Skillet Chili with Kale, Spinach, and Onion

Skillet Chili with Kale, Spinach, and Onion (Serves 1-2)

Real chili must simmer for several hours, but you can make a quick version in 20 to 25 minutes that I call skillet chili. Skillet chili is ground beef and onions browned in a skillet with the same spices you would use for real chili. You can turn skillet chili into a meal by using the hot chili to wilt kale and spinach.

Prep and Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredient list:

1 pound of ground beef
1 big bunch of fresh kale
1 big bunch of fresh spinach
1 sweet yellow onion
Balsamic vinegar
Coconut oil
Unsweetened cocoa – 2 tablespoons
Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
Ground cumin – 1 teaspoon
Ground coriander – 1 teaspoon
Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon

Directions: Rinse kale and cut into bite-size pieces with a pair of kitchen shears. If you have good, fresh kale like I get from my local farmer, include the stems because they cook down and soften nicely under heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Peel and chop onion into half-moon slices. Add to skillet and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add ground beef and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula as the meat browns. Add spices and stir to mix. Add a generous splash of balsamic vinegar to add quick depth to the chili. After the meat is completely browned, add as much kale and spinach to the skillet as you can and stir until it wilts. Keep adding kale and spinach until all of it wilts in with the chili. Taste the mixture and add spices as needed to achieve the taste you like. I often need to add more salt and sometimes need to add more chili powder. Once you achieve the taste you like, transfer everything to plates and enjoy!

Notes: My cast iron skillet is a 12-inch Lodge Logic with matching iron cover. A cast iron skillet might be the greatest cooking tool ever. The 12-inch size is seriously heavy when loaded with food and big enough to cook for a family, but I don’t think I could get enough vegetables in a 10-inch skillet to satisfy me. Lodge is a great brand of cookware. Check it out in my online Store.

Printer friendly version: Skillet Chili with Kale, Spinach, and Onion


15 Responses to “Skillet Chili with Kale, Spinach, and Onion”

  1. Tom,
    I tried this for the first time tonight and it was a great success! Thanks for posting all of the great recipes. It’s made my transition to a Paleo diet over the last two months much easier! Keep ’em coming!
    Nik K.
    Lansdale, PA

    • Tom Denham says:

      That is so cool. I made it the first time Sunday night and you made it the first time on Tuesday.

      • Like you say in a lot of your recipes, you can never have enough leafy green veggies in a dish! I wilt a big helping of spinach with chicken sausage and eggs for breakfast all of the time!

  2. This was amazing! My nine year old couldn’t get enough! Thanks Tom!

  3. I made this tonite, and we enjoyed it. I made one mistake, though, as I added three slices of bacon with the onions, and didn’t factor in the salt. So it was a wee bit salty, cuz I didn’t adjust when I added the seasonings. Also, I added almost a cup of chicken broth, in little dribs and drabs, as the spinach and kale melted. Seems like it would be way too dry without any added liquid. Sure that didn’t help with the saltiness either. I ate it and liked it as is, and my hubby wrapped it in tortillas and devoured it too.

    • Tom Denham says:

      I add too much spice occasionally, especially when I am shaking spice from a container and too much tumbles out at once. I guess the trick is to always put in a little, then taste and adjust, but I often attempt to get it right in one step. Oh well. I can eat salty food occasionally.

  4. Tom, this was amazing! I like my chili a little saucier, so I added a small can of Rotel sauce before I wilted in the greens and had half an avocado on top. Soooo good and so easy. This will definitely become a go-to dinner.

  5. I made this tonight. I’m on day 16 of my first whole 30 and was looking for something different! It came out great! Definitely a keeper! Thanks so much!

  6. This recipe is easily adapted, too. I can’t have nightshades, so I left out the chili powder (and the cocoa, since it’s usually a partner for the chili), and added some black pepper along with the rest of your recommended spices. It wasn’t chili, but it was delicious! Thanks for the quick meal. My husband loved it, too.

  7. Just made this as my recipe for day one of whole30… and it is delicious! Thanks so much 🙂

  8. Juliana says:

    Hi Tom,
    I bought a bag of kale and spinach and wanted to do something different with it then just a salad. I googled and happened upon your site. I followed your recipe and loved how simple yet delicious the food was. My whole family loved it.
    I read some of your other recopies. Finally I found what I was looking for such a long time: quick, simple and yet original and delicious meal, which are also healthy.
    Thank you for sharing. Please keep your website going.

    • Tom Denham says:

      Thanks Juliana. I have not posted new recipes lately, but I make new things almost every week. I will post again and keep it going!


  1. Skillet Chili with Onions and Jalapenos over Wilted Greens | Whole Life Eating - [...] shared a recipe for “skillet chili” back in January, but my approach has become simpler so here is an…

Leave a Reply