choose to do that, it will no longer be zero points. But a cup of cooked spaghetti noodles is only 5 points and you might enjoy the variation from time to time.
STOCK POTS PERFECT FOR MAKING THIS CHILI RECIPE
Le Creuset Stockpot, 6 qt, CaribbeanCalphalon Simply Easy System Nonstick Stock Pot and Cover, 6-QuartRachael Ray Brights Nonstick Stock Pot/Stockpot with Lid – 6 Quart, GrayCuisinart 744-24 Chef’s Classic Stainless Stockpot with Cover, 6-Quart,Silver
This Zero Points Weight Watchers Freestyle Chili recipe is SUPER quick, easy, and inexpensive to make. Simmer it on the stove (I like at least an hour to really let the flavors meld.
It’s still good with less time and it only gets better with more). Make it in the slow cooker. Or make it in the Instant Pot – there is even a setting for it there!
Plus I always make a big batch so we can have leftovers. My family doesn’t care much for leftovers EXCEPT when it comes to this chili.
It’s freezer friendly too so I always squirrel away at least a few portions to defrost and heat up for a simple lunch option.
We usually get about 8-10 servings out of this recipe (each being about a cup and a half). It depends on how many extras and water get added to it.
I often double the recipe (don’t try this in your Instant Pot or slow cooker – they generally can’t handle that amount) so that we have plenty to put away for leftovers.
I make mine with ground chicken because I don’t care for ground turkey. You do you. If you aren’t concerned about it being zero points, it’s also delicious made with extra lean ground beef. As a splurge, try it with 1 lb. extra lean ground beef and 1/2 lb. ground pork.
If we don’t have any onion on hand, we make it without. It’s still really good. Add a little onion powder if you’d like.
A couple of cloves of garlic is really good in this too. Again, add it if you have it but don’t sweat it if you don’t. It’s still good without.
Diced or crushed tomatoes:
If you want it really tomatoey (new word!), you can add some canned diced or crushed tomatoes. I would leave out the water in this case as there is generally a lot of liquid in canned tomatoes.
You can always add some water as needed later on while the chili simmers. If you want to add an extra punch to the chili, use the canned tomatoes with green chilies in it.
Full disclosure – I haven’t personally tried it with the tomatoes as this would set off my food sensitivity. I have made it this way for friends though and got rave reviews.
More types of beans.
Add what you like! My family starts getting cranky if I change things up too much so we pretty much stick to this recipe but it is quite delightful with other beans as well.
If you find that you’ve added so many that the bean to meat ratio is a bit overwhelming, just experiment with quantities until you reach one that makes you happy. We like ours to be about 60% beans and 40% meat.
Chopped bell peppers of any color or even some jalapenos all work well in this recipe. If using these, I would add them to the onions and sauté them together.
Some people (who have a stronger taste for heat than I do!) will even garnish their bowls of chili with chopped raw jalapeno peppers. I’m shuddering at the thought of this!
Other spices that you might like in this:
Oregano, basil, thyme. I would start with 1 tsp. and then increase from there to your taste. Remember after each addition to let the chili simmer for a half an hour or so before tasting and adding more.
I don’t add these because quite frankly, it starts tasting too much like spicy spaghetti sauce for me but I have friends who really like it with these.
I don’t add any lime juice while cooking my chili because my family doesn’t care for it. But I learned to eat it this way at a Mexican restaurant.
So now, I will squeeze a wedge of fresh lime over my bowl of chili when I want to add a punch to the flavour.
Ground chicken and turkey were never my favourite for this recipe until I tried the lime trick. It just brings it all together.
Instructions for Slow Cooker or Instant Pot:
My slow cooker is not great for browning meat so I usually cook the onion and meat as directed above in the stove top instructions.
Sometimes I do this the day before while cooking dinner for that night. It’s easy enough to take care of it and pop it in the fridge until morning.
Another great make-ahead option is to cook up a bunch of ground meat and freeze it. Then you can simply pull it out to use in this chili recipe, as well as sloppy joes, tacos, and more!
Dump that into the slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or more).
(You can use other pressure cookers too! Just be sure to check your owner’s manual for any specific directions). The Instant Pot makes it so easy on you because it has a chili setting!
I cook the onion and ground meat using the sautéing/browning setting. Once browned, I add the rest of the ingredients.
Use the beans/chili setting and cook in your Instant Pot according to manufacturer’s instructions. I find that it takes about 30 minutes to cook in my Instant Pot but times may vary for other slow cookers by 5-10 minutes.
Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker With Flexible Easy Programming, Dishwasher-Safe Crock & Lid, Silver (33473)Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer (Renewed)Ninja OP302 Foodi 9-in-1 Pressure, Broil, Dehydrate, Slow Cooker, Air Fryer, and More, with 6.5 Quart Capacity and 45 Recipe Book, and a High Gloss Finish
Serving up leftovers:
With leftovers, we sometimes like to add a tablespoon or two of fat free sour cream and a tablespoon or two of shredded cheese to each bowl.
This is because after being in the fridge, once again those spices intensify in flavor and can be quite overwhelming. The cheese and sour cream cool things down a bit.
If you do this just be aware that each tablespoon of either the sour cream or the cheese is 1 point. But another solution for the added heat is simply to add some water or some more tomato sauce to the chili as you reheat it.
What to serve with this chili?
This is a very hearty, filling dish so you don’t need much to go with it. My friend Laura’s Jalapeno Cornbread is a great option. The flavors go beautifully with the chili!
Zero Points Weight Watchers Freestyle Chili Recipe
This Zero Points Weight Watchers Freestyle Chili recipe is SUPER quick, easy, and inexpensive to make. Simmer it on the stove (I like at least an hour to really let the flavors meld. It’s still good with less time and it only gets better with more). Make it in the slow cooker. Or make it in the Instant Pot – there is even a setting for it there!
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 lb 99% fat free ground chicken or turkey Use an extra half pound if you like your chili meatier
- 30 oz red kidney beans Rinse well to get rid of any extra salt if you can’t find low sodium
- 15 oz black beans Rinse well to get rid of any extra salt if you can’t find low sodium
- 15 oz corn
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 8 oz water
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
Using a non-stick pan or some cooking spray, saute the onion until translucent.
Add the ground meat and cook until browned.
Add the remaining ingredients.
Simmer for at least half an hour but you can just leave it on the stove on low all afternoon.
If cooking for longer than half an hour, check it every so often and add more water if it’s getting too thick.
Looking for some more Weight Watchers friendly recipes? This website is chock full of some great ones!