Tackling the Tailgate: Spice Up this Football Season with a Recipe that Won’t Weigh You Down

Last Updated: Thursday, 18-Oct-2012 04:00:00 EDT

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— Tailgating season is here, which means lots of football, friends and food. While most tailgating recipes rank high for flavor, they score low for cholesterol health—which is a problem because high cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, the National Lipid Association (NLA) wants to arm you with cholesterol-friendly recipe ideas to tackle the tailgate without sacrificing taste.

Using ingredients like cayenne and red pepper flakes for a crowd-pleasing kick, this Squashy Chili recipe provided by Alicia Joann Kroat, RD, LDN, co-worker of Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, a dietary expert and past president of the NLA, is sure to help you score big on game day. “This recipe is full of flavor and very savory,” Dr. Kris-Etherton shared. “This is just one of thousands of recipes available that has both great taste and is cholesterol-friendly.”

Roasted red peppers will give your game day hummus the kick that it needs to please any crowd.  Store bought roasted peppers are great, but if you’re feeling more adventurous try making them at home.  Cooking bell peppers for about 30 minutes on a foil lined pan at a high temperature 425 degrees will make the skins pop.  Remove peppers from oven and place them in a plastic bag to sweat until the skin becomes loose and can be easily removed.  Remove the skin, stem and seeds before chopping and store in the freezer to use on game day or anytime.

For more information about cholesterol and how you can improve your cholesterol levels, go to http://www.learnyourlipids.com.

Squashy Chili

  • 2 Tsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cups diced butternut squash
  • 2-4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional - for spicy)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (optional - for spicy)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 (16 oz.) can low sodium dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 (16 oz.) can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes including the juice
  • 2 small or 1 large zucchini, diced

“Extras” to add:

  • 2 Tbsp plain low- or nonfat yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 lemon, for squeezing


1. Add olive oil to large pot on the stove. Add onion, garlic, butternut squash, chili powder, oregano and cumin (and red pepper flakes and cayenne). Cook on low heat until the onion is very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir from time to time. If it looks dry, add the water.

2. Add the beans and tomatoes; cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

3. Add the zucchini and cook uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Easy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 15oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/3 c. tahini
  • 1/3 c. lemon juice
  • ½ c. roasted red peppers
  • ¼ tsp. dried basil


In an electric food processor, combine garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add roasted peppers and basil; process until the peppers are finely chopped. Transfer hummus to small bowl, cover and chill until you are ready to serve.