Cincinnati Chili Over Spaghetti Squash 4.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Nourish Feb 10, 2017

Here, lean ground beef (or turkey) is cooked with tomatoes and a medley of warm, fragrant spices to achieve an almost-melted texture and deep, mole-like savory-sweet flavor. Served over ribbons of spaghetti squash (instead of the more traditional spaghetti) and topped with beans, onions and shredded cheese, it’s a healthful take on a comfort-food classic.

Make Ahead: The chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings; makes about 6 cups

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey (90 to 93 percent lean)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural (not Dutch-process) cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons sweet or mild paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • One 28-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, plus their juices
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
  • 1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained (from one 14-ounce can), for garnish
  • 1/4 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, for garnish


Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper and beef or turkey and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with the spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic.

Whisk together the chili powder, cocoa powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and cloves in a small bowl, then add to the pot; cook for 1 minute, stirring, until fragrant. Add the bay leaf, the tomatoes and their juices, the water and molasses, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds (reserve for another use or discard, as you wish). To cook the squash in the microwave, place one half, cut side down, in a microwave-safe baking dish with about a half-inch of water; microwave on HIGH for 5 to 7 minutes, until the squash is tender. Repeat with the other half of the squash.

(Alternatively, you can roast the squash halves in a 400-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes, cut sides down, in a baking dish with about a half-inch of water in the dish, until tender.)

Transfer the cooked squash to a cutting board and allow it to cool slightly, then use a fork to scrape out the squash flesh into spaghetti-like ribbons. Transfer to a bowl, draining off any excess liquid, and cover to keep warm.

When ready to serve, discard the bay leaf from the chili. Taste, and add a bit more salt, as needed. Place the squash in a serving dish or divide among individual bowls or mugs. Ladle the chili over the squash. Garnish with the kidney beans, cheese and red onion.

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Recipe Source

From Nourish columnist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Diana Maxwell.

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