Super Bowl Recipe Challenge: Mega Meat Chili Vs. Very Veggie Chili

meat chiliWe're getting ready for the showdown between the New England Patriots and New York Giants by cooking up some crowd pleasing football party foods in our Super Bowl Recipe Challenge. Each day we'll be pitting two delicious recipes against each other and declaring one a winner. Join us today as we make chili.

On Super Bowl Sunday, ours is a house divided. We can agree on teams (lets go Giants!), but the food is the true battle. He's Southern, which means his chill packs some serious meat with his heat. And did I mention I'm a vegetarian? My challenge this year was to actually convince him that my chili loaded down with my favorite veggies could actually fill his tummy.


To help plead my case, I found a recipe in Men's Health magazine, and informed him I'd be making it. Because, come on, it says MEN right on the front page, it had to work for my man, right? I changed it up a wee bit to suit our tastes (neither of us is big on cooked cabbage for one, avocados were just to hard to find) and threw in some additional heat-making items. Then I gave him a spoonful.

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Before I tell you what happened, let's take a look at the recipes!

Veggie chili

Very Veggie Chili


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • Taco cheese
  • Corn chips


1. In a 5-quart pot, heat the oil on medium. Add the onion, garlic, and peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the cocoa powder and chili powder; cook 1 minute. Add the squash and tomato paste and cook 1 minute.

3. Add the broth, beans, chickpeas, corn and salt and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. I've since made this twice, and once left it to simmer on the stove all day, which works too.

5. Top with a sprinkle of cheese and a few corn chips (optional).

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And now for HIS recipe:

Meat Chili

Mega Meat Chili


  • 1 ½ lb of ground beef
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 small cans of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels

1. Add the olive oil to a pot on medium heat.

2. Add the onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper and green pepper stirring frequently until the onion is tender.

3. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, be sure to stir. Work in the oregano and cayenne pepper, cooking for a minute.

4. Add the tomato paste, water and corn. Bring the chili to a boil.

5. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally. Best if left to simmer for a few hours. Salt and pepper to taste.

The results:

Mega Meat Chili takes the prize.

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Sigh. Yes, it's true, he still likes his chili the best, but it's not because of the lack of meat! The cocoa in the veggie chili which filled our house with a nice chocolate-y scent also made for a sweeter chili. From my husband's point of view: if there's not enough heat, it's not chili, it's vegetable stew.

Sadly, I have to give him that. But that doesn't mean it wasn't yummy. On my second making, I added the chips on top just to give it a slight crunch, and the butternut squash makes this seriously filling.

The good news is I've got a great veggie stew recipe for a cold winter's day, but it looks like the meaty stuff is going to the big game.

What's in your favorite chili? Is it about the meat, the heat, what? 

Images by Jeanne Sager

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