Lunch box chili

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This lunch-box chili recipe is a tasty alternative to sandwiches and wraps. It will warm your inside while giving your flavour and fuel. What’s even better is that you can some meal-prep on the weekend so that you have all your lunches made for the week ahead. This lunch-box chili is kid-friendly which make this a winning recipe. Serve with a crusty bun and a sprinkle of shredded cheese.


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Lunch box chili
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Make this lunch box chili on Sunday and enjoy a hot, packed lunch for the week ahead. This recipe is kid-friendly and full of protein and vegetables. Throw in a crusty bun and you have a hot and energizing lunch for the afternoon.
Serves: 8
  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp chili (or more if you like more chili flavour)
  • ½ can tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 ounces)
  • 1 can green lentils (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can white kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 1 can mushrooms (drained)
  • 3 tbsp BBQ sauce
  1. In a large pot, brown the extra-lean ground beef. Remove to a plate.
  2. In the same pot, add in olive oil, onions, carrots, celery. Saute until softened (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add in spices: garlic powder, oregano, chili and tomato paste. Heat through for about 30 seconds or until natural oils from the spices are released.
  4. Add in remaining ingredients. Heat through until flavours blend together. Taste for seasoning, assessing for a flavour balance of sweet, heat, salt and acid. Enjoy!

Here are all the ingredients used. On this particular day, I doubled the recipe to make a giant pot of lunch-box chili for the week ahead as well as to put some in the freezer for later.

I used a combination of ancho chili powder and chipotle chili powder, which I bought at the famous Goats on the Roof market on Vancouver Island. I found the 2 tsp of chili powder was plenty for this recipe. However, use the chili powder that you have. You may need to add more or less, depending on your flavour preference. Start small – you can always add in more later.

You can see how much this recipe (when doubled) makes!

Here is the final lunch-box chili.

Pack your lunch-box chili in glass containers for the week. Then, the day you are sending it for lunch, heat through and pack in a thermos (and remember to pack the spoon!).



Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall MSc, RD Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian Calgary, AB.

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