This chili is something that we make in our household on a fairly regular basis. First, it’s easy. Second, it’s super hearty. Third, it makes great lunch leftovers (it makes about 6 – 2 cup servings). And fourth, it’s yummy 🙂
What I love about this recipe – after prepping the veggies I just put it in the CrockPot and let it cook all day. It doesn’t get much easier than that. I stir it maybe once or twice during the cooking process (6 hours). Done.
For this recipe you’ll need:
2 lbs. of grass-fed ground beef
1 onion, diced
6 small cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 celery heart, chopped
4 small zucchini, shredded
1 bell pepper, chopped (your choice of color)
1/2 c. chopped pickled or fresh jalapenos
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes (fire roasted)
2-6 oz. cans of tomato paste
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 t. paprika
1 t. cayenne pepper
2 t. ground corinader
2 t. ground cumin
2 T. oregano
crumbled or shredded raw milk cheddar cheese (optional)
coconut oil spray
First, get out your slow cooker (at least 5 quarts) and spray lightly with coconut oil. This ensures “no sticking”, which means an easier clean-up in the end.
Combine all of the spices into a small bowl and set aside. Prep the veggies – dice the onion, chop the garlic, chop the celery, dice the jalapenos, and shred the zucchini.
Break up the beef into two inch chunks in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Next, add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste to the slow cooker. Coat with your spice mixture.
Now add the onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, and zucchini. Don’t worry about mixing yet!
The ingredients come up almost to the edge of the ceramic dish. The veggies and meat will cook down so don’t worry about juices spilling over the edge.
Now turn the slow cooker onto HIGH for 6 hours.
After about one hour, you’ll want to stir things up (carefully).
Now comes the super easy part – sit back, relax, and let it cook! The flavors will mix on their own, so you really don’t need to stir much. I’ve already prepped this in the morning before work and let it cook all day without mixing and it was just fine when I got home (of course I stirred it then).
If you eat dairy, serve with some raw milk cheddar or jack (or even sour cream). You can also garnish with fresh cilantro.
Here are some suggestions for modifications to the recipe that I have tried successfully:
You can sub a portion of or all of the beef if you want a leaner or more flavorful meat (i.e. ground chicken or turkey for a leaner chili and lamb or pork for a more flavorful chili). Personally, I’m a fan of half turkey/half beef.
If you don’t like food with “heat”, simply take out the jalapenos and cayenne peppers.
You can change up the veggies too – I’ve substituted cabbage, cauliflower, and eggplant for the zucchini. Eggplant is great because it has such a mild flavor – I shredded it like the zucchini. The same goes for cauliflower. Cabbage has a stronger flavor though, so be cautious with how much you use. If you substitute the zucchini with half carrots and half cabbage, the flavors balance nicely.
Enjoy! – Nicole