This Is the Protein-Packed Chili Recipe That Peloton Instructor Jess King Makes To Fuel Her Winter Workouts

Photo: Stocksy/Cameron Whitman
The leaves have turned, temps have dropped dramatically, and leggings have completely replaced biker shorts. You know what that means: It's officially chili season. Chili truly is one of the most perfect cold-weather meals. It's super easy (everything cooks together in a big pot on the stove), full of flavor, and packs tons of nutrients.

It's one of Peloton instructor Jess King's go-to dinners after teaching heart-pumping classes. Anyone who's ever taken one of King's classes knows that you definitely end the workout hungry. After a workout, it's important to help the body recover with a meal that has protein, carbs, and fats. They're all nutrient bases a good chili definitely has covered—with the additional benefit of lots of fiber.

Experts In This Article
  • Jess King, Jess King is a Peloton instructor and the founder of Mindfull.
  • Sophia Urista, Sophia Urista is a musical artist and the lead singer in Brass Against.

Recently, King and her partner, musical artist Sophia Urista, teamed up with Colavita to use the brand's Italian products to make their favorite chili recipe—and they're sharing it here so everyone can get the goods. "We start our tradition of chili as soon as the weather gets brisk. It's a fall and winter staple in our home because it's so easy for much-needed grab-and-go meals during a busy week," Urista says. "This recipe is definitely a go-to of ours for busy fall days when we need to refuel and recover from the activities of the day," King adds.

The main reason the chili is so great for refueling is because it's made with kidney beans and beef, both of which are super high in protein. (And if you're a vegan or vegetarian, go ahead and replace the meat with plant-based crumbles, tofu, or more beans.) Besides those two core ingredients, here's what else they put into their high-protein chili: dried chilis, onion, cloves, olive oil, cumin, brown sugar, oregano, crushed tomatoes, apple side vinegar, salt, pepper, and beer. Yep, beer. "The beer has alpha acids and tannins that help break down fibers in meat, which makes the chili taste like it's been simmering for hours and hours. It also adds rich earthy flavors to soups and stews," Urista explains.

King says the key to making a delicious chili is using high-quality ingredients. She especially says she loves the bright and tangy taste of the crushed tomatoes in this chili. "Colavita Crushed Tomatoes ($12 for a four-pack) is as close as we can get to fresh ripened tomatoes this time of year," she says. Urista says that, for her, the key ingredients are the chilis—they incorporate ancho, guajillo, and pasilla chilis all into the recipe. "After all, what's chili without chilis?" she says.

high-protein chili recipe
Photo: Provided

There's one insider cooking tip King says people should keep in mind when following the recipe. "Slowly bring the extra-virgin olive oil back up to temperature while cooking the garlic and onions to maintain the integrity of the garlic," she says. Otherwise, you risk ruining the flavor of the garlic. Her other tip is to brown the meat on medium heat before bringing it to a simmer. "This gives the flavor more depth," she says.

Drooling yet? Get the recipe for the high-protein chili below. Make a big batch so you have it on hand to eat after your next workout; your whole body will thank you.

High protein chili recipe

Dried chilies: 4 large ancho chiles, 2 guajillo, 2 pasilla (you can substitute dried chilis based on availability)
2.5 lbs boneless beef chuck (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
2.5 lbs ground beef
2 boxes Colavita kidney beans
2 large yellow onions, chopped
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbsp Colavita extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp cumin
4 tsp dried oregano
1.5 boxes Colavita crushed tomatoes
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 12 oz. bottle lager beer
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, chopped red onion, lime wedges, cilantro, avocado, pickled jalapenos, corn nuts (or Fritos)

1. Remove seeds from ancho, guajillo, and pasilla chiles and place in a medium bowl. Pour in three cups boiling water and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap; let sit until chiles are softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer chiles and soaking liquid to a blender and blend on high until smooth, about one minute; set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Season beef chuck all over with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, cook, turning pieces once, until browned, about five minutes per side. Repeat for the ground beef. Do not break ground beef into small bits; brown in large chunks. Transfer to a plate.

3. Reduce heat to medium; add onions and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring often to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the pot until onions are translucent and very soft, six to eight minutes. Add cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, until spices start to stick to the pot, about one minute. Add crushed tomatoes and brown sugar and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen spices, then add lager beer. Bring to a bubbling simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beer is almost completely evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cut beef chuck into half-inch pieces, discarding any large bits of fat or gristle.

5. Add beef chuck, ground beef, reserved chile purée, kidney beans, and two cups water to pot; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, break up ground beef, reduce heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, until liquid is thickened and meat is very tender, one-and-a-half to two hours. Taste chili and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Divide chili among bowls and top as desired.

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