Sunday, January 27, 2013

Healthy Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili

"Cold" does not even begin to describe the weather we've been experiencing here in the northeast. I feel like I'm on Survivor. I'm considering making t-shirts that say "I survived Winter 2013," if I indeed make it through. It's that bad.

Just hearing the weatherman say it "feels like" -14F outside (yes, negative 14F, not just 14F) makes me want to hide under the covers. Like, all day. Unfortunately, we all typically can't enjoy such luxuries. So, naturally, we need something to coax us out of our warm hideaways and face the day. 


And, so, when my friends at Kretschmer Wheat Germ and Stonyfield Oikos Greek Yogurt asked me to give them a try, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to create a nice, hearty and healthy bowl of spicy chili. Packed with tons of nutrients and topped with some of your favorite shredded cheese and a dollop of Greek yogurt, this chili is the perfect way to warm your bones.

Did you know that wheat germ is essentially a superfood? Derived from the most nutrient rich part of the wheat kernel, wheat germ is an excellent source of nutrients including vitamin E, the B vitamins, and folic acid. Aiding in everything from muscle function, to red blood cell production, to digestive tract health, wheat germ packs big benefits in a small, 50 calorie package.  Wheat germ even supports a healthy nervous system which can lower anxiety levels and improve mood!

Needless to say, I was shocked to learn about exactly how much value such a seemingly innocent ingredient could bring to a recipe, and decided to incorporate it into the mother of all comfort foods: chili. Along with its long list of nutritional benefits, the wheat germ added another layer of flavor and brought a heartier texture to the chili. And, instead of using a high-in-fat sour cream topper, the Greek yogurt brings the same tanginess, along with tons of protein, calcium and probiotics, too!

I opted out of adding meat to this batch, but if vegetarian isn't up your alley, you can easily add in some ground beef or turkey. From the wheat germ, to the array of veggies, to the healthy Greek yogurt topping, this recipe is loaded with guilt-free flavor. To boot, leftovers travel well to the office for an easy microwavable lunch! 

So, if you're suffering through these bitterly cold days as I am, give this chili a try. I think it might be the only reason I haven't turned into a snowman (er, snow-woman). ;)

Healthy Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 medium yellow pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium green pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium stalks celery, diced (about ¾ cup)
1 medium carrot, diced (about ¾ cup)
10 grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil (about 15)
1 medium jalapeño, diced (about 1/2 cup) (optional, depending on how spicy you like your food)
1 15oz can low sodium dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can low sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste depending on how spicy you like your food
1 teaspoon paprika
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste depending on how spicy you like your food
½ cup wheat germ
Garnish: freshly grated cheese and Greek yogurt, if desired


Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper, celery, and carrots and sauté until soft and onions are translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add in the grape and sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, diced jalapeño, beans, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.

Mix in salt, oregano, cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Cover and bring to chili to a bowl and then lower to a medium heat and simmer for 45-50 minutes, uncovered.

Stir in wheat germ and remove from heat.

Serve in bowls garnished with freshly grated cheese and Greek yogurt.

Serves about 8 people.

*While I did receive coupons for complementary Kretschmer Wheat Germ and Stonyfield Oikos Greek Yogurt, these opinions are honest and entirely my own.


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