If you share my (former) skepticism, let me reassure you: Contrary to popular belief, chili does not actually require beans to 1) taste like chili and 2) be absolutely delicious! And let's be really honest here for a minute. We all know what beans do to the digestive system, so isn't it a bit odd that chili is such popular Superbowl party fare?
If you're looking for a way to mix it up with your chili recipe, or aren't a big bean fan to begin with, or are actually doing the Paleo diet like me, please try this recipe. I made it last night, and I literally cannot wait until dinner so that I can have another bowl.
Recipe for Paleo Chili
Adapted from Paleo Table
2 8-oz sirloin steaks, cut into bite-sized chunks*
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 lb nitrate-free bulk spicy Italian sausage (Whole Foods has a great one!)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into bite-sized chunks (Or be lazy like me and buy it already diced from Whole Foods)
2 onions, chopped
1 28-oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
2 14.5-oz cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 10-oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Rotel)
3 cups chopped baby spinach
2 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
2 avocados, cubed
Sliced black olives
Slivered jalapeno peppers
Fresh cilantro leaves
*Next time I make this recipe, I am going to skip the steak and do 1-1/2 lb ground beef and 1-1/2 lb Italian sausage.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place diced squash on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes or until it just begins to soften. Remove from oven and set aside.
While the squash bakes, warm 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add steak (if using) and brown on one side. Crumble remaining meat and sausage into the pot and cook until all of the meat is cooked through, stirring occasionally.
At the same time, warm 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until onion begins to turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Add paprika, cumin and chili powder, and stir until onions are coated and spices are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squash and turn off the heat.
Add onion mixture, tomatoes, and remaining spices to the meat mixture. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Add chopped spinach and stir until wilted. At this point, you can serve the chili or continue to simmer it for another 30 minutes to an hour.
Top with avocado, cilantro, jalapeno and black olives.