Though my typical batch cooking day is Sunday, sometimes I find myself in the kitchen on a Friday night or Saturday if the mood strikes (music blaring in the background, or sometimes the dim roar of a football game). This afternoon I had a hankering to make chili. One of the best things about homemade chili is its versatility. The variations are literally endless. Typical restaurant chilis focus mostly on the meat, with a little onion and maybe some peppers thrown in. But chili made the Nourishing Guru way is always going to involve lots of veggies. As you know, we are HUGE fans of using veggies to stretch just about any dish. This recipe is the perfect example.

I started with coconut oil (our favorite cooking oil), and tossed in a mixture of chopped garlic, onion, green and yellow peppers, carrots, and mushrooms, but really, anything goes. What we usually aim for is what we call the “rainbow effect.” Basically, try to incorporate as many colors as you can for maximum health benefits!

These sauteed for about 10 minutes, until nice and soft. I then tossed in the ground beef. We feel strongly about getting high quality, organic grass fed meat. Trader Joes has grass fed beef at good prices, though you can also find it at almost any health food store, Whole Foods, and many traditional supermarkets. Be sure to look for GRASS FED, not just organic.

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Once that cooked another few minutes, I added 2 cups of cooked pinto beans that had been soaked overnight and boiled. You can use canned beans, as long as you get a brand that is BPA free. We like Eden. Once it was all combined, I added fresh chopped spinach that was leftover from the other night. Finally, I tossed in some leftover tomato sauce. If you can get good ripe fresh tomatoes, go for it (or canned tomatoes or sauce from BPA free can). And here is where your creativity can come in. Spice it up as much as you like! Add some good quality sea salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, etc. Whatever strikes your fancy.

This is the perfect all-in-one type of dish to use as leftovers for another night’s dinner or next day lunch. Or freeze for later use (it never lasts that long in our household). One serving of this chili will provide a hearty dose of fiber, lots of good quality protein, and teems of antioxidants from the abundance of colorful veggies. We keep the carbs low by leaving out rice or pasta, though super active individuals can use brown rice or whole grain pasta as a base (we don’t recommend this if you are striving for weight loss). Vegetarians can always leave out the meat and stick with veggies and beans. If you don’t digest beans well, feel free to just use meat and veggies. As always, don’t feel boxed in if a particular recipe has ingredients you may not tolerate or like. Simply adjust and enjoy!

Here is the recipe in its entirety:

One-Pot Rainbow Chili (suggested servings: 4-6)
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
Pepper, cumin, curry, etc. to taste
1 large green and 1 large yellow pepper, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 16-oz container mushrooms, pre sliced
5 cups chopped spinach (use pre-washed bagged organic)
1 pound grass fed ground beef or organic ground turkey (leave out for vegetarian)
2 cups pinto beans (canned, Eden organic)
1-2 cups tomato sauce or diced tomatoes (depending on desired consistency)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste if necessary

Heat coconut oil and sauté chopped garlic, onion, and spices for about 5 minutes. Add green and yellow peppers, carrots and mushrooms and continue sauté for another 5-10 minutes until vegetables are soft but not mushy. Toss in ground beef and cook for 5-7 minutes until no longer pink. Add 2 cups pinto beans, spinach, and tomato sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings.

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