Surprise! For those of you who haven’t flipped through the pages of my cookbook, Nutrition Stripped Cookbook, then you’re in for a treat. This is one of my favorite recipes from the cookbook mainly from the nostalgia of growing up in the Midwest eating Cincinnati style chili — it’s delicious and I gave it a healthy NS makeover. It might sound like an odd ingredient combination for you if you didn’t grow up eating Cincinnati-style chili, but try this one out, it’s too good!
From the NS Cookbook…
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, I take my chili very seriously. Anytime I make this chili for my friends here in Nashville, they immediately say, “This is amazing, what’s in here?” The subtle rich dark chocolate and warming cinnamon take this chili to a whole new level of comfort. When I was growing up, my mother would let chili slowly cook all day long to where it was perfectly flavored and reduced to a thick consistency just in time for supper. Very purposeful, very special, and damn good.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced
- 1 to 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon, to taste
- 1 to 1½ tablespoons ground cumin, to taste
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes or 1, 15 ounce can
- 1, 15 ounces can tomato sauce
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup cooked brown lentils
- 1 cup cooked kidney beans (or about ½ a 15 ounce can rinsed)
- 1 cup cooked butter beans (or about ½ a 15 ounce can rinsed)
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 3 ounces dark chocolate
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Garnishes: diced sweet onion, hot sauce, fresh cilantro, crushed walnuts
- In a large soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapenos, ground cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper to taste and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes so the spices become fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, stock, lentils, kidney beans, butter beans, walnuts, chocolate, and cinnamon sticks. Taste test while simmering; take out the cinnamon sticks when the desired flavor is reached or leave in for the full cooking time (I prefer this).
- Simmer over medium-low heat for 4 hours or more, until thickened. You may adjust the cook time depending on how thick you like your chili. If you prefer it on the thin side, add more stock.
- Before serving, pick out the cinnamon sticks and adjust seasonings to your taste.
- Serve the chili over gluten-free pasta for a true Cincinnati flare. Top with optional garnishes. Store in an airtight glass container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or freeze for 2 to 3 weeks.