Functional Food Friday: Paleo Chunky Chili

It seems like Memorial Day is a day when there are many Chili cook offs around the nation so we thought today would be a good day to share our favorite Chili. Chili comes in many styles and flavors influenced by various regions and with specific differences that identify it as Mexican Chili Con Carne, Texas Chili or some other variant. rhe core starting point is always slowly braised hunks of meat. With some quality ingredients and a little patience you can make a simple, hearty and smoky pot of chili that will wow your family and friends.

Any good chef will tell you that every pot of chili is a little different even when cooked by the same person but there are definite differences between the Mexican variants and Texas Chili. The Chili we are making this week for Functional Food Friday definitely falls into the Mexican category because it includes tomatoes and bell pepper. A true Texan chili will be all meat and will typically not include tomato but rather focus on the marriage of the smoky taste of dried chilies with slow-cooked meat. The International Chili Society defines traditional red Chili as any kind of meat or combination of meats cooked with red chili peppers but forbids beans which are often used in the versions made in homes around America. It has also become quite common to find Chili made with ground turkey but the Chili purists would scoff at this insult. Similarly, some would say vegetarian Chili is not really Chili at all.

Since we’re making a Paleo version of Chili we are not including beans and used different textures of beef as well as the addition of bacon to create a varied and interesting Chili with a hearty texture and complex flavors.

Chili is a dish that cannot be rushed so allow a good 4-5 hours on the stove – this is important to give the complex flavors a chance to mate and blend together


2 lbs ground beef
2 lbs of stewing/cubed beef
1 lb bacon
2 Tomatoes
2 Onions
1 Red Bell Pepper
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
3 Bay Leaves
2 tspn coriander
2 tspn paprika
1 tspn cumin
1/2 – 1 tspn chipotle pepper
1 bottle Bionaturae Strained Tomatoes
1 tbsp BBQ sauce
Generous grind of Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning
Generous grind of Trader Joe’s Smoke Seasoning
2 pinches of salt
1-2 cups of bone broth/beef stock or water


  1. Preheat your Dutch Oven, then pour a splash of olive oil into your dutch oven and then brown the bacon until most of the fat has rendered but remove it before it becomes crispy.
  2. Brown the cubed beef in the bacon fat
  3. Add the diced onion and chopped garlic and allow to caramelize, then add in the spices and allow this all to fry for a few minutes
  4. Add in the ground beef and brown
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and bell pepper together with the strained tomatoes
  6. Return the bacon to the dutch oven
  7. Add the 2 tablepoons of BBQ Sauce, 3 bay leaves, Everyday Seasoning & Smoke Seasoning
  8. Add 1-2 cups of broth/stock or water to bring the water level up to mostly cover all the ingredients
  9. Cover and cook on lowest heat for 4-5 hours
  10. Before serving check your salt and add a little more if necessary

To stick with pure Paleo serve with vegetables like roasted broccoli or a summer squash medley. If you incorporate starches some rice or mashed potatoes are a tasty addition or if you’re going totally meaty serve on a burger patty!

Sides which complement Chili are a good guacamole, Cotija, cheddar or Jack cheese, black or green olives, green or white chopped onions, cilantro, sliced jalapenos or if you want to take the heat up a notch, a hot sauce.


About the Author:

Candice is a certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach living in sunny San Diego, California with her husband and seven year old daughter. She is passionate about nutrition and holistic health and sharing what she has learned and continues to learn with others who want to achieve health and vitality.
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