White Turkey Chili

White Turkey Chili on White Sweet PotatoDo you know what traditionally goes in white chili? White beans! Dried beans are a legume and they aren’t typically part of a Paleo lifestyle. My take on beans is that they’re okay on occasion if you tolerate them and if they’ve been soaked first. They’re a plant and certainly better than a box of processed ick with an endless ingredient list of non-foods. However, they have anti-nutrients that block absorption of other important components of the foods we eat, they are difficult to digest (surely not a secret), they are fairly high in carbs which can be a challenge if you are working on getting lean, and meat is simply a more bio-available source of protein.

But I like white chili so I went to work. I am a huge fan of cauliflower’s versatility and use it quite frequently to replace other foods (think rice, potatoes, chickpeas, etc.). Not only is it a great stand-in for the white beans in this dish, but it adds bulk and nutrients and an extra serving or two of veggies. Honestly, what could be wrong with that? Since it cooks up to be fairly tender, you can even mash a bit of it in your bowl to thicken it.

This is one of those dishes that can be served in a variety of ways, too. Here I have it piled on a white sweet potato, but I had the leftovers on chopped chard one day and shredded cabbage the next, allowing the heat to soften the greens. You can eat it just the way it is too – I imagine a big mug or bowl. And remember to adjust the seasonings to your taste! I used mild green chiles but some hot ones would have been great too, just a bit too much for my family.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! It made great leftovers for lunch and, even though my husband mentioned that 95 degree weather didn’t really lend itself to chili, he didn’t complain once he tasted it!

White Turkey Chili

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 onion, chopped

2 green bell peppers, chopped

1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey

5 cloves of garlic, minced

diced green chiles, 7 oz. can

2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed between fingers

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne

frozen cauliflower, 12 oz. bag

2 1/2 c. vegetable or chicken broth

1 1/4 tsp. salt, divided

Directions

1) Melt coconut oil over medium high heat. Add chopped onion, bell peppers, and 1/4 tsp. salt and sauté for about 5 minutes until beginning to soften.

2) Add the turkey, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, breaking up the meat, until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.

3) Add chiles, spices, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir to release the flavor of the spices, about 30 seconds. Add the broth, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer the chili covered for about 30 minutes.

4) Remove the lid, add the cauliflower, return to a boil and simmer again, uncovered this time, for about 20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.

5) Top with cilantro, avocado, tomato, and enjoy!

Serves 4-5

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Paleo Pesto

Dairy Free Basil PestoThis is the first year I’ve had a vegetable garden and my only regret is that I have let so many growing seasons pass me by. It is rewarding, exciting, beautiful, and delicious! Chard, basil, and zucchini have been in full swing for a few weeks now so I’ve been making batches of pesto and either using it throughout the week or freezing it for later. It seems that every time I cut a bunch of basil down, I am rewarded the next day with fully grown and happy plants again. The weather must be just right this year and I am very grateful!

Pesto typically has cheese in it which gives pesto some depth and richness and a certain mouthfeel. As I’ve continued to make this version, though, which is dairy-free, I’ve realized that I actually like it without the cheese. The individual flavors stand out a little bit more, and not in a bad way. I particularly like tasting the richness of the toasted pine nuts which seem to really shine here.

If you’re wondering what to do with a bunch of pesto around, here are a few things that I like to do: Dollop it on eggs; mix it with tuna and chopped tomatoes; add it to sautéed zoodles; spread it on hard boiled eggs; use it to top a burger; or toss it with shrimp or chicken and grilled bell peppers. There are really so many things you can do with it and it always elevates the dish to that next level.

Paleo Pesto

4 cups basil leaves, packed

3 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted

1 small garlic clove

juice from 1/2 a lemon, about 2 Tbsp.

1/2 tsp. salt

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Directions

1) Place all of the ingredients, including 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, into the bowl of a food processor. Begin processing and drizzle the additional 3 Tbsp. of oil slowly through the chute, allowing the pesto to come together.

2) Taste and adjust seasonings, adding a little more salt or lemon as needed.