RECIPES Vegetable Chili with Cheese Topping

At the age of 19, I made a choice not to eat any poultry, pork or red meat, which cut down on many of the foods I grew up eating. Although I slipped and had lasagna or a burger in my 20s, now I am a pescatarian, meaning I only eat fish or seafood and every vegetable under the sun. Over the years, I’ve had to search for my favorite meals in vegetarian form, and I found the best vegetable chili about ten years ago, and it has become a ‘go to’ meal on cold, winter days.


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped zucchini (1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow squash (1 medium)
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot (1 large)
  • 2 TBL chopped green onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-oz. cans hot-style chili beans in chili sauce
  • 2 14.5-oz. cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup catsup
  • 1 TBL unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp bottled hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 of an 8-oz. tub cream cheese with chives and onion
  • 2 TBL milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (4 cheese Mexican)

Spray a large saucepan with a non-stick cooking spray. Cook zucchini, squash, carrot, green onion and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add undrained chili beans, undrained tomatoes, catsup, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce and oregano. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes or till of desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together flavored cream cheese and milk till smooth. Stir in shredded cheese. Boil thin spaghetti noodles and cook per directions.

Place noodles in a bowl, ladle chili over noodles. Spoon a little cream cheese mixture onto each serving and sprinkle additional shredded cheese on top. Serve with corn muffins. Makes 6 servings.