I don’t know if it’s just an Ohio thing or if it extends to the rest of the midwest (or beyond?) but there is something known as the Cincinnati Chili 3-way. It’s chili, on top of spaghetti, smothered in shredded cheese. Lots of people find this appealing.
My boyfriend, K., was raised as a meat n’ potatoes kind of kid. Lots of hamburger helper, tuna casserole, etc. As he grew up he really expanded horizons and even before we met he was a much more open minded eater. He loves vegetables and will eat literally anything I cook for him (and will give me an honest review). Since there will never be a day that I’m grilling him a steak or making hamburgers (I truly wouldn’t even know how), I try to take a new spin on meals that are close to him.
There’s a restaurant chain known as Skyline Chili and there is one located a few doors down from his work. On days when he is without lunch or wants a little pick me up, he will head there and eat something that I can only imagine is not exactly healthy. While I’ll never try to turn K. into a vegetarian, I will try to keep him healthy.
Enter my healthified version of the Skyline 3-way.
For the spaghetti base, I substitute spaghetti squash. Nothing against pasta, it’s just not really my thing. I find this swap to be an easy way to cut back on the calories + carbs and add a few more nutrients. I think it would be just fine to use a whole wheat spaghetti though.
I roasted the squash whole (I pricked it all over with a knife) for about an hour at 400 degrees. I then cut it in half, removed the seeds and turned it into “pasta”.
My chili is this lentil chili. I have tried so many vegetarian chili recipes and this is my go to. It’s packed with quinoa and lentils. I made a few changes last night: I used a homemade hot chili oil to spice it up even more, left out the mushrooms (we are kind of mushroomed out lately), left out the bulgur and doubled the quinoa and added dark red kidney beans. The flavors were perfect.
Combine in a bowl and add fresh grated pepperjack cheese (or whatever kind you enjoy) on top.
A bit more cheese may have snuck on after this picture 😉
Who says comfort food can’t be healthy?