How to Add Amazing Flavor to Any Chili Recipe


It’s cold, which means there is nothing more satisfying or appropriate than a steaming hot bowl of chili. It’s just one of those things you can’t eat when it’s hot outside (chili in July; no thanks!) . Chili recipes are best saved and savored when the air is crisp and cool and it’s beginning to feel a lot like the holidays are in the air. Of course, it’s just one more thing to add to your list of “I’m going to need to go a size up by the time the holidays are over,” foods. Chili, while delicious, can be a little bit less healthy than other foods – though it’s better for you than some other foods as well.

We have compiled a few tips and tricks that will help you make any of your favorite chili recipes just a bit lighter, healthier and even tastier. The misconception that healthy means tasteless is just that; a misconception. We’re about to prove to you that you can eat healthy and still eat food that’s decadent and delicious. You don’t need to further proof other than just a bite of your new chili recipe to make sure you learn firsthand just how delicious healthy can taste. We love comfort food, and we love to make it just a little less guilty.

Choose the Right Meat

It’s all about that meat when it comes to chili. Nothing else matters as much as the meat, in the eyes of many home chefs. Well, we’re here to tell you that chili is all about the combination of ingredients and spice, and that while the meat is important, it’s not the only important ingredient associated with this delicious comfort food. However, if you want to make something healthier, you should choose better cuts of meat. For this recipe, we recommend you go with either lean ground beef or ground turkey. The leanest you should go is 90% lean. Too much more and you will find that your meat dries out and loses a lot of its flavor. Ground turkey, on the other hand, is simply divine in chili. Believe it or not, most people will compliment you on your dish and ask what it is you used to make it so much more amazing than other recipes they’ve tried; and they’ll be shocked when you tell them that it was turkey and not beef.

Watch the Sodium

One of the biggest mistakes many people make when choosing ingredients for their chili is not checking the ingredients used in their ingredients. For example, you cannot simply choose the first can of tomato base you see. Many of these have too much sodium and other unhealthy additives. Make sure you choose items that don’t have additional sodium and unhealthy features. You can find flavors that are bold and beautiful without being unnaturally unhealthy and filled with items you don’t need in your diet.

Think Beans

We love the concept of making chili healthier by limiting the meat you use and increasing the beans you use. Go crazy; they’re healthy. Use all kinds of beans to add flavor and good nutrients to your dish and you will be pleasantly surprised just how delicious and amazing your dishes will turn out. We highly recommend that you even go as far as to try vegetarian chili, which doesn’t use any meat at all. It might not be your favorite, but it might be something you enjoy enough to eat on a regular basis without much complaint.

Double Up the Veggies

Most people don’t even bother to add veggies to their chili. They assume that what’s in that tomato sauce is all it needs, but you can add so much flavor and so many nutrients to your dish by adding some veggies to the mix and cooking them with your chili. This adds not only a touch of flavor, but many vitamins and other healthy nutrients. There is no suggestion as far as which veggies to use, but zucchini, peppers of all colors and even sweet potatoes are favorite additions for many people who love a good vegetable chili.

Spice it Up

You can add so many flavors to any dish you make simply by generously adding spice. For chili, we love to add chili powder and cumin, and we say keep adding it until you find the flavor perfect. Additionally, you can toss in some cayenne pepper if you really want, because sometimes a kick is all it takes to make a dish even more amazing than it already was. If you like to add a bit of depth, consider adding a touch of cinnamon to your chili pot. It doesn’t seem like an ingredient you would add to a pot of chili, but trust us when we say that this is a bit of flavor you simply do not want to miss out on. What’s even better about adding spice to your chili is that it doesn’t add anything else – such as fat or calories.

It’s All about the Toppings

One of the best ways to finish up a pot of chili and make it as amazing as you possibly can is to go with fresh ingredients and other healthy additives as toppings. We love the concept of sprinkling just a bit of lime juice on top of your chili, shredding fresh mozzarella cheese (no bagged stuff) and adding some freshly cut cilantro, basil or even fresh onions right to the top. And of course, try to choose crackers that are made out of whole wheat instead of white crackers that are loaded with salt and nothing else.

What you do with your chili recipes is completely up to you, but you should take a few of our tips and apply them once or twice so that you can see just how delicious our ideas are, just how much flavor they add to your dishes and just how much more enjoyable it is to eat a healthy meal that’s still comfort food at the end of the day.

Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images


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