Quick Chili Facelift For Summer

Brooke Newberry
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Afraid of that cherished chili getting too hot and heavy for the weather?  Don’t be.  Make that family gem of a recipe year round.  Just because it’s hot out doesn’t mean it’s time to cabinet your crock-pot – in fact, quite the opposite.  Summer’s informality is perfect for spontaneous, hodge-podge dishes.  Make use of leftover garden veggies: throw them into the pot for a set-and-forget chili dinner.  There are plenty of tricks and recipes to brighten up chili.

Give Chili a Lift:

  • Add plenty of chopped fresh herbs to servings
  • Top bowls with diced avocado
  • Dab sour cream or Greek yogurt onto steaming bowls
  • Stir in candied lemon rinds
  • Quick squeeze of lime over top


See below for a warm weather-inspired chili recipe – don’t forget the garnishes!

Summer Chili

Serves 4

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 poblano chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped

Top with two (or more, if desired) of the below:

  • Sour cream
  • Avocado slices
  • Orange wedges
  • Chopped Cilantro


Heat oil in large pot over medium. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add ginger, chili powder and cumin. Stir another minute.

Add sweet potatoes, orange juice and garlic.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer until sweet potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir beans, poblano chilies, bell pepper, and zucchini into the sweet potato mixture.  Cover and simmer until chilies are tender, about 15 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide among 4 bowls.

Garnish with topping of choice.

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