Shredded Pork Pumpkin Chipotle Chili

Slow cooked pork chili, shredded in to the sauce it mingles beautifully…plenty of heat, cashew cream and “zucchini cheese”, a duo of cooling toppings, candied coconut sugar cinnamon baked pumpkin seeds for a final crunch and hit of contrasting sweetness. Truly beautiful, belly loving, warming, comfort food.

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It’s officially Winter here in Ireland…I had to defrost my window the speedy way at 6am on Monday morning a.k.a with a pot of warm water! On my way to sunrise spin I had no desire to sit and wait for the car to heat up, the window to thaw “naturally”… I did consider running up the road to the gym but with temps just below freezing I don’t think I would have thawed out in time to get my feet on the peddles!

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Sitting here on Tuesday evening at 10.30pm I’m torn between legging it to bed to get an extra half and hours sleep or to continue to brave the chill and continue typing. I’m going with ten more minutes, blog post complete or not. I’m not a fan of Winter, the only exception being Christmas period and the fact I can get away without washing my hair in favour of sticking a cosy hat on my head. I wouldn’t last in a country that gets a proper “Winter”…snow and freezing temperatures + me…=pretty much my idea of hell.

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A warming comforting pumpkin and pork laced bowl of chipotle chili obviously helps enormously! Post morning workout and hot steamy shower this savoury bowl of deliciousness was called breakfast. Inspired and adapted from Half Baked Harvest’s beautiful as ever concoction, that girl has some skill in the kitchen and photography department! So darn creative…I just had to give the baked pumpkin seeds a go and was delighted I did. Incredibly addictive, moreish, lightly sweet…I ate about half the batch before the chili hit the bowl.

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I decided to go all out on the toppings front because lets face it…that’s what chili was made for! I’d spotted a couple or more of different recipes for zucchini and cauliflower cheese across the web…I went with the former because cauliflower doesn’t need another use in my household!

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I LOVED it! The texture, the cheesy flavour…altogether awesome! Ok so it doesn’t melt or become in any way stringy but seen as I’m quite the fan or cold – room temperature food, especially chili…perhaps mildly warm this time of year, it was the perfect final topping! I devoured the rest in a shredded brussel and bacon salad with plenty of paleo mayo. Definitely something I’ll be making again. I adapted this recipe…adding in lots more nutritional yeast, some garlic and onion powder. Get my version here!

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I think this beats the “beanless chili”…though I’m be no means saying it doesn’t hold a place in my heart, it’s by far the speedier option…pulled pork just wins the majority of the time! Totally worth waiting for…I’m only sorry I didn’t make a bigger batch.

What’s your favourite type of chili? Any alternative topping ideas?

Lightly adapted from @HalfBakedHarvest

Pulled Pork Chipotle Pumpkin Chili

by Michelle Hunt

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2-3 hours

Keywords: bake entree gluten-free grain free low-carb paleo soy-free chili chipotle pork pumpkin

Ingredients (Serves 2-4)

  • 1lb (454g) pork shoulder roast or butt
  • 1.5 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste/powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cayenne pepper
  • 180ml (3/4 cup) water
  • 250ml (1 cup) passata
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) tomato paste
  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin, diced, skin on
  • Himilayan Rock Salt to taste

To Serve

Sweet Cinnamon Baked Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1/2 cup (70g) pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil/ghee melted
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of Himilayan Rock salt to taste


Preheat oven to 300F (150C).

Add the pork to a deep casserole dish. Drizzle the honey over the pork and then sprinkle with chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and season with 1/2 tsp Pink Himilayan Rock Salt. Pour in the passata, water and add in the pumpkin. Give the liquid a quick stir.

Cover the dish with a lid or tightly with foil and cook in the preheated oven for 2.5 – 3 hours, until pork easily pulls apart.

Make the pumpkin seeds!

Melt the ghee or oil in pan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Toss well and then spread the mixture out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast at 180C (350F), once the pork is cooked or prepare these in advance, for 30 minutes, tossing at least three times during the cooking time.

Remove the pork from the casserole dish and let cool slightly. Lightly shred the pork with two forks or your hands and return the meat to the sauce.

To serve, ladle the chili into bowls. Top with a dollop of cashew cream, a sprinkle of coriander, pumpkin seeds and hunks of zucchini “cheese” if desired..highly recommended!

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