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Zucchini Chili

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The easiest Zucchini Chili to make and yet bursting with flavor! This zucchini chili is going to knock your socks off!


Main image for recipe of chili in pot with a ladle scooping some out.


Zucchini chili is a mix of fresh and canned veggies, making it both healthy and really easy.

I love how filling beef chili with zucchini is! It keeps my little ones full straight through till morning! I also love that this zucchini chili recipe is super healthy. All those colorful veggies do great things for your health!

And for busy nights, this zucchini chili can’t be beat. After the chopping is done, it cooks so fast! This one pot meal is one of our new favorites!

Enjoy this delicious zucchini chili today with your loved ones today!


zucchini and oil in a pot


Can You Put Zucchini in Chili?

Before we get into it, let me just address this question. Yes! You can totally put zucchini into chili. It cooks down really well and can be a healthy alternative to many chili fillers.


zucchini removed and ground beef, onion and bell pepper added to pot.


Can You Taste the Zucchini in Chili?

The big question on everyone’s minds…but can you taste it? No! You can’t taste zucchini in chili!

The other flavors completely mask the flavor of the zucchini. Which means you can enjoy all the health benefits of zucchini without even realizing they’re there!


beef cooked taco seasoning, coriander, oregano and tomato paste added to cooked beef.


What Ingredients are in Zucchini Chili

  • Oil: Use vegetable oil or another good quality cooking oil.
  • Zucchini: I like to cut bite sized pieces but you could chop or shred it to hide it from picky eaters.
  • Beef: Use more lean meat to avoid too much excess fat.
  • Onion: I like to use the food processor to pulse onions. Keeps my eyes from watering so much.
  • Bell Pepper: Chop these up to bite sized or smaller as well.
  • Taco Seasoning: Use a packet from the store or Homemade Taco Seasoning.
  • Coriander: In Ancient Egypt this spice was known as the secret of happiness.
  • Oregano: Use dried or adjust for fresh accordingly.
  • Tomato Paste: Gives your zucchini chili a thick tomato base.
  • Beef Broth: You could also substitute with vegetable broth.
  • Salsa: This is gonna add a lot of flavor so pick your favorite!
  • Diced Tomatoes: No need to drain the diced tomatoes. Just pour them straight into the chili.
  • Green Chilis: These don’t need to be drained either and will add a lot of flavor.
  • Green Onions: Optional for a nice garnish.
  • Sour Cream: This is a nice flavor to mix in and my kids love that it cools their chili down too. Optional.
  • Cheese: Optional. Who can resist the melty cheese?
  • Fritos: These are optional too. They are perfect for giving your zucchini chili a crunchy topping.

Pro Tip: I like to chop all the vegetables the night before. Then I can toss everything in when I’m ready.


beef broth, salsa and green chilies added to chili.


How Do You Make Zucchini Chili?

  • Zucchini: The zucchini will be cooked twice. First to soften slightly and then to meld with the chili.
  • Ground Beef: Toss that bell pepper and onion in with the ground beef. They cook well together and flavor each other too.
  • Mix: Now’s the time to add the rest of the ingredients, being sure to mix each in well.
  • Simmer: The flavors will meld together as the chili simmers so give it some time!
  • Eat: Garnish with your favorite toppings and dig in!

Pro Tip: If the chili is too thick for your liking, add in ½ cup of water until it reaches your desired consistency.


zucchini added back to chili


Is Zucchini a Fruit?

Actually, yes. Zucchini is a fruit and not a vegetable. Although commonly referred to as a vegetable, even by myself, it is technically a fruit.

However, most people prepare and cook zucchini as a vegetable because of its flavor, color, and consistency. I think that’s why most of us refer to zucchini as a vegetable, not a fruit.


Chili mixed together in a pot.


Do I Need to Peel Zucchini Before Adding to Chili?

Nope! Zucchini cooks down in chili so that the peels are nice and soft. Saves you an extra step! Yay!

However, if you hate the peels, you can always go ahead and peel them away. Your choice!

Can Dogs Eat Zucchini?

Zucchini is a great snack for your dog because it’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients. It can be fed to most dogs cooked or raw.

However, as with all things, feed it to your dog in moderation only as a large amount can upset them. And if it’s their first time trying zucchini, keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t have any reactions.


Ladle scooping out a portion from pot.


Can You Eat Zucchini Raw?

Yes! Zucchini can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, or just about any way you can think of. We like to cut them up and dip them in the ranch with the rest of our veggies!

Can You Freeze Zucchini?

Yes! Zucchini freezes beautifully. And if you’ve ever had a garden, you know it’s almost always more zucchini than you can eat at one time! Enter the freezer! Zucchini will stay good in the freezer for months!

Pro Tip: Shred your zucchini and save in small portion sizes that are easily pulled out for best results.


bowl of zucchini chili


Is Zucchini Good for You?

Yes! Zucchini is very good for you! Zucchini is good for your skin, heart, eyes, bones, digestion, and blood sugar. It’s loaded with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Is Zucchini Chili Healthy?

Zucchini chili not only has all the zucchini goodness but it has many other things as well! Loaded with onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc.

It’s hard to resist something so good for you that also tastes so good!


bowl of zucchini chili in a bowl with cheese, sour cream and Fritos on top.


Can Guinea Pigs Eat Zucchini?

Yep! Your little furry friend can even enjoy zucchini. They may like it better with the skin off, you’ll have to experiment.

How to Store Zucchini Chili

Allow it to come to room temperature and then toss into a sealable container. Zucchini chili will stay good in the fridge for up to a week.

After a week, better safe than sorry, just toss it. Enjoy this quick, easy, and absolutely delicious Zucchini Chili today! 


side view of chili with toppings.


Kid Friendly Ground Beef Recipes


Whether you have too much zucchini growing in your garden, or just love to eat it all year, this Zucchini Chili is a tasty alternative to other zucchini recipes.  

Let me know in the comments what you think!


Yield: 8 Servings

Zucchini Chili

zoomed in image of chili with toppings

The easiest Zucchini Chili to make and yet bursting with flavor! This zucchini chili is going to knock your socks off!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cups zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (1 ounce) packet of taco seasoning or 2 Tablespoons homemade
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 cup salsa (pick your favorite!)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can green chilies
  • Green Onions to garnish (optional)
  • Sour Cream to garnish (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese to garnish (optional)
  • Fritos to garnish (optional)


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, add 1 Tablespoon of oil and cook zucchini for about 5 minutes, until tender firm.
  2. Remove zucchini from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan add ground beef, onion and green bell pepper.
  4. Cook until beef is cooked through and onion and pepper are soft.
  5. Add taco seasoning, coriander, oregano and tomato paste. Mix well.
  6. Add beef broth, salsa, diced tomatoes and green chilies. Bring to a simmer, cooking for 10 minutes.
  7. Add zucchini and simmer for additional 15 minutes to meld the flavors and cook the zucchini down more.
  8. If the mixture is too thick, add ½ cup of water (or more, depending on how thick you like your chili).
  9. Serve with cheese, sour cream, green onions and Fritos.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 621mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 20g


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Friday 28th of June 2024

Has anyone tried canning this soup? I want to make a lot and can it. Ideas on this?


Friday 16th of February 2024


I wonder if I could freeze the leftover?

Also, I plan to use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Is that ok?

Thank you!


Num's The Word

Thursday 21st of March 2024

You can definitely freeze it. And use whatever meat you'd like. Ground turkey will work just fine!


Monday 30th of October 2023

I follow the recipe as directed. But then threw it all in the crockpot for 5 hours. I used frozen zucchini and sauteed it as suggested at the beginning but I won't put it into the crockpot until the last half hour or so of the cook time, I'm hoping this turns out 🤷‍♀️


Wednesday 12th of July 2023

hi this looks really good can you add a can of beans


Thursday 28th of September 2023

You bet you can Lucille! I hope you enjoy it!


Friday 18th of November 2022

Hi there, making this recipe now and it smells delicious! It seems you forgot to put in the recipe where you add the diced tomato - I just added it with the salsa..

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