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This sausage chili is loaded with chunks of Italian sausage, ground beef, and sauteed mushrooms. It's a hearty and meaty chili recipe that is sure to please. We usually make this a beanless chili, but you can put some in if your family loves them. It's great both ways.
“This is the best chili I've ever eaten” was what I was told by my handsome man's sister (hi, Mudra!) when we served this at a recent family dinner. And I have to agree. The big chunks of Italian sausage of loads of mushrooms give a ton of flavor to this beanless chili.
We think you'll love this sausage chili because:
- Italian sausage gives it a big-time flavor boost.
- You have the option to mix the sausage into the chili (so that it is similar to the ground beef) or to cook it separately so you get little sausage meatballs. We like the sausage balls method the best, but both give great flavor.
- Beanless, if you want it to be. I always opt for a bean-free chili as beans don't leave me feeling great after eating them. But my family loves beans. We make a big batch of this chili then add beans to half of it. It's an easy way to please everyone at your table.
- Lots of mushrooms! You're going to want to be a mushroom fan for this one. We quarter then saute the mushrooms in an attempt to make them a little bean-like.
- Like all chili recipes, this one reheats beautifully making it ideal for meal prep.
How to make this beanless chili recipe
This chili is made in 3 steps.
- Saute the mushrooms.
- Cook the sausages. ← We do this step separately so that the sausage meat stays in chunks like little meatballs.
- Make the chili.
I saute the mushrooms first then cook the sausages in the same pan to save on dishes. While the mushrooms and sausages are cooking, I start the rest of the chili. The mushrooms and sausages can be added to the chili at any point so I put them into the chili pot as soon as they're ready.
Can this sausage chili be made in a slow cooker?
For the best results, you'll want to follow steps 1-4 before putting this chili into your slow cooker. Because the mushrooms and sausages are cooked separately, the prep time is a little longer than most chili recipes. Don't worry, the 40 minutes of prep is totally worth it.
If you want to make this chili recipe ahead of time, I recommend adding the chili to your crockpot after step 4 along with a 1/2 cup of water and setting it to low heat.
What to serve with this meaty chili recipe
Chili is obviously a one-bowl kind of dinner that really doesn't need anything else. If I want some extra veggies, I'll put a handful of baby spinach leaves in the bottom of my bowl before adding the chili. It might sound strange but I think it's pretty tasty that way.
A simple green salad, topped with one of my favorite salad dressing recipes, is a nice side.
Favorite chili toppings
- Beans. Although not usually a topping, if a few people want them, serving them as a topping is a great way to please everyone.
- Sour Cream.
- Cheddar Cheese.
- Tortilla Chips.
- Green Onions
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- 3 tablespoons cooking oil (divided)
- 2 lb crimini mushrooms (quartered)
- 2 lb Italian sausage (removed from casings)
- 1 large onion (minced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 red bell peppers (minced)
- 4 stalks celery (minced)
- 5.5 ounce can of tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 28-ounce cans whole, crushed, or diced tomatoes (see notes)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the mushrooms and cook until they brown. Remove the mushrooms from the pan then repeat with one more tablespoon of oil and the remaining mushrooms. Remove them from the pan once cooked.2 lb crimini mushrooms
- Break the sausage meat into chunks, rolling into balls if it is falling apart. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan and add the sausage pieces. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they start to brown and are cooked enough that they hold together like meatballs.2 lb Italian sausage
- While the mushrooms and sausage are cooking, add a tablespoon of oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ground beef to the pot and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the bell peppers and celery and cook for 5 minutes.1 large onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 lb ground beef, 2 red bell peppers, 4 stalks celery
- Push the meat and veggies to the side of the pot and add the tomato paste to the middle. Let it cook for 3 minutes, or until it begins to smell sweet.5.5 ounce can of tomato paste
- Add the chili powder, honey if using, salt, cumin, tomatoes, and cooked mushrooms and sausage to the pot and stir. Bring the pot to a simmer then lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes.3 tablespoons chili powder, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 28-ounce cans whole, crushed, or diced tomatoes
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.