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There is nothing nicer on a cold winter’s evening than a bowl of steaming hot chili, with all the accompaniments. I wanted to create a new recipe for chili that would be completely vegetarian and free of dairy and gluten so my entire family could enjoy it. This Winter Veggie Chili is packed with vegetables plus has the slightly unusual addition of green spinach. 

New research from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has shown  that eating just one serving of leafy green vegetables a day like spinach, lettuce or kale, takes a decade off an aging brain. Two servings produced even greater effects. Adding a package of previously frozen spinach to this chili recipe accomplishes two things 1) slows down cognitive decline and 2) adds extra thickness to the chili broth-BONUS!

This recipe for Winter Veggie Chili makes about 12 servings. You can refrigerate it or freeze it after for additional easy dinners on a busy day. It also packs really well for lunches.

Dairy and gluten free


1 cans each red kidney beans & black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1½ cups chopped carrots

1½ cups chopped celery

1½ cups sliced zucchini

1 cup chopped Spanish onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn

1 package thawed green spinach

½ cup tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½  teaspoon dried chili peppers

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Bottled hot pepper sauce

Toppings such as sliced avocado, chopped green onion, snipped fresh cilantro and a dollop of Salsa (optional)


Rinse and drain 2 cans of Kidney and Black beans

Stir in the diced tomatoes and their juice, carrots, celery, zucchini, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, corn, tomato paste,  garlic,  chili powder, oregano, cilantro, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Return to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low.

Cover and simmer for 45 minutes more or until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add package of thawed green spinach and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

To your taste , season with sea salt, black pepper and hot pepper sauce. Serve with suggested toppings.


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