Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday:  Bring out your chips, your dips, your party mixes, your Buffalo wings, your cheeseburgers and your Dominoes pizzas.  And your beer.  Lots of beer.

Is it a celebration of football, or junk food? 

Could be both.  But because we’re parked in front of the TV for three-plus solid hours, often with our nearest and dearest football-loving friends,  there is a tendency to overconsume — especially if it’s not a real exciting game.   (Just what is there to do at half-time besides wait for the ads and … eat?) 

We don’t have to limit ourselves to artery-clogging junk foods tomorrow; we can at least create for ourselves the opportunity to eat healthily while rooting for … whoever.  (I think Green Bay for me, although it’s kind of immaterial without the Giants.)

Here are two hearty, healthy and tastey chili recipes that will you help you get through the Super Bowl without busting your gut.  Although they are both vegetarian, you could, if you like, incorporate some ground beef or turkey.  Seasonings, as always with chili, are to taste.  These are filling dishes, which, with a light beer or two, should leaving you feeling satisfied and content (and consoled, should you require consolation) without eating huge quantities.

Festive Black Bean Chili

 This colorful chili is from my old stand-by, Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites, and is excruciatingly simple to make.  A lot depends on the salsa that you choose.  Desert Pepper makes a widely available pineapple salsa that I absolutely love — it’s sweet yet packs a lot of heat.  The Moosewood authors recommend a “clean, crisp-flavored salsa, such as La Victoria brand Casera Salsa or Pace Brand Picante Salsa.” Just pick something you like!


  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup prepared Mexican-style red salsa
  • 2 red and green bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked or canned black beans
  • 1 28-oz. can tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh corn
  • Salt to taste
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped, cilantro, if desired

In a large soup pot, cook the onions and garlic on high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.  Add the cumin and coriander and stir on high heat for a minute.  Stir in the salsa and bell peppers, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the black beans and tomatoes; simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the corn and continue to cook for 10 minutes.  Add salt and Tabasco sauce to taste.  Stir in the cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Yield:  6 servings

Per Serving:  232 calories, 2 g fat, 12 g protein, 47 g carbohydrate, 0 mg cholesterol, 401 mg sodium.


Bean and Lentil Chili

This is slightly adapted from Mark Bittman’s bean and vegetable chili recipe.  I liked his idea of trying different combinations of beans, as well as lentils, which I incorporated here.  The lentils make for a more interesting texture and add a meaty quality to the dish.  I also like a lot of heat in my chili, so I increased the number of chilis from 1 to 3, and I added a half-cup of ancho chili powder, for a smokey flavor.  Finally, whenever I use canned tomatoes, I add a little honey to counteract the tiny taste of the tomatoes.

This is more work than the Moosewood chili, but it’s well worth the effort — and it will be different from any other chili you’ve had!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt ( to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper ( to taste)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced (to taste)
  • 2 small eggplants, cubed
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 dried chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cups canned kidney beans
  • 1 15-ounce can of lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock ( adjust as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, for garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic; cook for about a minute. Add the vegetables; cook for 10 minutes or until they start to caramelize and dry out.
  2. Add the seasonings and stir, then add the tomatoes and beans, along with enough vegetable stock to submerge everything. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook about 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Yield: 6 servings