Rustic Triple Meat Chili
Welcome to healthy protein heaven. This chili is a go-to recovery meal when I’m lifting a lot. And because it’s macronutrient-balanced, it can also be used to preserve muscle mass for people who are cutting. (If you’re not up on your gym jargon, and who can blame you, “cutting” is not an emo thing 😂 – it’s a term for losing body fat while retaining muscle). This chili is also excellent for anyone who is deficient in or just craving more iron.
Even if you are NONE of those things, this meal is so comforting for any autumn or winter day. It’s great for blustery wind, great for coming in out of the rain, perfect for snow days. After an entire summer of grill and salads, sometimes I break this recipe out literally the day after Labor Day.
I got the original inspiration for what became this chili, in Mike Matthew’s book Thinner Leaner Stronger. (That’s his book geared toward women. He also has a men’s version called Bigger Leaner Stronger – both of which I highly recommend. Mike has solid fitness advice.)
But I’m going to go ahead and call this recipe my own because over the past 4 years, I’ve tampered with it so much, about the only thing that’s stayed the same is the fact that it has three different meats in it. I found Mike’s version, which he admittedly meant solely for people who were “bulking”, to just be too dense with too much unhealthy, unnecessary stuff. For example it called for several tablespoons of fat, and a can of beer. I found that stuff unnecessary so I balanced out the fat and carbs a little. What you’re looking at above is the end result.
When portioned out into 6 servings, this chili comes up to 400 calories and 40 grams of protein. It’s got three different animal proteins in it, AND two different plant proteins. It is just screaming with texture. It’s got plenty of healthy carbs and fiber too, to help replace the glucose (called glycogen when its inside your muscles) that you lose during exercise. This meal helps your muscles repair themselves faster.
This chili is fantastic to eat as-is, and is perfectly carb balanced. But if you’re looking to up your per-meal calories a bit, feel free to add some crusty baguette for carbs, or some avocado slices for extra healthy fat. Don’t try to add extra protein. I’m not sure that’s even possible!
I also don’t recommend gorging yourself on this entire pot for every meal until it’s gone. Even using high-quality animal protein, that floods your body with animal protein and fat product. This chili freezes fantastically, so keep a serving or two out in the fridge and freeze the rest. You’ll be so happy to have it on hand after a heavy leg day or a long hike a week from now. Trust me, I speak from experience.
Let’s take a look at the layers of ingredients in this bowl of goodness:
ALLIUMS – In my opinion, the foundation to almost every great dish is some form of allium family vegetable. Garlic, onions and leeks are from this family. They are THE number one anti-cancer vegetable. Garlic has been shown to kill cancer cells when put in direct contact in a petri dish. They give such a wonderful flavor but they’re so good for you too. I load them up in this chili. In fact, I triple the garlic called for in almost every recipe I come across.
NIGHTSHADES – Nightshades are just dripping with Vitamin C and plant antioxidants. They are the veggies that love the sun. We’ve got tomato sauce/paste and red bell peppers in this recipe, both of which contain significant quantities of the antioxidant lycopene, as well as Vitamin A and some B vitamins. A very small amount of people have tummy distress with nightshades, but cooking them generally helps this immensely.
BROTH – Boxed Pacific Foods broth is totally fine in this recipe, but if you want an even bigger mineral boost, use some homemade Bone or Mineral broth, as I did for this picture above. Stay away from canned, large-producer broths like Swansons. They source animals that are often sick for their broths, since they can’t be sold as meat. Yuck.
CARMINATIVE HERBS & SPICES – These spices heal the body, improve digestion, and reduce bloating and gas. One of the secrets of this chili is that it has a ton of spice in it. Cumin, coriander, and a good quality chili powder which usually has cinnamon: these all really amp up not just the flavor but the gut-healing properties of this dish.
I also buy COUNTRY SAGE flavored chicken sausage. Yes, Sage! It’s considered a breakfast sausage flavor. My butcher looked at me like I was nuts when I told him I was putting it in dinner chili, but its amazing. The flavor is just subtle enough, it really adds dimension to the dish. Only one store in my area sells it, so you may not be able to get it. But any flavor of bulk sausage will be superior to anything that has been cured or cased into links.
ANIMAL PROTEINS – Given that this chili has SO much animal protein in it, it’s really important to use the best quality you can. I use grass-fed top sirloin or stew meat for my steak source, grass-fed 95% lean for my ground beef source, and bulk chicken or pork sausage made in-house by New Seasons for the crumbled sausage source. (There is quite a big difference in the fat and calorie content between chicken and pork sausage. This recipe’s nutritional info is based on chicken sausage.)
You don’t want grain fed beef for this dish, if you can at all help it. Beef fat holds toxins ingested by the animals, and cows being fed cheap corn, soy, and bone meal from other cows, have plenty of toxins. Yuck. Stick with cows that eat grass! And if you need a great source for pastured meats, check out our article Where To Shop. A lot of non-factory meats can be ordered online these days, if you haven’t found yourself a local farm yet. Hallelujah!
PLANT PROTEINS – I use canned, very well rinsed chili and black beans. Beans are superstars of the plant world and humans have been thriving on them for tens of thousands of years. They are high in protein, high in fiber, excellent prebiotics for good bacteria, and contain a huge range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant chemicals. In fact, beans and legumes are sort of like the multivitamin of the plant world.
I used to make this chili with 1 can of beans or even eliminate the beans when I was on a “low carb” kick – but once I found out what I was missing out on, I added them back and I’m so glad I did. Don’t skimp on the beans, if for nothing else than the fiber. All this animal protein needs some fiber to slow it down and maximize the absorption rate of all that goodness.
When you look at it this way, there is literally nothing that isn’t healing in this dish. You’ll use a tiny bit of fat to saute your alliums to start, and that’s about it! This meal is a mega-star and you don’t have to feel one shred of guilt for eating it. Just make sure you’re sourcing high quality, grassfed beef protein, and try to use chicken sausage instead of pork if you’re concerned about fat. Those are my only two tips!
Rustic Triple Meat Chili
Nutrition Per Serving