Slimmed Down Cincinnati Chili

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 lb. of lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14-15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dark chocolate cocoa powder or 1 oz. piece of a dark chocolate candy bar (72% cocoa or higher)
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ¾ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice (can substitute cloves—just a little different taste)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • 10 oz. match stick carrots (optional)
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 bunch of green onions


  1. Place the chopped vegetables in a microwave safe dish with ¼ cup of water and the bay leaf.  Cover and microwave for 6-8 minutes until tender.
  2. While the vegetables are cooking, begin cooking the ground beef in a large sauce pan of medium heat.  Cook the ground beef until no longer pink.  Drain the grease.  Turn heat to low.  Quickly remove the cooked vegetables from the microwave add them (undrained) along with the bay leaf to the cooked beef.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and gently mix into the beef.  Add the drained kidney beans, and tomato paste.  Gently mix until the paste is incorporated.  Add the spices, mix and then turn the heat up to medium and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning and sticking.
  4. While the chili is cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions.
  5. Add the cocoa or piece of dark chocolate to the chili and mix in until incorporated or melted.
  6. Place ¼ of the cooked pasta on a plate and top with ¼ of the chili.  Garnish with carrots (optional), ¼ of the shredded cheese, and sprinkle of green onion.  Serve with a piece of fresh fruit or a small garden salad to round out the meal.
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