Chili Challenge | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published March 1, 2012 at 4:00 a.m.
Updated April 4, 2022 at 7:31 p.m.

My 4-year-old daughter has sensitivities to gluten, eggs and sugar, so putting a family meal together often feels like an Iron Chef challenge. When I find a winner, like this chili, it goes into the regular menu rotation, especially during these cold months. It's full of protein, and you'd never know the cornbread is gluten, egg and sugarfree.

I've played around with the recipe, changed up the spice measurements, used poblano peppers or ground beef. Below is the most popular variation in our house, but there are many others. If you're not trying to control your ingredients for food-sensitivity purposes, a prepackaged chili spice mix saves time.

I have yet to master my own baking mix for the corn bread. I use a packaged gluten-free mix that includes xanthum gum, such as Bob's Red Mill or Pamela's. Bisquick also makes a gluten-free baking mix, but it contains sugar.


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (can also be puréed in food processor or hand mashed)
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained
  • 15 oz. can dark-red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • - teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded cheese (topping)
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (topping)

Corn bread

  • 1 tablespoon milled flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • - cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • 1- cup gluten-free baking mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • - teaspoon salt

Making the chili

  1. Brown ground turkey in large pot and drain off the excess fat.
  2. Add the green pepper, onion and garlic to the turkey and cook about two more minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the chili ingredients, except the toppings, and stir to mix thoroughly.
  4. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve topped with shredded cheese and cilantro.

Making the corn bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8-inch-square, 2-inch- deep baking pan.
  3. In a medium-size bowl, mix together the milled flaxseed and water.
  4. Add the oil and honey and stir until the honey is incorporated.
  5. Add the rest of the cornbread ingredients and mix well.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 22-25 minutes.
  7. Remove corn bread from the pan and allow it to rest for a couple minutes before cutting.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.