Veggie-dense chili recipe - weekday lunch lifesaver!

I'm totally excited to finally share this recipe with you since it's seriously been an important part of my weekday life for a couple months now!! A while back we discovered we could make it through work lunches the first part of the week by making a big batch of hearty chili on Sunday, full of veggies and simple ingredients. Having enough leftovers for weekday lunches is often on my mind, but this way I can get a lot of them out of the way on Sunday afternoon rather than rushing around on a weekday evening. This chili is easy, tasty, and a great one dish meal with protein, fat, and veggies so it's all we each need to bring for lunch at work!

It's also a totally flexible recipe, and seasonal - you can use whatever veggies you have! We use grassfed beef from our cow share but you could also sub lamb, turkey, or a combo of a couple ground meats. This is a bean-free chili recipe since we don't often eat legumes, but you can certainly add some beans (I do this sometimes if I remember to soak them the day before before cooking them) and it won't mess up the ratios or flavors!

It's hard for me to get enough veggies into my lunches so I pack this chili FULL of them!!

Veggie-dense chili recipe


Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp heat-safe fat of choice (I use home-rendered lard or tallow or saved bacon fat)
  • Sprinkle sea salt
  • 3 large carrots (and/or beets or other root veggie)
  • 1 small eggplant (or 2-3 zucchini or summer squash, whatever's in season/on-hand)
  • 2 bell peppers, any color (and/or celery)
  • 2 jalapenos, no seeds (optional)
  • 1.5-2 lbs. grassfed ground beef
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 28 oz. can tomato sauce, no flavors added
  • 1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, no flavors added

    Instructions:


    1. Chop onions, press garlic, and combine in a heavy-bottomed deep pan (Dutch ovens are the best real deal/knock-off/great budget knock-off) with fat and salt. Cover and cook on medium until onions soften.

    2. Add chopped carrots; cover and cook on medium until carrots begin to soften.

    3. On the eggplant... husband doesn't like eggplant he can see so I've gotten good at chopping it up super tiny. To do this, cut ends off, cut in half lengthwise, and make more lengthwise cuts to make discs. Then chop lengthwise from the top of the pile, then cut across.

    Add eggplant to pan and toss with other ingredients; cover and cook on low.

    (Note: If using zucchini instead of eggplant, add peppers first.)

    4. Add chopped bell peppers and finely chopped jalepenos, if using.

    Toss with other veggies and cook on medium, covered.

    5. Cook ground beef and break up with a spoon or handy ground meat chopper/stirrer like this or this. Add spices and stir well.

    6. Add tomato sauce and petite diced tomatoes to the veggie mixture and stir. Cook while ground beef gets completely cooked (continue to break it up).

    7. Add ground beef to veggie mixture. (If using beans, add them (fully cooked) at this point). Stir and cook, covered, on medium-low for 30-45 minutes until flavors are well-combined and peppers have fully softened.


    Serve hot! Good all by itself!

    We normally pack the whole batch up into 4-6 glass food storage containers for our lunches for the next few days. It's SO handy to start the week with lunches so we can have some relaxed evenings not worrying about leftovers for a while.

    The chili is so delicious that I'm excited to eat it every day at work. Of course, it would also be great for a group dinner! Wonderful on a chilly night. Let me know if you try it, and what special ingredients you like in your chili! 

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