There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of chili when the winter winds blow—unless it’s our healthy baked version
I grew up in New York City and I’ll tell you right now, January on the east coast—not so much fun. That’s when you look to food for warmth and comfort, especially after coming inside after walking three dogs when it’s 16 degrees outside! Our Corn Chili Bake certainly fills that bill—it’s a cold-weather crowd pleaser. Satisfying, filling, easy-to-prepare Mexican.
Nothing personal, Taco Bell, but this recipe has you beat on every count, starting with taste and ending with nutrition. With this recipe, the term “healthy fast food” is no longer an oxymoron. Loaded with fiber and protein, it also contains healthy compounds called phenols from the black olives, blood pressure-lowering garlic, and cancer-fighting antioxidants, such as lycopene from the tomatoes. Best of all, because you make it yourself, you get to choose the protein source—lean, clean turkey (instead of mystery meat).
Take that, Taco Bell Chihuahua (even though you are pretty cute!). —Dr. Jonny
Corn Chili Bake
about 8 servings
This healthy winter comfort dish yields enough for two meals—or one giant feast for cold, hungry guests.
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. leanest ground turkey
1 tsp. salt
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 14.5-oz. cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6-oz. can black olives, drained and roughly chopped
2 cups frozen corn
2 Tbs. chili powder
1 heaping tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. ancho chili pepper (or cayenne)
½ cup stone-ground corn meal
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray, and set aside.
- Heat oil in large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and sauté 4 minutes, or until onion and pepper just begin to soften. Add garlic, turkey, and salt, and sauté 6–7 minutes, or until no pink remains on turkey.
- Drain meat, if necessary, and add beans, tomatoes, olives, corn, chili powder, cumin, chili pepper, and corn meal, and stir gently to mix well. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle cheese evenly over top, and bake uncovered 40 minutes, or until heated through.
PER SERVING: 286 cal; 22g pro; 8g total fat (2g sat fat); 34g carb; 41mg chol; 914mg sod; 8g fiber; 7g sugars
Notes from Chef Jeannette: To freeze half (4 servings), divide recipe into two 7-8-inch Pyrex baking dishes. Cook one as directed for dinner and cool the other for two hours to overnight in the fridge. Remove any condensation and place a layer of freezer-safe plastic over the surface of the casserole, sealing it tightly against the sides to prevent air contact. Seal the cover over all, and store in the freezer. When you’re ready for round two, thaw frozen dish overnight in the fridge and bake, uncovered, as directed.
Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC, is a certified holistic health counselor and recipe developer. Jonny Bowden, ND, PhD, is a nationally known health, nutrition, and weight loss expert. Bessinger and Bowden have collaborated on numerous cookbooks, including their newest, The 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes.