February 4, 2008

Healthy Meal: Vegetarian Chili and TGI Friday’s Spinach Artichoke Dip

I promised you full writeups of my healthy Superbowl recipes, so here you go! I didn’t end up making the chicken because I ran out of parmesan, and the chili and dip was filling enough that I didn’t need it anyway. I’ll make that recipe another time and review it.

Chili recipe notes:
I use just one tbsp of olive oil – it’s still enough. This time, I skipped the turkey and replaced it with textured vegetable protein (TVP) to make it vegetarian, but I’ve made it in the past with just turkey, and even with both turkey and TVP. I realized once I was already in the middle of making it that I forgot to get a beer, so I substituted champagne that I had on hand, which didn’t seem to make much difference. Other than that, I follow the recipe pretty closely.

Dip recipe notes:
I use fat-free mozzarella, Wegman’s fat-free parmesan grated topping, light mayonnaise (1/2 the amount it calls for), and fat-free sour cream (double the amount it calls for, to make up for the mayonnaise). You’d think it would come out bland with these substitutions, but it’s still totally full of flavor, and you’d never know it wasn’t full fat.

Nutrition facts:
140 calories for the spinach artichoke dip (recipe here)
30 calories for the red bell pepper for dipping
203 calories for the chili (recipe here)
33 calories for the toppings: cheese, sour cream, and cilantro

Review: 4.5/5
The spinach artichoke dip is so awesome – it’s super cheesy, but still not fattening. And at 140 calories for a nice sized bowl, it’s a lot better than any storebought dip. It’s very quick and easy to make, and has a ton of flavor. This is a great one to trick your friends into thinking you’re breaking your diet! I chose to be extra healthy and eat it with red peppers instead of chips, but chips taste great with it also.
The chili wasn’t so good with only TVP instead of turkey. It was a lot lower in calories than the last time I made it (203 calories vs 430 calories), but I think the turkey adds a lot of flavor that the TVP just doesn’t provide, as well as a better texture. And 430 calories really isn’t that bad considering how filling a bowl of chili is – it’s a meal in itself. I think in the future, I’ll make it with turkey but omit the TVP to cut down on calories. The original recipe is definitely fantastic, so skipping the TVP modification should put this back up to 5 stars.


1 thought on “Healthy Meal: Vegetarian Chili and TGI Friday’s Spinach Artichoke Dip”

  1. That sounds so yummy. I made a really fattening cheese dip – thinking the boys would eat it all. Well, take ONE guess who ended up chowing down the most….



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