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Primal Chili

Let’s talk chili.

I know what you’re thinking. “It’s still summer!” “I’m too hot to eat chili!” blah blah blah…

I don’t feel sorry for you, because you probably live in some subtropical climate that’s alive with sweltering heat all summer long. The weather ’round here, on the other hand, consists of about three weeks of “heat” and then kaputz-ville. Summer’s GONZO.

I enjoyed it while I could. I sported shorts, and skirts, and dresses with leggings (cause you know, I still get the goosebumps when it’s 25°C out) and all number of skimpy frocks. But now I’ve already dug out the boots, the scarves, the sweaters. I may be too hot some days, but other days, I win. It’s a weird transitional thing that happens around here. Summer tries to hang on…but in the end, it’s too friggin’ cold for me about 95% of the time.

So let’s make chili y’all (That’s my best Paula Deen impression right there)! Dig out yer Dutch ovens, your mondo pots and your cast iron frying pans. It’s time to get back into some serious comfort food. This chili is filled with vegetables and you can even add more if you like it that way. We tried it a few times before deciding to post it. My favourite was with okra and Cutie Pie squash, which filled it out, thickened it up and also made the recipe last a couple more meals (oh who am I kidding, Adrian and I finish dinner and we’re hungry again within five minutes. Next time I’m bringing the pot to the table with two spoons.)

What’s great about this chili (and any good chili) is it’s versatile and you can do whatever the hell you want with it. Put in ten serrano chiles, or a whole bottle of sriracha if you really want. I’ll keep mine on the medium side, you know, so the kids can have some too. Also it’s got no beans! So feel free to have it when company comes over, or you have a big meeting after lunch, or…you get it.

The other thing this chili is good for is this.

Lifting big weights requires a lot of food. I know that when I finish a killer WOD, all I want to do is stuff my face with food. Chili is a great face stuffer. It’s filling and you get a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. Lots of healthy fats, a good amount of protein and loads and loads of veggies.

I’m differentiating this “Primal” chili from a “paleo” chili in that it’s got a lot of fat in it. I don’t shy away from the fat here. I put “2 tbsp” which is sufficient to brown the veg, but when I make it, it’s more like “2 huge dollops on the biggest spoon I can fit into the bacon grease collection jar.” So there ya go. Go forth and make chili.

One year ago: Peach and Blackberry Upside Down Cobbler

Two years ago: Banana Bread Ice Cream

Three years ago: Grilled Eggplant Neopolitan with Couscous

Primal Chili

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4-5 large servings

Serving Size: 1.5 cups


  • 2 tbsp fat (coconut oil, animal fat, ghee, etc.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or grated
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 leek (white part only), sliced into half moons
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g ground sirloin
  • 250g ground pork
  • 2 stalks celery (and leaves), chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 2 small sweet bell peppers, diced
  • 28 fl oz. can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (no sugar added)
  • 2-3 sundried tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1-2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp porcini mushroom powder (optional but optimal!)
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 5 large kale leaves, stem removed and leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced


  1. In a large pot, melt the fat over medium high heat. Add in the garlic, onions, leeks and mushrooms. Brown them completely before removing them from the pot and setting aside in a large bowl.
  2. Keeping the heat where it is, add in the ground meat and evenly brown it. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Once brown, add the vegetables back into the pot.
  3. Add the remaining vegetables into the pot, along with the canned tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes and tomato paste.
  4. Finally, add in the the seasonings (chili, cumin, oregano, coriander, mushroom powder and aminos) and season to taste with the salt and pepper.
  5. Cook until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Add in the cilantro and kale and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
  7. Serve with sliced avocados on top.


Other delicious vegetable additions are fresh okra (a great natural thickener) and a drier squash in large cubes such as Cutie Pie or Kabocha. If you use a watery squash, your chili will be somewhat soupy.

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