Try these Wellness USF Chili Cook Off Recipes!

USF’s Office of Veterans Services held its 4th Annual Chili Cook Off on November 6, as part of its celebration of Veterans Day. Dr. Larry Braue, director of Veterans Services, and Tony Rivera, assistant director of Veteran Services, began this event in 2010 as a way to bring the competitive elements of the military to the campus, as well as, celebrate and show support to USF’s student veterans. USF is the 4th most veteran friendly college in the country, and hundreds of vets, students, and staff enjoy this event every year. Wellness USF showed support by proudly presenting three different chili recipes!

Check out these recipes for the Counseling Center’s “Good News” Chili and Student Health Services “GYT” Gluten-free Yeast-free Turkey Chili.

Want to know what you’re eating? Here are the healthiest ingredients in these recipes!

Dark Chocolate:  Eat dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate whenever possible. The antioxidants in cacao improve circulation, brain function, and memory and help lower blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, and stress. Like all sweets, dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation, but a small serving a day has many mental and physical health benefits.


Black Beans: These common beans are great for your digestive health because they’re rich in fiber and protein. Fiber also helps lower blood pressure and prevents blood sugar from rising too rapidly. They’re also high in folate, which is an essential vitamin for the development and health of the nervous system.

Tomato: Tomatoes are a major source of an antioxidant called lycopene, which has been proven to provide long-term protection against UV-radiation. Lutein is another antioxidant found in tomatoes that helps protect muscle tissue in the eyes. IMG_5740

Chili Powder: This spice contains is high in vitamin A, which is essential for eye health and benefits bone, teeth, and skin health.

Turkey: Turkey is high in protein and low in saturated fats, so it is a great alternative to red meat. Additionally, high levels of vitamin B6 and tryptophan mean that turkey meat boosts energy production and strengthens the immune system. Grass-fed, skinless, and white meat turkey offers the most benefits because it is free of antibiotics, hormones, and high-fat dark meat. Turkeys are actually fantastic birds, so whether you’re making this dish vegetarian or not, check out these terrific turkey facts!

“Good News” Chili:

            Justify chocolate for dinner with this Mexican-inspired, vegetarian chocolate chili recipe. Chocolate chili may sound weird, but the chocolate gives a rich, earthy flavor rather than a sweet flavor. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, this chili recipe should be a go-to. The heat from the chili powder adds flavor but is balanced out perfectly by the chocolate[LS1] . If you do like spicy, add more chili powder or cayenne pepper.


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 cups chopped ripe tomato
  • ½ cup chopped Mexican chocolate or ¼ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 3‐inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 pound dried black beans, washed, picked over, and soaked, if you like
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Dash of cracked red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Put the oil in a large pot with a tight‐fitting lid over medium‐high heat.
  2. When hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in the tomato, chocolate, brown sugar, cinnamon, and beans and add water to cover.
  4. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat so the chili bubbles steadily but not violently.
  5. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are beginning to soften, 30 to 40 minutes. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper, plus the chili powder, paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes..
  6. Continue cooking until the beans are tender, anywhere from another 45 minutes to 1½ hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more brown sugar, salt, or pepper.
  7. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator. For added flavor, serve with cilantro and corn chips.


 “GYT” Gluten-free Yeast-free Turkey Chili 

As a vegetarian, I cannot boast the deliciousness of this recipe from personal experience. However, tons of people at the Chili Cook-off told me it was the most delicious, unique, and healthiest recipe. The spice level is just right, and this dish is rich in nutrient-dense and heart-healthy foods. If you are vegetarian, make the dish without turkey or with a vegetarian substitute and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Try this recipe as a delicious Thanksgiving appetizer or a healthy comfort food before finals!


  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled, diced
  • 2-4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 smaller sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Hot red pepper flakes, season to taste
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted green chiles or tomatillo salsa verde
  • 2 15-oz cans organic cannellini white beans
  • 2 cups light organic chicken broth
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice


  1. Brown and drain turkey.
  2. In large pot, drizzle olive oil, add onions and sauté until golden.
  1.  Add garlic, sweet potatoes, chilies, and seasonings. Stir to coat, and sauté for about five minutes.
  2. Add turkey, broth and beans. Let cook until hot, reduce heat and let simmer until warm.
  3. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the

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