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So my Dad totally gave me this recipe and I Paleo-ized it for you guys. How crazy is that? Pops comes through with a blog recipe! I had never even heard of Cincinnati Chili before, let alone the fact that you can make it like 5 different ways. I was also in shock that people would eat chili on top of spaghetti, weirdos. No offense if you’re from Cincinnati, I still love your spaghetti eating self. So anyway my shock quickly turned to awe and the wheels on the brain went round and round. I had to make this recipe Paleo for you guys. But first, I needed to know more about what I was dealing with. According to Wikipedia (yes, I wikied) you can order it the following ways:

Bowl: chili in a bowl
Two-way: chili and spaghetti
Three-way: chili, spaghetti, and cheese
Four-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions
Five-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans

Obviously I’m not going to eat it over real spaghetti or with beans (gassy is not classy!). So I had to turn to my favorite spaghetti stand by…spaghetti squash! I think God had Paleo people and the gluten-free folks in mind when he invented the spaghetti squash. WHAT would we do without this little gem? I have no idea. It’s literally one of the most versatile ingredients in my kitchen. You can pair anything with it, I mean anything. So if you haven’t made it yet, that’s your homework assignment for the week, spaghetti squash. Pair it with whatever you’re in the mood for. Don’t worry, I’ll give you a gold star on your Paleo chart.

This whole last week Brad and I were super craving chili. I had that recipe from my Dad laying around and Brad was randomly naming off chili ingredients in his sleep, the time had come. So what did we do? Called up the neighbors and made them participate in the First Ever, Now Annual, Neighbor Chili Cook-Off Contest! Obviously. (Cue the marching band, ribbons, and southern accents.) Boy that’s a long contest name. So I got my thinking cap on and I got to work. Traditionally this recipe does not call for bacon, but come on, everything is better with bacon. I vote for bacon. BACON!

When I first tasted my Chili, I straight up did not like it. I have never had chili with chocolate before (and we all know my affection for chocolate) let alone cinnamon and allspice. It was like Christmas Chili. Some versions of this recipe even call for cloves. Say what? To say the least, I was disappointed and was for sure out of the running for Chili Champion. I let the chili sit overnight ended up eating it for breakfast. It wasn’t bad per say…(scratching my chin.) Then I ate more for dinner at the actual Chili Cook-Off and guess what? It totally grew on me. I ate even more for dinner last night and was actually sad when I polished off the rest of the leftovers. I wanted more! Go figure. So if you’ve never had Cincinnati Chili before then prepare your test-buds for the curious unknown…(get it test-buds, instead of taste-buds, because you’re testing the flavor to see if you like it…get it…get it!) You love it. You know what else I think you’re gonna love? This Paleo Cincinatti Chili, Two-Way…or Three-Way or Whatever-Way you want it! Cue Journey’s ‘Anyway You Want It‘ and get a-chili-cookin’…

Paleo Cincinnati Chili, Two-Way
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
6 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1 can tomato sauce, 15-ounce
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup organic beef stock
1/2 cup Steve’s Paleochef Peach BBQ sauce
1 spaghetti squash
olive oil, for coating
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
onion powder to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scrape seeds out with a spoon. Then coat the insides of the squash with olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt, pepper, and onion powder on top. Flip both sides face down onto the foil lined baking sheet and cook for 60 minutes. Let cool.
2. Once cool, over a large bowl, run a fork down the middle of the squash to remove the insides into the large bowl. Then sprinkle sea salt, pepper, and onion powder and toss lightly. Set aside while you make the chili.
3. In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute the ground beef, bacon, onions, garlic and chili powder until the beef and bacon are almost cooked. Then add the cocoa powder, sea salt, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, red cayenne pepper and stir until combined. Then add the can of tomato sauce, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, beef stock, and Paleochef peach bbq sauce. Stir together, reduce heat, and let simmer uncovered for 1.5 hours.
4. Once the chili is finished, ladle it over a plate of spaghetti squash and garnish with toppings of your choice.

Paleo Cincinnati Chili

Paleo Cornbread
*Makes 9 servings

6 eggs
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup coconut milk, full fat, room temperature
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons grass-fed butter, cold and cubed
1/4 cup palm shortening

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Generously grease a brownie pan with butter.
2. Add the eggs, maple sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process for 10 seconds. Then add the coconut flour, baking soda, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar and process again until combined. Then add the cold butter, and palm shortening and pulse until mixed. Some butter chunks left are fine.
3. Use a spoon to transfer the cornbread batter into the brownie pan squares. My batter yielded enough to fill 9 of the 12 squares. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I recommend preparing and cooking your chili first, then while it’s simmering for the 1.5 hours, prepare first the spaghetti squash and then the cornbread. The timing should work perfect for a nice hot meal.

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SO I know you are all DYING to know who won the Chili Cook-Off. Ironically enough no one did. We all didn’t like each others chili. Hahaha. Who does that? Us. Brad’s tasted like canned chili and the neighbors tasted like Tabasco sauce, and they were new as well to the Cincinnati flavor and decided they wanted something more traditional, so mine was out. It was a no win situation. Except secretly I did win because I got all the leftovers and fell in love with a new chili style! Boom. Victory is mine.

28 Comments on Cincinnati Chili, Two-Way with Cornbread

  1. NotebookofFood
    January 21, 2014 at 12:15 pm (10 years ago)

    This looks delicious, I’ll definitely be trying this one.

  2. This Sydney Life
    January 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm (10 years ago)

    I’ve never been to Cincinnati. But – inane fact – I’ve been to Dayton! So close, I reckon.

    This looks a m a z i n g , CEWADM. I do have one question, tho’. What’s a girl in Sydney to do (when she’s no longer AIP-ing it) in lieu of Steve’s Paleochef Peach BBQ sauce,???

    • Vanessa Barajas
      January 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm (10 years ago)

      TSL, I’ve never been to Cincinnati either, but I might go just to try the real deal version of this chili! If you guys have a paleo-ish BBQ sauce out there that you can get your hands on that might work, you could also make one from scratch, or even just omit it altogether, it will still turn out I promise ;). Oh and BTW the “AIP Legend” is on day 100 today! I told her you called her a legend and it pushed her to get to day 100 without eating chocolate, which she is dying for and has in a drawer in the house as we speak. Look at you TSL, you’re motivating my friends all the way from Sydney! 🙂

      • This Sydney Life
        January 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm (10 years ago)

        You make me smile! You’re always so bloody positive!!!

        Please let the AIP legend know she is inspiring me… Is she still in full ‘elimination’ mode at day 100? No reintroduction, yet?

      • Vanessa Barajas
        January 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm (10 years ago)

        I will definitely let her know! She just re-introduced nightshades and eggs late last week and says she feels fine. She says she’s definitely ready to reintroduce chocolate. hahaha I would already be dead and buried with no chocolate, let alone no tomatoes or eggs. My hats off to you two!

      • This Sydney Life
        January 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm (10 years ago)

        I am pretty confident that some/all nightshades are my biggest issue. I am just hoping that raw tomatoes are the problem, and I can magically have them cooked… Otherwise, life just got tricky!

      • paleofoodlove
        January 8, 2016 at 12:49 pm (8 years ago)

        I am from Cincinnati, Ohio and the best chili in my opinion is Skyline Chili. The have the 3 ways, 4 ways and 5 ways. When my son and I go visit my mom in Cincinnati we have to stop in to Skyline….far from being Paleo but I allow myself to have it. No regrets afterwards either. 🙂

      • Vanessa Barajas
        January 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm (8 years ago)

        Yum! I’d love to go eat chili there too! I’ll have to bookmark it so I can go there if I’m ever in the area! I wouldn’t regret it either. 😉

  3. Laura
    January 21, 2014 at 8:07 pm (10 years ago)

    This looks soooo good!! I have added chocolate to random savory meals and usually love it. On the cornbread…. Did you know that you can grind up baby corns and add it instead of corn and it is very few carbs? I guess it doesn’t develop starches until it is more grown. I don’t know if this makes it paleo or not, but I have to watch my carbs so it is a great thing!

    • Vanessa Barajas
      January 22, 2014 at 9:12 am (10 years ago)

      Hey Laura! That’s a great little tip! I did not know that about baby corn, you learn something new everyday I guess right?! 🙂

  4. Lisa
    January 22, 2014 at 4:35 am (10 years ago)

    Looks delicious! Just to confirm before I make it – the recipe for the cornbread doesn’t call for any cornmeal, is that right? Thanks!

    • Vanessa Barajas
      January 22, 2014 at 9:10 am (10 years ago)

      That’s right! It’s grain-free and nut-free cornbread. It still ends up tasting like cornbread though, I promise. 🙂

  5. stephcormier
    January 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm (10 years ago)

    This looks amazing – my boyfriend has been whining about missing chilli and cornbread lately so I might have to put this on our meal plan for next week =D

  6. Laurie
    January 23, 2014 at 8:19 pm (10 years ago)

    This is AWESOME! My aunt used to make what she called “chilighetti”… It was delicious! Now that I am eating paleo I will be trying this recipe! 🙂

    • Vanessa Barajas
      January 23, 2014 at 9:24 pm (10 years ago)

      That’s a great name! I love it and I hope you enjoy the chili! 🙂

  7. Anne
    February 8, 2014 at 7:30 am (10 years ago)

    I love using spaghetti squash, too. I just realized a slow cooker is the way to go when cooking spaghetti squash. Prick the squash, put it in the slow cooker whole, add a cup of water, and cook on low for 8 hours. Then, carefully remove it and cut in half at the equator instead of lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and scrape strands out with a fork. The strands are longer this way. If this is a pain, just cut it lengthwise…

  8. Erin
    February 12, 2014 at 9:12 pm (10 years ago)

    I made this tonight! I added black beans because we aren’t paleo. It was the bomb. First time trying spaghetti squash- not bad, especially with something nice & thick on top! Putting leftovers over sweet potato tomorrow. Yum!

    • Vanessa Barajas
      February 13, 2014 at 8:29 am (10 years ago)

      Awesome! Glad you guys liked it! I love spaghetti squash you can do so much with it. Oh and great idea about the sweet potato, I bet it’s going to be insanely delicious! 🙂

  9. Rita
    March 9, 2014 at 9:40 am (10 years ago)

    Cincinnatian here and love my Skyline chili. This particular recipe may taste more like Goldstar since it has chocolate and cinammon in it. Luckily its gluten free and I still eat it. I will try your recipe and let you know how it rates!

    • Vanessa Barajas
      March 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm (10 years ago)

      Oh a real live Cincinnatian! Yay! I will definitely have to swing by your fair city to try the real stuff one day. 🙂

  10. pauline
    November 27, 2015 at 3:29 pm (8 years ago)

    great to find paleo bread of any kind!
    but think pseudo corn bread a better name
    read thru recipe 6 times looking for corn of any type
    and yes the bread does taste corny
    substituted coconut (solid) for palm shortening….yummy


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