cincinnati chili with parmesan spaghetti squash

A healthy California twist on a midwestern favorite!



Roast the spaghetti squash:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Prepare the spaghetti squash by rinsing and drying the outside of the vegetable. Use a sharp knife to cut off the bottom of the squash, to create a flat side for easy chopping.
    1. If the spaghetti squash is too thick to cut, use a small sharp knife to pierce some holes on top of the squash and microwave the vegetable whole for 3-5 minutes. This should soften the squash enough to slice in half with ease.
  3. Rest the flat side of the squash on a cutting board, and carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise.
  4. Brush the cut sides of the spaghetti squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the spaghetti squash on the baking sheet (cut side down) and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a fork easily pierces through the skin of the spaghetti squash. The fork should slide out easily.   
  6. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool until it’s easy to handle. Use a fork to shred as much of the squash as possible. Discard the shells and transfer the strands to a large bowl.
  7. While the strands are still hot, add the parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste.



  1. While the squash roasts, prepare the chili.
  2. In a dutch oven or large heavy bottom pot, heat the oil over medium high heat until shimmering but not yet smoking. Add the onion plus ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the onions are translucent and starting to brown, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the ground beef, increase the heat to high, and cook as you break up the meat with a wooden spoon until the meat is fully cooked and browned, about 10-12 minutes. Allow the beef to simmer over medium high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add 1 tsp salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, cocoa powder, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne pepper to the meat and stir to distribute evenly. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, vinegar, and black pepper.
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium low. Allow the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes while the spaghetti squash continues to roast.
    1. If the sauce is getting too thick or starting to burn, add ¼ cup to ½ cup water and stir to loosen up the sauce.
  7. Divide the spaghetti squash strands into bowls, top with chili, and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and scallions.