Umami Chili

The crisp, cool air has settled in with the arrival of fall here in the Boston area. With that, many of us are getting together to eat, drink, and cheer on our favorite football, basketball, hockey, or baseball teams (go Sox!). Whether that’s you or you just want a delicious warm meal that’s easy to batch cook and store for a week’s worth of lunches, this will fit the bill. Here’s a new take on a fall favorite that’s full of savory rich flavor.

Yield: 8-10 servings (store extra portions in freezer or fridge to enjoy all week)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes



  • 3 pounds ground turkey or beef

  • 2 medium onions, diced

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 (28 oz) cartons of crushed tomatoes

  • 2 (19 oz) cans of cooked red kidney beans, drained & rinsed

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (add more or less depending on your spice heat tolerance)

  • 2 tbsp ground cumin

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • ½ cup cashew meal or 1 cup roasted salted cashews, processed

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Umami Chicken Stock Mixture:

  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock

  • ¼ cup fish sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. Add extra virgin olive oil to a preheated large frying pan on medium heat. Add the ground meat to the pan and season with salt and pepper. After a few minutes,the meat will start to release liquid. Drain the liquid off. Stir occasionally to break up meat and cook until browned.  

  2. While the meat is browning, combine chicken stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, and cocoa powder in a measuring cup. Some of these ingredients sound strange, but trust us that it won’t taste fishy or chocolatey.   

  3. Add diced onions, peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano to the cooked meat. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

  4. Pour ½ cup of the umami chicken stock mixture into the pan and deglaze (scrub off the brown bits) the bottom of the frying pan with a wooden spoon.

  5. Transfer frying pan ingredients to a large pot. Add the remaining stock mixture.

  6. Put 1 cup of roasted salted cashews into a blender or food processor (or purchase cashew meal) and pulse until cashews turn into a meal.

  7. Stir in cashew meal, kidney beans and crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed. If chili has too much liquid for your preference, continue cooking for 10-15 minutes longer.

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Ryan Healy, BS Exercise/Sport Science, CSCS, has been a certified personal trainer for over 13 years and is a Level 2 certified nutrition coach through world-renowned Precision Nutrition. She is passionate about helping people change their lifestyle habits with support, guidance, and compassion along with helping clients train around their injuries so they can move better, feel stronger, and get more of what they want out of life. 

You can follow her on:
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