Cincinnati Chili with Kale, Corn and Peas

Is there such a thing as having too many options?  You bet. While the kids often give their input as to what I make for them during the week, Sunday’s dinner is 100% their choice. But then what happens when you have three kids, each in the mood for something different? As much as I love them, making 3 separate dinners is completely out of the question. 

And then comes Cincinnati Chili, a meal to satisfy every type of hunger. Kid #1 requesting chili (the spicier, the better), kid #2 requesting pasta with sauce and kid #3 requesting meatballs. Winner, winner, chili dinner!

Here, the chili can be as versatile as you want it to be! Ground beef, ground chicken or turkey work really well. Vegetarian? No problem, add soy “beef” crumbles… or skip the meat component completely! In this version, I’ve sauteed bite size pieces of kale and added corn and peas. Add beans and you’re all set!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If Cincinnati Chili is your most favorite food in the world and it doesn’t look like my recipe, Please don’t crucify me for bastardizing it! We can all get along 🙂

Cincinnati Chili with Kale, Corn and Peas

Cincinnati Chili with Kale, Corn and Peas

Makes 8 portions


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced

1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey, chicken, soy crumbles)
10 ounce bag of fresh kale, cut into small pieces, thick stems removed
2 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes, Tuttoroso or similar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder (add more if you prefer spiciness!)
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 15 ounce cans of beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup hot water (optional)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of spaghetti (or GF pasta), cooked and drained
Shredded Cheese


1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed large pot on medium heat.

2. Add onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes.
3. Add kale and saute until it has completely wilted about 6 minutes.
4. Add beef, saute until no traces of pink remain.
4a. Optional: Transfer to a colander to drain. Wipe out the pan and return it to medium heat. 
5. Return the ground beef to the pan.
6. Add tomatoes and dried seasonings to pot. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a simmer.
7. Add corn, peas and beans to pot and mix.
8. Optional: Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of hot water if the chili is too thick for you preference.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Turn down heat to low and cook for at least 15 to 20 minutes. If cooking for longer, up to 2 hours, cover pot with tight fitting lid.
11. Divide pasta among bowls and top with chili and some shredded cheese.

Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!


One thought on “Cincinnati Chili with Kale, Corn and Peas

  1. Senka I

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