I love chili, and with the beautiful fall weather surrounding us, it’s a perfect time for it. 

This chili recipe uses three types of beans, which are full of nutrition. Beans have protein, antioxidants and fiber, plus are low in fat. Black beans are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants – the same antioxidants found in grapes and cranberries. Kidney beans have vitamin B12, which helps memory and brain function. Pinto beans are chock-full of fiber that helps stabilize blood sugar, lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes.  

Turkey Chili

1 pound ground turkey

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup organic vegetable broth (can add more if you prefer a thinner chili)

1 cup cooked red kidney beans

1 can black beans, drained

1 can pinto beans, drained

2 cups crushed tomatoes

2 bell peppers, chopped

2 small jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup zucchini, cut into chunks

Salt and pepper to taste

Additional seasoning to taste. For example , if you like the heat, add more crushed red pepper and cayenne powder. 

In a medium to large soup pot, add the ground turkey, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, half of the chopped onion, half of the chopped garlic, ground cumin, dried oregano, cayenne pepper powder and crushed red pepper flakes.

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until turkey is browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Slowly stir in the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes and beans. Stir and reduce heat to medium-low.

While above ingredients are cooking, melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large skillet and add the rest of the chopped onion, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper and zucchini. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until onions are transparent. Add to the large pot and simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve with corn bread (recipe below).

Whole Grain Corn Bread 

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal, preferably whole-grain 

3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour (can substitute all purpose flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can cream style corn

1 large egg

1/2 cup low-fat milk

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons honey or sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Pulse corn and egg in a food processor or blender until almost smooth. Add milk, oil and honey (or sugar); pulse until combined. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake the cornbread until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

• Chef Debi Stuckwisch is the owner of Meals Like Mom’s Personal Chef service in McHenry County. She can be reached at 847-778-9351 or mealslikemoms@comcast.net, or visit www.mealslikemom.com.