Cozy up to these comforting bowls of chili this season that come with a nutritious twist.

Wintry weather calls for endless bowls of chili. Whether you prefer vegetarian chili or meat chili, make this classic winter dish a regular feature on your weeknight lineup. Filling up on beans,  veggies, and lean meat is a wonderful way to boost your fiber, protein, and antioxidants.  For some extra fun, set up a topping bar and load up each bowl with goodies like low-fat shredded cheese, greek yogurt, chopped white or green onion, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and hot sauce.

3-Bean “Meaty” Vegetarian Chili

Tofu makes the perfect chewy stand-in for meat in this dish and provides a good source of plant-based protein, iron, and calcium. Pinto, kidney, and black beans make this chili especially heart healthy.

Makes 6 servings


Meaty tofu crumbles:

1 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp hot sauce

1 14-ounce firm tofu


2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, diced

2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes

(1) 15-oz cans low-sodium pinto beans, drained and rinsed

(1) 15-oz can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed

(1) 15-oz cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup water

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the soy sauce, cumin, and hot sauce. Using your hands, crumble the tofu into the bowl and mix together using a large spoon until well combined.
  3. Spread tofu in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Make sure not to burn - the tofu should be a bit dry and chewy. When done, remove from the oven.
  4. Now prepare the chili: add olive oil to a large pot on medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté a few minutes until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook one more minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the rest of the chili ingredients to the pot, except the tofu, and stir. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  6. Stir tofu into the pot and stir once again until fully combined.

Nutrition facts (1 serving): 342 calories, 9.3 g total fat, 2.6 g saturated fat, 620 mg sodium, 48g carbs, 18 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 22cg protein.

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

Who knew that butternut squash and black beans could make such a tasty pairing? Along with peppers, spicy jalapenos, tomatoes, and beans, this chili provides just the right amount of kick and plenty of nutrition.

Makes 8 servings


3 Tbsp olive oil

2 yellow onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 green pepper, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

2 14.5-oz cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes

4 15-oz can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp oregano

3 Tbsp chili powder

4 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite size pieces

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, saute onions in olive oil until translucent for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir constantly for another minute. Add peppers and jalapenos and saute until tender for a few more minutes.
  2. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and all spices. Place butternut squash on top.
  3. Cover and lower heat to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  4. Gently mix to combine, and adjust seasonings if needed.

Nutrition facts (1 serving): 165 calories, 8g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 503mg sodium, 17g carbs, 5g fiber, 5g sugar, 7g protein.

Veggie Turkey Chili

This chili features protein-packed lean ground turkey alongside garden vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers, as well as two types of beans. High in fiber and antioxidants, this chili is simple to make yet still loaded with classic spicy flavors.

Makes 5 servings


1 lb lean ground turkey

1 yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 15-oz can tomato sauce

1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes

1 7-oz can diced green chiles

1 15-oz can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-oz can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 zucchini, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 red pepper, diced

2 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp maple syrup

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add the onion and ground turkey to a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring until cooked. Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute.
  2. Add the turkey mixture to a large pot, along with all of the other ingredients. Combine well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Adjust any seasonings if necessary.

Nutrition facts (1 serving): 424 calories, 12g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 680 mg sodium, 46 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 37g protein.