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Fall is here, the leaves are changing as the air turns crisp and cool. As the temperature drops, I find myself craving soups and other warm dishes to offset the cold. Chili is a great choice, as it's hearty, savory and can be a super healthy if made properly. Using lots of veggies and beans adds healthy soluble and insoluble fiber. Also, due to chili's high fiber and water content, it's extremely filling. And since fiber and water contain zero calories, this tends to be a great choice if you're looking for a satisfying way to limit your energy intake.
I usually make vegetarian chili, but my husband prefers a heartier version, so I went for this recipe made with lean turkey chili (adapted from epicurious.com). You can omit the turkey and use veggie broth if you prefer vegetarian chili. I love the cocoa, as it adds great flavor and brings up the antioxidant quotient. I upped the seasonings and added a variety of peppers and a chipotle chili in adobo to kick it up a notch.
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey (omit if making vegetarian version)
1/4 cup chili powder
1-2 chipotle chilis in adobo, chopped (these are spicy, so use sparingly if you don't like heat!)
2 bay leaves
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, preferably low sodium
2 cups low sodium beef (or veggie) broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste, preferably low sodium
3 15-ounce can beans, rinsed and drained (I used pinto beans but you could use whatever kind you like!)
Plain low fat Greek yogurt (a healthy substitute for sour cream)
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and raw peppers and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add cumin and stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turkey, and cook, breaking up with back of spoon, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in chili powder, chilis in adobo, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with back of spoon. Add stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans and simmer about 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro and Greek yogurt.
Nutrient Analysis per 1.5 cup serving:
6 g Fat (0 g trans, 1 g sat, 3 g mono)
60 mg Cholesterol
415 mg Sodium
39 g Carbohydrate
12 g Fiber
25 g Protein
Good source of fiber, protein and Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.
I love to make chili and soups on the weekends (as they do tend to take a fair amount of time) and then reheat during the week for a quick and healthy dinner.