This is our family favorite chili recipe that the kids request over and over. It has both ground beef AND kielbasa sausage in it–the kielbasa is the key ingredient in this recipe that truly makes this chili divine!
I especially love the versatility of this chili recipe, while kielbasa is amazing, you, of course, can change the type of sausage, or swap ground turkey for beef, kidney beans for black beans.
Not only is this recipe gluten-free, it’s also sugar-free and can easily be dairy-free if you skip the shredded cheese garnish.
All of the canned ingredients in this recipe are organic because most non-organic versions include unnecessary sugar. To keep down the costs of buying organic canned items, we love to buy staples like beans and tomatoes in bulk at Costco.
This is a revised recipe from my absolute favorite cookbook Simply Classic by the Junior League of Seattle. I’m a huge Ina Garten fan and own 6 of her cookbooks, however, this is my GO TO book that gets way more use than any others.
The main changes using ground turkey instead of beef and cooking it in the crockpot instead of simmering on the stove. I also cut out the added oil by using the crock pot and substituted stewed tomatoes with diced. I’ve also simplified the herbs slightly. Sometimes I’ll swap the kidney beans for corn or black beans, depending on what’s in the pantry.
First step, I always prep all of my ingredients and have everything ready to go. You’ll need onion, green pepper (or in my case used red peppers from my garden!), kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, olive oil, ground turkey (or beef) and kielbasa.
The herbs you need are bay leaves, salt, chili powder, dried oregano, black pepper and cayenne. It’s fine to skip the cayenne if you don’t have it and just add a little more pepper. Sometimes I’ll use taco seasoning if I don’t have chili powder, just make sure to reduce the salt to 1/2 tsp if you substitute taco seasoning.
Brown your ground beef or turkey and drain, if needed. I do not recommend the really low-fat ground beef or basically fat-free turkey, it jsut doesn’t turn out as well.
Brown the kielbasa and drain the grease. I’m not a fan of unhealthy processed meats, but I insist you cannot substitute a different type of sausage and get the same results! I used a healthier nitrate free pork kielbasa from Whole Foods that fortunately was on sale.
Put both meats in the crock pot and add the rest of your ingredients. Blend well.
Cook on low for 8 hours or until it seems ready to you.
Look at all of that delicious sausage??
This is an easy dinner to double, just freeze 1/2 for dinner another night! I’m a HUGE fan of doubling dinner recipes to save time another night or keep me from having to cook as much later in the week. For more time-saving dinner tips, read this post.
Garnish with cheese, sour cream or chives. A garnish is optional of course.
Yes, this chili tastes as delicious as it looks! Really! It’s going to become your new family favorite 🙂
Hearty Kielbasa Crockpot Chili
- 1 lb ground beef or turkey
- 1 lb kielbasa sausage
- 1 cup onion
- 1 cup green pepper (or red)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 16 oz can kidney beans, drained
- 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 16 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2/3 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- Saute ground beef/turkey until cooked and drain. Put in the crockpot.
- Cut the kielbasa into 1/2″ slices and also cut each slice in half. Cook until lightly browned, drain the grease and put the sausage into the crock pot.
- Add the rest of the remaining ingredients and stir together.
- Cook on low in a crockpot for 8 hours or until done.