Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fall Comfort Foods - Healthy Game Day Chili

This time of year, we're craving comfort foods, hearty soups and easy, filling weeknight meals. Keep warm as the weather turns cooler with easy fall recipes made with favorite fall ingredients—pumpkin, apples, squash and more. The classic comfort foods like soup, chili and slow cooker recipes chase away the autumn chill.

There’s nothing like a giant pot of chili and a football game to really see that Fall is here!

This is my easy go-to healthy game day chili recipe. If you've been reading my blog a while, I'm sure you've probably noticed that I rarely eat beef. In fact, I think this is the first recipe that I've ever posted that contains beef. However, grass-fed beef is a whole food and is a great source of omega-3’s, protein and iron, which is okay every now and then. This recipe is dairy-free, but you can always top the chili with organic sour cream or cheese. When using canned food, always look for organic cans with BPA-free linings. I don’t drain and rinse the tomatoes, you want those juices, but I always drain and rinse canned beans to remove excess sodium.

A Few Tips:

  • Always try to use organic ingredients. 
  • I only buy organic grass-fed beef because I really do think it makes a difference in your health.
  • You can actually make this a day or two ahead. Just let it cool completely and keep it in the refrigerator. If you make it in a dutch oven just put the lid on and place the whole thing in the fridge. Otherwise, store it in a large air-tight container. Reheat over medium low heat on the day you plan to serve.



1 pound organic grass-feed ground beef (omit for vegetarian chili)
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated or finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 bay leaf
2 cans organic tomato sauce
1 can organic diced tomatoes (or 2 large fresh tomatoes, diced)
2 cans organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can organic pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
Sea salt (about 2-3 teaspoons total for the whole pot)
Freshly ground course black pepper

Sliced avocado
Chopped cilantro
Finely diced red onion
A few organic corn tortilla chips (my favorite is Way Better Snack brand)


1. If using the beef, preheat a large dutch oven to high heat. Brown the meat for 2-3 minutes until slightly caramelized. Add a healthy pinch of sea salt and a sprinkle of black pepper and stir. Reduce the heat to medium. If making this chili vegan, skip to step 2.

2. Add the onion and carrot. Stir and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes. If not using meat, add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan first to sauté the onion & carrot. Add the pressed garlic, chili powder, cumin, bay leaf and pinch of sea salt, and stir for about 1 minute to cook the garlic and toast the spice. Reduce heat while cooking garlic if needed so it doesn't burn.

3. Back to medium heat, add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes – the acid from the tomatoes will deglaze the bottom of the pan. Stir well scraping the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the beans and peppers plus 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir well and cook for at least 5 minutes, then taste to check to see if you need more salt. I usually end up adding another teaspoon of sea salt, but depending on how much you used earlier and the other ingredients you may or may not need it. Don’t be afraid to salt your food! Salt brings out the flavor of all foods, and cooking from scratch won’t even come close to the sodium levels in processed foods. Add 1 cup of purified water to thin out your chili if it is too thick.

5. Let it simmer on low, stirring about every 15 minutes, for at least an hour if you can to let the flavors come together. The longer is sits the better the flavor. If you make it a few hours ahead, you can turn the heat on a covered dutch oven off for a few hours and it will stay hot. Just turn the heat back on a few minutes before you’re ready to serve. Or, keep it in a crockpot on the warm setting on your counter.

Store leftovers in a glass airtight container up to 3 days in the refrigerator, or freeze in freezer-safe bags or Pyrex up to 6 months.

Be your own chef! Add different veggies, beans, or spices that sound good to you. If you really love sour cream or cheese on your chili, I recommend Organic Valley sour cream or cheeses.

Intuitively Yours,
Laurel ♥

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