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cincinnati-style veggie chili

by Jackie Newgent  |  September 22, 2013  |  3 Comments

Cincinnati-Style Veggie Chili

(Click on photo for full-size image!)

Makes 8 servings

Though a New Yorker now, I was born and raised in Ohio. And when in the great Buckeye state, you need to try chili the way so many Ohioans do … over spaghetti. But it’s not just any ordinary chili; it’s full of intriguing and earthy spices. My vegetarian version is richly spiced, full of veggies, and specifically designed to be paired with pasta, not eaten straight from a bowl. I’ve also included a touch of chocolate, even though there isn’t consensus if it’s “allowed” to be in a traditional Cincinnati chili recipe. So my dear hometown friends and family … I developed this “4-Way” recipe with you in mind. I hope you don’t mind that that I added my own personal culinary touches and made it a bit better for you!

Perhaps the most interesting of the ingredients I included is Concord grape juice which packs quite a nutritious punch, including plant nutrients like polyphenols, and provides a naturally-sweet accent, balancing the blend of spices so deliciously. It’s kind of like adding wine, only fruitier. I was inspired from a recent Concord grape harvest dinner that I attended. It’s now harvest time, by the way. So serve your bowl of this non-traditional Cincinnati-style chili with fresh Concord grapes on the side to make it a seasonally-inspired meal. And if you didn’t already know it, you can actually eat the skin and extra-crunchy seeds of these exceptionally sweet little purple fruits.

Enjoy. And … Go Bucks!

Calories Saved: 90

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 (8-ounce) Russet potato, unpeeled, scrubbed, finely diced
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 large red onions, finely diced, divided
5 large garlic cloves, minced
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added or low sodium kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup 100% Concord grape juice
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 recipe Cincinnati-Style Chili Spice Mixture (see below)
1 pound whole grain spaghetti
1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

  1. Heat the oil in a nonstick (PFOA-free) Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, potato, bell pepper, and three-fourths of the onions and sauté until mushrooms are wilted and onions are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the beans, tomato sauce, broth, grape juice, chocolate, and spice mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until flavors are fully developed, about 25 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Makes about 8 cups chili.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and transfer to individual bowls.
  4. Top with the chili, cheese, and remaining diced onions, and serve.

Per serving: 430 calories, 9g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 15mg cholesterol, 760mg sodium, 74g total carbohydrate, 15g dietary fiber, 9g sugars, 20g protein

Cincinnati-Style Chili Spice Mixture

cincinnati-style chili spice mixture

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper*
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice or cloves

Stir together all ingredients. Use immediately or store in a sealed container or jar for later use.

*Use 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper if you prefer a milder chili.

The “Before” Recipe

Cincinnati Chili inspired cincinnati-style veggie chili.

Per serving: 520 calories, 26g total fat, 13g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 90mg cholesterol, 880mg sodium, 39g total carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber, 4g sugars, 32g protein


Tasteover Tips

  • When forgoing meat, make sure to include a savory ingredient in its place, like mushrooms
  • Consider adding Concord grape juice to chili to balance extra spiciness
  • Go with whole grain spaghetti; it actually stands up better to heartier tastes than white pasta
  • Sprinkle with extra sharp instead of mild Cheddar so you can use less of it while keeping full flavor satisfaction

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