This Healthy Cincinnati Chili is a quick, easy, full-of-flavor kid-friendly dinner! It's so delicious over zoodles or pasta plus it includes 21 Day Fix container counts AND Weight Watchers Freestyle Points!
Hey guys! I'm so pumped to share this one with you today! Did you know that I used to live in Cincinnati? I'm actually from North Eastern Ohio, but the fam and I lived in Cincy for two years and we really loved it there. We lived pretty close to downtown and it's my very favorite downtown area anywhere. So much amazing food there, too! Ya know... like this awesome chili perhaps?
Anyway, this recipe is SO easy and it's a real kid pleaser, too! Chili and pasta and cheese are basically what my little kid dreams were made of. I mean, there were probably some cupcakes in there too, but you get me.
So if you've never been to Cincinnati, you might be wondering...
What is Cincinnati Chili?
Cincinnati Chili is a crazy-good blend of your usual chili suspects (minus the beans!) plus a little vinegar to give it it's signature tang and some tasty spices, including cinnamon. If you've ever made my Chipotle Pumpkin Turkey Chili, you'll know how freaking delicious a little cinnamon in your chili can be. Anyway, it's either served by itself, over pasta, or on a hot dog. SO so good.
This is a 4-Way, btw. Um, excuse me?! Why I do declare! (← I hope you read that in your best Southern belle voice) Get your head out of the gutter, my friend! A 4-way is What Cincinnatians call pasta + chili + onions + cheese. You can also have a 3-Way if you leave off the onions, or a 5-Way if you add on some kidney beans. Or a 6 Way if you add in a stripper named Jeff.
The Cheese is special.
So the cheese. In Cincinnati you can buy Skyline Chili brand cheese at the grocery store. Skyline Chili, btw, is probably the most famous of all of the Cincinnati chili establishments. Theirs is the chili that I based this off of. They're serious about their cheese. It must be the finest, laciest cheese possible. There's just something about that texture that puts this whole thing over the top. I like to make my own by grating sharp cheddar on the small side of my box grater. You can also by the fancy shredded cheese at the grocery store. If you must. 😉
Zoodles or Pasta?
I'm about to say something highly controversial. They're both absolutely delicious, BUT. I think you should eat this with zoodles*. And not just because it's the healthier choice or because it will save you a yellow if you're doing 21 Day Fix (or points for WW), but because I'm pretty sure eating this with zoodles was the best way I've ever eaten zoodles EVER. And I love zoodles, you guys.
Plus you get the bonus of all of that yellow-saving, better-for-you stuff I just mentioned. 🙂
Anyway, I really hope you guys love this one. It's such a great, easy, kid-friendly comfort food recipe!
P.S. - Looking for some other fab chili recipes? I got you!
- Roasted Vegetable Chicken Chili with Avocado
- Spicy Sweet Potato Chili (Instant Pot) from My Crazy Good Life
- Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili (Instant Pot) from Carrie Elle
- Buffalo Chicken Chili (Instant Pot) from Confessions of a Fit Foodie
*Click here for my affiliate link to my favorite zoodle-making contraption!
If you make this Healthy Cincinnati Chili recipe be sure to snap a pic and tag me @thefoodieandthefix or use #thefoodieandthefix on Instagram so I can check it out! I love watching your IG stories! It makes me ridiculously happy to see what you guys are making 🙂
How to make Healthy Cincinnati Chili at home:
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 cup chopped white onion (chop extra for serving!)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 (15 oz can) diced tomatoes, no salt added (undrained)
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups water
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- black pepper
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
- 4 cups of zucchini noodles* (zucchini turned into noodles using a spiralizer) OR
- Between 2 and 4 cups of cooked whole wheat or gluten free brown rice spaghetti (2 cups if you want each serving to use 1 yellow, 4 cups gives each serving 2 yellows).
- chopped onions
- 1 ⅓ cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (shredded on the small side of the grater as shown in photo)
- Spray a medium-sized skillet with the cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Add 1 cup of the chopped onions and cook for several minutes or until they start to soften and become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.
- Stir in the remaining chili ingredients, breaking up the ground beef with a spatula until it's well crumbled. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or so, until thickened some - you don't want it too thick, there needs to be enough "sauce" to coat the pasta.
- To serve: add your pasta or zoodles* to a bowl, then top with the chili, onions and grated cheese. Enjoy!
*When serving with zoodles, I like to saute them in a pan for just a minute or two until the warm up and soften very slightly. Longer than that and they can get watery. You can even serve them raw, delish either way!
21 Day Fix Container Counts per Serving: with zoodles as the base: 1 ½ Green, 1 Red, 1 Blue; with ½ pasta: ½ Green, 1 Red, 1 Yellow, 1 Blue (2 yellows per serving if each serving has 1 cup of pasta)
Weight Watchers Freestyle Points: with zoodles as the base: 10 points; with ½ cup of pasta: 13 points; with 1 cup of pasta: 15 points
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 cup of zoodles (or ½ or 1 cup of pasta), 1 cup of chili, as many chopped onions as you like and ⅓ cup of shredded cheese
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372Total Fat: 19g
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