Chili is one of those comfort food faves that bears so many interpretations, textures, and flavors. I personally love using something like chili as a vehicle for packing in loads of veg. This version is not pumpkin-y in flavor, but rather the pumpkin adds a nice extra kick of nutrients and some thickness. Since this is a bean-free chili, I love the texture the veggies add for that palate-pleasing variety. All the delectable flavors you know and love in a good chili, none of the flatulent counterparts! The great thing about chili is that it’s easy to customize. You can swap the sweet potato for squash, use whatever variety of meat you’d like, and top with your favorite chili accouterments!
(Another undeniable fact about chili: it is not very photogenic. May these photos inspire you anyway! ;)
Paleo Pumpkin Chili
(GF, DF, Bean-free, Corn-free)
2 lbs ground beef, pork, or my personal favorite, Power Burger
6 slices uncured, nitrate-free bacon
10 cloves garlic (approx. 2-3 Tbs finely chopped)
3 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (or sub 3 cups cubed butternut squash)
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
26 oz box diced tomato (or two 13 oz boxes. These come in varying sizes, but I prefer the boxed vs canned option to avoid BPA exposure)
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1 tsp pumpkin spice
2 tsp smoked sea salt (may use more or less depending on your flavor preference)
1 Tbs salt-free chili powder blend (you can also make your own by combining red chili pepper, garlic powder, cumin, allspice, and oregano)
cracked black pepper, to taste
optional: 1-2 cups bone broth if you want a thinner chili
In a large stock pot or dutch oven set over medium heat, cook your bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside.
To your bacon grease, add your diced onion, sauteing until translucent. Add garlic and stir.
Add your pumpkin spice, smoked salt, cumin, cracked pepper, and chili powder. Stir to combine. This helps “bloom” your spices and adds extra depth of flavor. Add your pumpkin puree.
Toss in your ground meat, breaking up into chunks. Saute until mostly cooked through (this will continue to cook as the chili simmers)
Toss in your cubed sweet potato or squash and carrots and stir to combine. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until just beginning to soften.
Add diced tomato and coconut aminos, stirring well to combine. At this point you can decide if you want a thicker or thinner chili, and add bone broth accordingly.
Place a lid on your pot, reduce heat to medium low (2-3 heat setting) and let simmer for about 30 min. You can taste along the way and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Remove from heat or set on low to keep warm, and serve with chopped bacon and your choice of crackers, tortilla chips, fresh herbs, or a dollop of this incredibly tasty coconut yogurt. The flavors continue to build the longer this sits, so it’s a great dish to make the day before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze and thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating and serving. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this flavor and nutrient-packed chili! It’s great for parties or just for having a batch to freeze for the future. Either way, it has all of those warm chili flavors that you know and love, but free of some of the more gut-irritating ingredients of your standard chili. May it warm and nourish you from the inside out!
In loving health,
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