Sweet Potato + Chocolate Chili from The Whole Smiths. Not only is this chili delicious and loaded with hearty flavor, it’s also paleo and gluten-free and can be easily modified to be Whole30 compliant. It’s a must-make for large gatherings and cool evenings.
Yeah, you read that title right. Sweet Potato and CHOCOLATE Chili. Chocolate. In chili. At this point you’re either sc’rrrrd or out of your mind excited and totally get it. If you’re in the former group, don’t be sc’rrrd, the chocolate just gives a punch of flavor and doesn’t overwhelm the dish.
Before I get too far into this post, I gotta say this… A. This shizz is the bomb. B. Please feel free to tinker and make this chili your own. It’s a great starting point, but I’m a firm believer that chili has GOT to have your personal touch. Isn’t that what chili is all about? There’s something about chili that screams “make it your own”. You love it spicy? Add some more spice. You loooove some bacon even more? Then add some more bacon! With that being said, follow the recipe the first time, then see what you want to tweak. Got it? Good. Let’s go!
So prior to becoming paleo, I had what I thought was the best chili recipe. It had tons of beans, some ground turkey and the secret ingredient… a packet of hot cocoa mix! Gross, but it was pretty amazing.
Once we made the leap to paleo I knew I needed to make some changes to make it compliant but I wanted to maintain the flavor I had worked so hard to perfect. After some blood, sweat and sweet potatoes, this baby was born. I even made it for the girls’ cowgirl birthday party this year and people looooved it. There was none left by the time the party was done… and I had a made a huge batch.
The first step was getting rid of the beans. Quite honestly, that took away so much of the “bulk” of the recipe and I needed to add that back in. And did you know, “real” chili isn’t even supposed to have beans anyways? For that, I swapped in some roasted sweet potatoes. If you need a great tutorial on how to best roast your sweet potatoes, head over to my Sweet Potato “Chips” + Dip recipe.
I also needed to get rid of the liquid smoke and Worcestershire. In went some coconut aminos and smoked paprika. Again, it turned out to be a great swap. Of course,I had to nix the hot cocoa mix and in went some Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips in it’s place. In case you are unfamiliar with them, they’re dairy-free, nut-free, and soy free. As far as chocolate chips go they’re as clean as it gets. In order to keep it super clean or Whole30 compliant, feel free to just use two tablespoons of straight cocoa powder instead.
Speaking of Whole30, there are just two small tweaks you need to make to this. Swap the chocolate chips for straight up cocoa powder and omit the gluten-free beer. Cool? The directions are located below in the recipe card. Back to the chili…
This chili is THICK! Remember back in the day that commercial that said it wasn’t real chili unless you could stand a fork in it? Well this is that. This is the stuff cowboys live for apparently. Apparently those cowboys ate their chili from a can, but I digress. If you like yours a little less thick, feel free to add more tomato sauce or thin it out with a bit more beer or chicken stock. Like I said above, make it then modify it to what you like. Or if you think it’s as out of the world as I think it is, you’ll just leave it. My point is… don’t be afraid to tinker. That’s how great chefs (and chilis) are born!
Sweet Potato + Chocolate Chili
Yield 4 -6
A flavorful and hearty paleo chili with chocolate!
- 2 sweet potatoes peeled and diced into bite sized pieces
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 slices of bacon cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 onion diced
- 5 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 sweet peppers diced
- 2.5 lbs ground beef / turkey
- 3 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp. cumin
- 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. coconut aminos
- 1/3 C. Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips OR 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder for Whole30
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
- 2 C. of chicken broth or 1 bottle of gluten free beer (optional, omit for Whole30)
- Preheat oven to 425*
- In a baking dish (you may need two) spread sweet potatoes in a single layer.
- Drizzle sweet potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss to coat and roast in oven for 35 minutes.
- In a large dutch oven or pot cook bacon pieces on medium heat until crispy.
- Remove the bacon pieces from the pan and drain the majority of the bacon grease from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan.
- Add onions to the pan and sauté until tender.
- Add garlic to onion and bacon mixture and sauté for 2 additional minutes, continuously stirring so the garlic doesn't burn.
- Add diced peppers to mixture and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
- Push ingredients to side of dutch oven / pot.
- Add a small amount of the bacon grease back into the to open area of dutch oven / pot and add ground beef / turkey.
- With a spatula, break up the ground meat and continue to cook until browned and cooked through.
- Add salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, coconut aminos and toss to combine and continue to cook until meat is cooked through.
- Add chocolate chips and combine.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken stock or beer.
- Combine all ingredients and turn down heat to a simmer.
- Add sweet potatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes.