• 2 lbs. extra lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 6 cups zucchini, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2- 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1- 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2- 15 oz. cans kidney beans
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1½ tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Beer or water
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped.

I will most likely be remembered for being the zucchini queen.  It is a title I never aspired to, but it could be worse I suppose.  When I put together my cookbook, “The Zucchini Houdini”, it was done tongue in cheek and never really expected to get out to anyone but my family and friends.  I’m thrilled that is has now reached people all over the country.  The recipes all include zucchini, but it is not a vegetarian or even a health food type cookbook.  Zucchini is inherently healthy, but the recipes in my cookbook were developed to be delicious- period, which often means decadent.  One of the recipes that is popular in the book, has recently been featured in SHAPE magazine.  So, yes, this one is healthy.  However, it is also hearty, savory, and satisfying.  It is my Zucchini Chili and it is the perfect dish for a cold, winter’s night.

It combines all the ingredients you would expect in traditional chili, but with the fresh and tasty flavors of a fall harvest.  You can spice it up or down depending on your family’s tastes.  The Zucchini Queen gives this her royal seal of approval!

Brown ground beef and drain.  Set aside.  In a Dutch oven sauté onions, zucchini and garlic in oil until tender.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and spices.  Add water or beer to bring to desired consistency.  Simmer 1 hour.  Serve with chopped cilantro on top.