Chili loaded with vegetables in honor of Lenexa Chili Challenge

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The 28th Annual Lenexa Chili Challenge takes place the weekend of Oct. 17–18 in Old Town Lenexa. Nearly 200 teams will compete for the top prize in several categories of chili, salsa and hot wings. The free, family-friendly event features lots of food samples, live performances, fireworks and kids’ activities.


3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 lb ground beef or turkey (preferably organic)
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 portobello mushrooms, stemmed and chopped (or 6 chopped baby portobellos)
3 medium carrots, diced (=2 cups chopped carrots)
2 14-ounce cans no-salt-added pinto beans, drained
1 14-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
2 ½ cups water
1 ¾ tsp Himalayan or sea salt
½ tsp black pepper, or to-taste
Optional additions: frozen or fresh vegetables
Optional spices: crushed red pepper (if spice desired); cinnamon (if sweetness desired)

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion.
2. Add ground beef, cook until nearly browned (add a little salt at this point)
3. Add carrots, cook until they are a little soft (~10 min)
4. Add the mushrooms, chili powder, cumin, and salt and stir occasionally, until mushrooms are just tender (~3 min)
5. Add beans, tomatoes, 2 ½ cups water
6. Bring to a boil then stir and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and the chili thickens, about 20 minutes.
7. Adjust spices as needed


Leftover chili
Bell peppers (any color)

*If your chili recipe is thin with more liquid, you can add some cooked quiona or rice in the pepper to absorb some of the moisture. Alternatively you could add some chopped raw veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms) to absorb liquid.

*Optional toppings for the stuffed peppers include: plain greek yogurt, cheese (preferably organic), shredded cabbage, or your preference.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and scoop out the inside.
3. Fill each pepper with chili (so it is almost full)
4. *Optional add other veggies or quinoa at this point
5. Place filled peppers on pan or in baking dish
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pepper is slightly crispy



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