As much of the country continues to navigate the dregs of winter, meal planning can veer toward the warm and filling end of the culinary spectrum in an effort to combat the cold. Often, these kinds of heavy meals are less than ideal from a nutritional standpoint — packed with unhealthy amounts of fat or salt. Given that February is American Heart Month, we sought out a happy medium: a recipe that is simultaneously heart healthy and heartwarming.
The wonderful thing about chili is how customizable it is. You can adjust the type of bean to your taste, or ramp up the spice factor — see the tips at the bottom for a few ideas. Moreover, as our recipe outlines, a few key modifications (buying lean and no-salt ingredients, and draining the fat while cooking) can drastically reduce the fat and sodium content. And a great deal of the cooking time is hands-off, giving you leave to cozy up while your meal simmers for you.
Happy Heart Chili
Servings: 4 | Time: about 1 hour
1 lb ground beef (95% lean)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 can (15.5 oz.) kidney beans (no- or low-sodium variety), rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (no- or low-sodium variety), not drained
3/4 cup salsa (lowest sodium available)
- Spray a large pot or saucepan with cooking spray, then heat on medium-high. Cook the beef and onion for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly to break up and brown the meat.
- Turn off the heat, transfer the beef-onion mixture to a colander, and rinse to drain excess fat.
- Return the mixture to the pot and turn the heat back up to medium-high. Stir in the bell pepper, garlic, and spices and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the beans, tomatoes, and salsa. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Divide into portions, serve, and enjoy!
Nutritional Facts (per serving)
Calories: 300; Fat: 6 g; Saturated fat: 2.5 g; Cholesterol: 62 mg; Sodium: 290 mg; Carbohydrates: 29 g; Total sugars: 8 g; Dietary fiber: 7 g; Protein: 31 g.
- For a healthier alternative to lean beef, substitute ground chicken breast or turkey.
- Experiment with the flavors of different beans, like pinto or black beans. Whatever the variety, make sure it is no- or low-sodium and that the beans are thoroughly rinsed and drained (to remove excess salt).
- Instead of mincing fresh garlic, you can save prep time by using 2 Tbsp jarred garlic instead.
- For a spicy kick, add 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and/or 1 chopped medium jalapeño pepper, with the rest of the vegetables and spices.
- Try garnishing your chili with avocado slices, a touch of fat-free sour cream, and a sprinkling of low-fat shredded cheese and chives. (However, note that these are not reflected in the nutritional facts above and may change your calorie/fat/sodium counts.)
Heart-healthy recipes can make a positive difference for anyone, but if you are looking for ways to better manage heart failure, COPD, or other heart challenges for yourself or a loved one, it may take more than a balanced diet to manage your health. Residential Home Health offers expert services to help handle numerous cardiopulmonary concerns. Residential’s exclusive Cardiopulmonary Hospital Admit Management Program (CHAMP) incorporates early intervention, daily vital sign monitoring, and health coaching to improve patients’ safety, independence, and quality of life and reduce their risk of returning to the hospital.
Learn more about CHAMP, or call (888)930-WELL (9355) to speak with a Residential Home Health nurse today.