Buh-bye, basic beans! Give cold weather food a makeover with unorthodox—but incredible—chili recipes featuring turkey, pumpkin, and even chocolate
How to Make Chili 15 Fantastic Ways
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Everybody has that go-to chili recipe they whip out every winter, usually right after they've cleaned off their crock-pot. And though that traditional bowl surely hits the spot on a chilly evening (no pun intended), it's really nothing new. That's why we've decided to mix it up with 15 unorthodox methods for making chili that are sure to blow your fuzzy socks off. From white chicken to butternut squash chipotle, turkey to tofu, the ingredients in these tasty recipes will spice up every Sunday football and snowy evening. Plus, with vegan, vegetarian, paleo, and gluten-free options, even the pickiest eaters can partake. (Love your crockpot? Get more use out of it with these Savory Slow Cooker Recipes.)
Crockpot Carne Asada Beer Chili
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What do you get when you cross a steak taco with a bowl of chili? A fit-for-a-king crockpot chili from Half Baked Harvest that's well worth the six hours it takes to cook and simmer. Despite the name, you'll only taste a hint of beer—the recipe contains tons of other delicious ingredients you'd never guess at, such as apple butter and cacao powder. (You can get more use out of your crock pot with one of these 15 Savory Crock Pot Recipes.)
Photo: Half Baked Harvest
Buffalo Chickpea and Bulgur Chili
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For your next Sunday football gathering, skip the fattening, messy wings in favor of a buffalo flavored chili recipe from Naturally Ella. Buffalo sauce and blue cheese make this a vegetarian comfort food dish all your guests will enjoy.
Photo: Naturally Ella
Super Healthy Pumpkin Turkey Chili
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There are so many hidden vegetables in this pumpkin-based turkey chili from Jeanette's Healthy Living and, according to the blogger chef, "no one will ever know" thanks to the healthy, flavorful sauce made with chipotle, oregano, and tomatoes. (Want even more pumpkin? Heere are Pumpkin Spice Foods and Drinks You Can Feel Good About Eating.)
Photo: Jeanette's Healthy Living
Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
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Smoky and savory, this black bean sweet potato chili recipe from What's Gaby Cooking revolves around the fall's prized superfood—the sweet potato—and features quinoa, tomatoes, cumin, and other nutritious ingredients that make it a naturally guilt-free dish. With straightforward instructions, you'll learn how to make chili in a cinch.
Photo: What's Gaby Cooking
Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork Chili with Cornbread Dumplings
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Serious Eats knows how to make chili! If the tender pork shoulder, rich, layered sauce, and buttery beans weren't mouthwatering enough, Morgan Eisenberg tops this savory slow-cooker chili with moist cornbread dumplings for a tasty and utterly unique recipe you'll forget was modeled off traditional stew.
Photo: Serious Eats
One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
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Combine two of the best comfort foods into a stellar creation that's sure to satisfy everyone at your dinner table. The aptly-named Damn Delicious blog makes this chili dish easy to prepare in only 30 minutes. Consider it your secret weapon for stressful days when you're craving something delicious but too tired and hungry to spend eternity over the stove.
Photo: Damn Delicious
Tequila and Lime Turkey Chili
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This recipe sounds like something you'd take out of a shotglass—and it's just as intoxicating. Seasoned with several types of chili powder, chipotle, honey, cilantro, and, yes, tequila, this chili recipe from Pixelated Crumb tastes great with tortilla chips (or a margarita!) (Make one of these 10 Skinny Margaritas for Guilt-Free Sipping.).
Photo: Pixelated Crumb
Creamy White Chicken Chili
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Consider this white chicken chili from Serious Eats traditional chili's creamier cousin. White beans, green chiles, tender chicken breasts, and grated cheese mingle into a cool weather stew that's a nice change from more tomato-based chili recipes.
Photo: Serious Eats
Triple Chocolate Beef and Bean Chili
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Soup is obviously a warming food, but so is chocolate. Cacao, semisweet chocolate, and chocolate stout beer add sweetness and depth to this rich beef chili from Saveur for an ideal cool weather meal. (Chili isn't the only savory chocolate dish, you can Eat Chocolate at Every Meal with 6 Healthy Recipes.)
Photo: Yossy Arefi
Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado
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Vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free eaters alike will love this butternut squash chili recipe from Cookie and Kate. The blog even gives instructions for thinning out the dish for those who want a less hearty meal.
Photo: Cookie and Kate
Queso Crockpot Chicken Chili with Roasted Corn and Jalapeño
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Eaten alone or as a dip, this creative queso chicken chili recipe from Pinch of Yum is "Tex-Mex à la crockpot." So if you love cheese, southwest and Mexican cuisine, consider this chili your new go-to comfort food.
Photo: Pinch of Yum
Southwest Chicken Chili
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Adding corn for texture and jalapeño for zest, Laura McNamara of Simply Scratch turns her favorite store-bought stew into chicken chili with a kick. Sprinkle on some cheese, sour cream, and/or tortilla chips to up that southwestern flair.
Photo: Simply Scratch
Spicy Tofu Chili
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Because meat-eaters shouldn't be the only ones who get to enjoy chili during football Sundays, Tiny Green Mom concocted this spicy tofu chili for vegetarians. When cooked according to the instructions, the tofu takes on a meaty texture that any hungry football fan will appreciate. (Give tofu a chance with these 6 New Ways to Eat Tofu.)
Photo: Tiny Green Mom
Slow Cooked Hatch Pepper Chili
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Broiled New Mexican chiles make The View from Great Island's slow cooked pepper chili different from typical jalapeño-based recipes. But Hatch chiles can be hard to find, making this dish extra special.
Photo: The View from Great Island
Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili
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Deeming this "The Best Turkey Chili Recipe You'll Ever Taste," Kelly of Eat Yourself Skinny proves that even hearty dishes can be slimming when prepared a certain way. One cup of this sweet and spicy stew clocks in at 264 calories with a heaping 40 grams of protein!
Photo: Eat Yourself Skinny