Friday, December 6, 2013

80--- Quinoa Chili Verde with Bacon

Following a flexitarian diet means consuming MOSTLY plants and plant-based foods.  However, there is the occasional place for a small amount of animal product.  Which I think is important.  The all-or-nothing approach is the demise of many people's healthy lifestyle attempts.  And it leaves room for a bit of fantastic smokey flavor from bacon.  Opt for the nitrate-free stuff.

The quinoa in this chili adds great texture and actually thickens it a bit.  In a great stick-to-your-ribs sort of way.  Perfect for a chilly day.  Like the ones we have ALL been having lately.

*Note: here in my neck of the woods it has not reached over 0 (that would be ZERO) degrees in THREE DAYS.  Everyone has their struggles.  This is mine.

Quinoa Chili Verde with Bacon
Serves 8

1/2 lb lean nitrate-free bacon, chopped
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 anaheim chile, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 tsp minced garlic
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2- 4 oz cans diced green chiles
16 oz green salsa of your choice
8 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add bacon and saute until crisp.  Add onions, garlic and peppers and saute until softened, 3-4 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients, except for cilantro, and heat on medium-high to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 30 minutes, or until quinoa and vegetables are cooked through.  Stir in cilantro and serve immediately.

Nutrition Info per 1 1/4 cups: 294 calories, 6 g fat, 20 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber


  1. It's a blizzard outside my house tonight, so chili it is! Also, a bigger concern than nitrates/nitrites is the health of the pig. Get meat from a local butcher or small farm, or bacon labeled as organic, non GMO fed, etc. The "nitrate free" stuff still has nitrates! It's more a marketing ploy than a health concern. Celery actually has WAY more nitrites than bacon. As does arugula, lettuce, beets, and many more. The reason to make bacon a "sometimes" food is because of it's high fat and salt content, not the nitrites. Here's a great article:

    1. Thanks Leah! I agree that nitrates occur naturally in our food, however with processed meats they mean extra processing. Therefore, looking for less processing often means less nitrates (even though they are not directly what causes the food to be "bad"). Great article!