My family lives just outside of Washington, DC, and around here, we get very excited about Presidential Inaugurations.  It’s probably sort of like living near Hollywood during Oscar season or near Indianapolis during the last Super Bowl. Some people in the DC area attend Inaugural Balls, or have parties celebrating the inauguration.  The really brave and motivated ones bundle up and go downtown to witness the Procession and swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Unless you are a member of Congress or a VIP, attending the inauguration day festivities on January 21st means standing outside in the cold for many hours to try to get a spot to see the President’s and Vice President’s Procession from the White House to the Capitol for the Swearing-In.

The average temperature in Washington, DC in January is about 36 degrees, so after a few hours of standing outside, you are bound to have cold fingers and toes even if you wore a hat, gloves and a warm coat. When my husband Andrew and our son Solomon went to the Inauguration in 2009, they were chilled to the bone when they got home.

Even if you aren’t attending the 57th Presidential Inauguration on January 21st, I hope you will watch it on TV and witness the ritual that has remained pretty consistent for over 200 years. Afterwards, we can celebrate our democracy and warm up with some hot chocolate or a bowl of warm chili.

I picked a chili recipe for the inauguration post not only because it’s a healthy and warming winter meal, but also because President Obama loves chili. Also,  First Lady Michelle Obama has been a vocal advocate for families to eat healthier food, and this chili recipe has lots of healthy vegetables and half your daily needs for fiber.

The Obamas even have their own family chili recipe, which you can see here.

Because the inauguration falls on “Meatless Monday”, I am sharing a meatless chili recipe, however I don’t think the official inauguration luncheon will be meatless. But who knows, maybe it will someday if we have our first vegetarian president!

You can learn more about the history of presidential inaugurations here.

I also found a menu from the 2009 inauguration, so you can see what the new President had for lunch.

This vegetarian chili is sweet, chunky and just a little spicy.  If your kids won’t eat these foods mixed together, remove a couple of spoonfuls of the beans and corn and set some extra carrots aside for them (but encourage them to have a taste of the combined chili, too).

Recipe: Chili Non Carne

  • Total Time: 30 min(s)
  • Servings: 8, about 1 1/2 cups
  • Enjoy this warm, fiber-filled and nutritious vegetarian chili on a cold winter day or any time of the year.


      • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
      • 1 yellow onion, diced
      • 1 red bell pepper, diced
      • 1 cup baby carrots, diced (about 20 baby carrots), or use 4 large carrots
      • 15 oz. canned red kidney beans, with their liquid (preferably unsweetened)
      • 15 oz. canned black beans, with their liquid
      • 1 cup salsa
      • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
      • 1 Tbsp. chili powder, or more to taste
      • 1 ½ cups corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned, thawed if using frozen, drained if canned
      • 1 cup shredded Cheddar or mozzarella cheese, for serving (optional)
      • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, for serving (optional)


      In a large heavy saucepan or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and peppers and sauté them until the onions start to brown, about 5 minutes.
      Add the carrots, both types of beans, salsa, tomatoes and chili powder.  Bring it to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer it, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes, and up to 40 minutes, stirring it occasionally. About 10 minutes before serving, stir in the corn.

      Serve the chili in bowls alone (or over rice), topped with 1 – 2 Tbsp. of cheese and a dollop of the yogurt or sour cream, if desired. The chili can also be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

      Slow Cooker Directions: Prepare the recipe as directed above, sautéing the onions and peppers in a skillet. Then add the onions and peppers and the rest of the ingredients (carrots through corn) to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours on low for 6-8 hours.

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