Perfect for tailgating, cozy evenings at home, and holidays alike, chili is a beloved meal! Rich with delicious smells and flavors, chili brightens up an ordinary day at home into one that instantly feels more comfortable.
For those looking to incorporate low sodium meals into their daily routine, chili might not be the first meal that comes to mind. But it’s really easy to make a low sodium version of chili … not to mention tasty, too!
In this blog post, we’re sharing information about low sodium chili, how you can make your own version at home, and even a ready made chili for times when you’re not in the mood to cook!
Low sodium chili explained
What is low sodium chili? Well, to understand low sodium chili, first you need to understand what a low sodium diet is. A low sodium diet reduces the amount of sodium, or salt, included in your diet. When looking to eat low sodium, aim for 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. In other words, this is about one teaspoon of table salt.
Salt is a mineral found in many foods, and many people accidentally consume more sodium than they need. Diets high in sodium can increase blood pressure and risk of stroke, so keeping sodium intake in check is crucial to overall health.
How to cook low sodium chili?
Fortunately, cooking low sodium chili is made simple by using a few rules and ingredient swaps. Let’s dig in!
What spices can you use for a classic low sodium chili?
One low effort way to add flavor to any dish, including chili, is by adding spices. Here are a few of our favorites:
Chili powder is often used in savory dishes like soups, stews, and tacos. It aids in digestion, maintains blood pressure levels, is anti-inflammatory, and can even help with weight loss. Chili powder has a little kick to it, so it’s a perfect addition to chili for those who love spice!
Cumin is consumed in whole dried seeds or ground powder form, and it has even been used for medicinal purposes in many parts of the world! Cumin is an excellent addition to dishes like soups, stews and curries. And, it’s an awesome way to season vegetables before roasting!
Paprika is a ground spice made from dried varieties of peppers. While many paprika variations are mild, some range from sweet to spicy in intensity. Paprika contains capsaicin, which is a compound found in peppers that has been shown to have health benefits, like antioxidant properties and reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.
What type of meat can you use for a classic low sodium chili?
While spices are an excellent addition to chili, you need a solid base of protein to keep you feeling full for hours after eating. Nothing is worse than feeling “hangry” at the family dinner or tailgate with friends!
We’ve pulled out a couple of popular chili protein options below:
By far, the most common meat used in chili is ground meat, like beef, turkey, and pork. The great thing about ground meat is that you can choose what tastes best to you! Ground beef is a heartier meat option. Meanwhile, turkey and pork are a little leaner.
Don’t worry, vegetarian friends! You can still make chili without the meat by using vegetarian alternatives, and ground tempeh is one of our favorites. The texture of ground tempeh is surprisingly similar to beef and is versatile, too! You can use ground tempeh in chili, but if you have leftovers, it also works well in tacos, casseroles, and sauces!
If you’re in the mood to get cooking, this recipe is a healthy option! No salt added canned beans and tomato help keep this chili recipe low in sodium content.
And, there are plenty of delicious ingredients included to keep it flavorful! Fragrant oregano, paprika, garlic, and onions will make your kitchen smell heavenly … and are good for you, too.
Ready made low sodium chili
If you’re looking at this recipe going, “No way! I don’t have time to make chili.” We totally understand! That’s why Proper Good meals are zero slicing, dicing, and cooking, so you can have a nutritious, low sodium meal ready in seconds.
While our low sodium assortment is an excellent option for those on a low sodium diet, we want to call out a favorite meal–Proper Good Southwest Chili. This chili is packed with meatless crumbles, beans, poblanos, and corn. 450 mg of sodium are in each pouch, which equals about 19 percent of the recommended daily value of sodium. Making a low sodium diet a whole lot easier! ;)
4 fun low sodium chili ideas
Ever want to “plus up” your run of the mill chili with a unique topping or side dish? Now’s your chance with these exciting low sodium chili ideas!
Spaghetti is a favorite dish, especially for families with little ones! However, if you’re looking for a way to change up the same old spaghetti recipe, replacing marinara with chili as a sauce is a great alternative.
Chili with lettuce and sour cream
If you’ve ever wanted to make a taco … without the taco … chili topped with lettuce and sour cream still gives off that taco taste without the shell. Lettuce adds a nice “crunch” and crispness on top of chili, and sour cream is tangy and refreshing. Bonus: if you mix sour cream in with the chili, it gives the chili a creamier quality.
Chili and cilantro
Cilantro is an herb from the leaves of a coriander plant, which is a member of the parsley family. It is often chopped up and used on top of savory dishes like burritos, stews, and grilled meats. When combined with chili, cilantro gives the dish a bright, lemony, and peppery flavor.
We couldn’t talk about chili and not mention this delicious dish! If you’ve got your warm bowl of chili in hand and are looking for a complimentary entree or side dish, this vegan mushroom quesadilla is a wonderful choice. This quesadilla is filled with heart healthy mushrooms, onion, and spinach–yum!
Chili made simple! Don’t sweat it the next time you’re craving low sodium chili. We hope the ideas on this list help make this household favorite a little easier to make low sodium the next time you’re craving a hearty meal.