This is an article from Nerd Fitness Rebel Chef Noel Fernando
Imagine sitting around a camp fire on a clear desert night. Decked out in ponchos, boots, and 10 gallon hats, you and your posse settle down for a hot meal after a long day of ropin’ and ridin’ and roughhousin’ with outlaws. The Waco Kid lazily strums a guitar while you stir up a steaming cauldron of chili.
Life in the Wild West might be long gone… the closest you can get to this scene is a few nights of camping. But for now, let’s dress in cowboy hats and get down on some Texas-inspired chili.
If you’re looking for a flavorful meal with tons of veggies or a new way to use that pulled pork you learned to make last year, look no further.
A small disclaimer: This is a recipe intended to be a version of Texas style chili. Purists, look the other way. We know how passionate you are about your food. Personally, I try to stuff as many veggies into a meal as I can, and come up with interesting recipes that align with the dietary values we practice on this site. Cool? Cool.
Chili Stuffed Sweet Potato
This recipe takes a little more prep work than the other recipes for pulled pork meals we’ve posted in the past. If you’re feeling up to it, get your chef’s hat on! This makes a big ‘ol pot of chile, and adds a decent amount of veggies to the meal. Plus, it’s great for freezing for emergency meals later. For those of you who like to prep meals for the week, this is a great option!
The hardest part of this recipe is gathering all the ingredients. After that, it’s all downhill: you cut things up however you want, throw them in a pot, and cook!
- 1.5 – 2 cups cooked pulled pork
- 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil
- 2 bell peppers – I used one red and one green here, but you can use whichever colors you prefer.
- 1 jalapeno – you can use less or more depending on how spicy you like your chile
- 1 red onion
- 2 zucchinis
- 1 28 oz (828ml) can crushed tomatoes – look for a can that’s BPA free or tomatoes in a jar! And as always, read the ingredients to make sure your tomatoes don’t have any added sugar or other weird ingredients!
- 1 tsp (5ml) cumin – find this in the spices aisle!
- 2 tbsp (15ml) chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) garlic powder
- 1 tsp (5ml) oregano
- 1 tsp (5ml) paprika – smoked paprika is awesome and will give your chili a more camp-firey feel.
- 1 tsp (5ml) chipotle powder – (optional) again, for that camp-firey goodness
- 1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce – (optional)
- A few dashes salt
- A dash pepper
- 4 sweet potatoes
- Diced avocado
- Chopped bacon
1. Wash and dry the bell peppers, jalapeno, and zucchinis.
2. Heat up a pot on low with 1 Tbsp of olive oil at the bottom.
3. Chop all of your veggies. As you’re cutting, you can add the chopped veggies to a bowl to make room for cutting more, this way you can add all the veggies to the pot at the same time. HOWEVAH! Don’t add the zucchini with the peppers and onion. Zucchini takes less time to cook and you don’t want it to be over cooked. We’ll add it in a little later.
You can cut peppers however you like. I like to do it like this:
- Chop off the top of the pepper.
- Carefully move the knife around the perimeter of the pepper, removing the seeds and loosening the white core from inside.
- Cut it in half lengthwise.
- Remove any extra seeds or core-bits.
- Slice the peppers length wise, then cut them again short-ways (into little squares).
And for the zucchinis:
- Chop off the top stem and the bottom of the zucchini
- Cut in half length wise then in half again (kind of like you’re making thick zucchini fries).
- Then cut all the pieces short ways so you have small triangle-like shapes.
If you need a reminder on how to dice an onion, check out the paleo shepherd’s pie recipe (scroll down a bit)!
Note* A little tip to help keep your kitchen clean is to clean as you go! Keep your cutting board from getting crowded by putting the extra bits you’re not going to use (like the bell pepper cores and seeds) in a bowl next to your cutting board. This makes it easier to dump in the trash (or compost) later.
4. Add the peppers and onion to your heated oil in your pan. Mix them around so the veggies are coated with the oil. Add some salt and pepper. (Cook about 5 minutes.)
5. Once the onions are somewhat translucent and the peppers have started to cook, add your zucchini and mix this in. Let it cook about 5 more minutes.
6. Now add your spices and can of tomatoes and let this warm up (another 5 minutes).
7. Add your pork to the mix. Stir it well and let it warm up. Cover your pot with a lid and let this mixture simmer on medium/low for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now we can cook our sweet potato. I almost always do this in the microwave because it’s fast.
1. Poke a bunch of holes in your sweet potato with a steak knife or fork. Pay attention and be careful not to stab yourself. (I stab myself on accident doing this all the time. It’s not recommended.)
2. Put your potato in the microwave. Mine has a potato button. Convenience! No potato button? Toss that sucker in the microwave for 4-8 minute (4 for smaller sweet potatoes, and 8 for larger). The potato should be soft and when done – a knife or fork should easily glide through. If you don’t like the microwave or you want to bake a bunch of sweet potatoes ahead of time, follow this recipe!
3. When the potato is done, leave it in the microwave for a few minutes. It’ll be super hot to the touch if you pull it out right away.
Put it all together!
1. Cut your cooked sweet potato almost all the way in half.
2. Spoon a good amount of chile into the potato.
3. Top with avocado and bacon as desired!
Now, this recipe makes a lot of food, so you might want to save some of it in containers in the freezer for emergency meals later on.
+10 EXP for meal prep!
If you want to change the recipe around, be my guest. Here are some other serving and recipe suggestions to mix it up:
- Use a different meat. There’s no need to limit yourself to using pulled pork if you don’t have any or you don’t have a crock pot. You can use ground beef, buffalo, elk, turkey, etc. in this recipe.
- If you don’t like some of the veggies included, eliminate them or use your own favorites.
- You’ll notice I like to put things in sweet potatoes. I do this because it looks nice for pictures. Also, it’s fun and delicious. But remember, this is a serving suggestion. You can totally just put your chili in a bowl and enjoy it that way.
Do you have any other serving suggestions?
Is there a secret ingredient you use in your chili that I missed?
What are some of your favorite big-pot meals to prep?
Let us know in the comments!
PS: We’ve been adding these recipes and a few dozen more to our Nerd Fitness Academy, which has recipes, meal plans, workout plans, and the ability to complete quests and missions and level up as you get healthier. Check it out!
Photo: JD Hancock: Scouting Lines