Health-ified Cincinnati Chili

Edited to Note:  Since this post, I have revamped my recipe and reposted it (with much better photography, too!).  Please see the updated recipe, complete with chocolate, here.

When we lived in Cincinnati, we used to go to Skyline on our way home from dance class.  At the time, I didn’t like chili, so I’d end up getting just a hot dog with cheese (healthy, right?)  Now that I like chili though, I love to make my own!

For those of you not familiar with Cincinnati chili, serve it over spaghetti (I used whole wheat).  Rice works too, even if it isn’t the traditional way. :)   Eat it 3, 4, or 5-ways:

3-way: Chili with spaghetti and cheese.

4-way: Chili with spaghetti, cheese and either beans or onions. There are beans in this version of the chili too, though… :)

5-way: Chili with spaghetti, cheese, beans, and onions.

So here it is, my “health-ified” Cincinnati Chili recipe.  I’m sorry, I can’t remember what recipe this is adapted from!  I’ve cut back the meat, upped the beans, and I recommend cutting back on the cheese!  Next time I make it, I want to try it with Parmesan instead of cheddar, but I haven’t tried it yet…

4 cups water
1/2 lb raw ground turkey
3 (14½ ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
6 oz. tomato paste (NOTE:  not tomato sauce)
1½ tablespoons cider vinegar
1½ teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 to 2.5 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sea salt
Black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste
Cooked pasta or rice
Traditionally:  shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, and lots of it.  I still think it is fantastic with less, though.

Crumble raw ground turkey into water in a stockpot or other large pot.
Add one can of kidney beans, as well as the garlic, tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and all of the seasonings.  Stir and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat and  simmer, uncovered, until the meat is cooked through and the chili is thickened.  This should take from 40 minutes to an hour, depending on how thick you like it.  I like it more like the texture of a meat sauce.
When the chili is nearly done, cook & drain the spaghetti and prepare the onion and remaining beans.  Heat the beans and onion in a skillet over low heat until heated through.

Plate the chili!  Top spaghetti with chili.  Top with beans, onions, and cheese.

Makes:  6 servings

Time to make: 90 min


The non-cheese, non-onion, non-bean version:



  1. fittipexchange says

    hey…I just saw your comment on Jenna’s post…I wanted to let you know that if you are up for moving to California, Clif is taking applications for a food engineer/scientist right now…I saw it on their website!


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