Our Simple Budget Friendly ‘Work With What You Have’ Beef Chilli

Simple beef chilli – a comforting favourite!

This simple and budget friendly beef chilli is a comforting rainy day favourite! You can adjust it to what you have and for budget, serve it so many ways, and double it up to put half in the freezer. I soak and cook the beans the day before or even few days before so they’re ready to go. And then prep veggies as I have moments so that when it comes to the making it’s as quick and easy as possible!

Ways to keep simple beef chilli budget friendly

This dish a way I use beef to make a hearty meat dish but also stretch meat to go further. If you serve it in a bowl with lots of topping like avocado, sour cream, and extra cheese that’s the most expensive way so it’s not always what we do. Instead if you serve it with lots of chunky bread, the super soft bread rolls HERE, over rice or baked potatoes then it stretches it even further. It makes it a more frugal dish. You can also add in cubes of cooked squash or extra beans to stretch it further.

a white bowl filled with chilli and avocado slices

Adjustments to use what you have!

You’ll see there are lots of ingredients you can leave out to work with what you have on hand. You can skip celery, use beer or wine and a cheap one. Use a bit less beef (3/4lb works fine!) One can less of tomatoes and you’ll be ok, or not using fire roasted ones… you’ll be just fine. The good beef, the hour of cooking, the cumin and the paprika, they’re the main key players.

I usually freeze a few portions for a lazy day, and so we don’t eat the same thing for 3 days in a row!

Our Favourite Beef Chili

Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Servings: 8


  • large skillet or saucepan


  • 2/3 cup each, finely diced celery, carrot, and onion
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1* lb high quality grass fed beef
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos/tamari/soy sauce
  • 1/2 bottle white wine you can also use beer
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano optional, I honestly often leave this out!
  • 2-3 tbsp honey
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground chipotle peppers  another one I often leave out to simplify!
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes optional
  • 15 oz fire roasted tomatoes (one can)
  • 15 oz chopped tomatoes (one can)
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree or ketchup
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • to taste salt and pepper
  • 30 oz pre soaked, (sprouted if you want) and cooked pinto beans


  • In an extra large skillet or deep saucepan sauté the celery, carrot, white onion and garlic in olive oil over a low heat.  Stir them regularly until they are soft and the onions are translucent. Turn up the heat to medium high and add in the beef, stirring until the beef is browned.
  • Turn down the heat again and stir in the aminos and apple cider vinegar. Next deglaze the pan with 1/2 bottle of the white wine, scraping up all the bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • Finally add in all other ingredients (except the beans), with the stock and stir it all together. Then cover the pot with a lid, make sure the heat is on low and then cook it all down on that low heat until everything is soft and the flavours have come together. About 1 hour.  
  • After an hour add in the beans, taste, season to taste and cover for another 15 minutes or until you are ready to serve.
  • Serve how you want! Sometimes we top our bowls with grated cheddar, chopped cilantro/coriander, and avocado slices and eat it with wedges of corn bread. Sometimes we put it on a more frugal baked potato!


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