What’s Inside: This cozy and comforting Paleo chili recipe is filled with ground meat and a ton of veggies to keep you full and satisfied. It’s a Whole30-friendly chili and AIP-compliant, too, with no tomatoes and no beans. This great Paleo meal prep recipe is easily made in an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or on the stovetop.
Can You Really Make Chili Without Tomatoes?
The short answer is … yes!
The long answer is that tomatoes are a common sensitivity that many people struggle to eat around, especially in the wintertime when so many crave-worthy, comforting, filling, hot meals — especially healthy soup recipes — call for them. I mean, tomatoes seem to show up in all of the best cozy foods — spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, baked ziti, tomato soup, and of course chili.
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It’s fairly common for people, especially small children, to be sensitive to nightshade vegetables, which include tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, and potatoes. Foods in the nightshade family contain alkaloids, which is an element some people are sensitive to. It’s even believed that these veggies may play a part in arthritis-like symptoms, nerve-muscle problems, and digestive problems. This is one of the reasons they’re excluded from the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol and AIP recipes.
So, of course, I set out to develop a delicious, comforting, and cozy Paleo recipe for homemade chili that was both tasty and tomato-free. And I’m happy to say this meets all of those criteria! The resulting AIP chili is a pure gastronomical miracle. You MUST try it!
And You Can Make Chili Without Beans, Too?
Yes, my dears! Another star quality of this Instant Pot chili recipe is that it has no beans. Not a single, solitary legume!
If you’ve followed my food journey thus far, you know that I’m sensitive to beans, as well as tomatoes, and choose to keep those for a rare occasion to manage my gut health and my Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Disease. The solution that has worked best for me has been to follow a Paleo-ish diet, meaning I don’t follow it to the letter and instead practice mindful eating where I because I listen to my body on what it needs and responds to best.
Figuring out what works best for you is so key to finding balance. While beans used to be a favorite of mine, legumes can be inflammatory and difficult to digest, further attributing to leaky gut syndrome. This is a key reason legumes are excluded from the Paleo diet, which on top of being gluten-free is also grain-free and focused on nutrient-dense foods.
And this chili recipe is a great example of how you can tailor a favorite food to your body and your needs, and still have it come out delicious, comforting, and even better than what you remember (without the flare-ups)!
Key Ingredients for This Instant Pot Paleo Chili
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: To keep your meat and veggies from sticking to the pot.
Ground Meat: I like to use a mix of grass-fed bison and pastured pork, but you can pick any you like. Ground beef or ground turkey are great, as well!
Onion: For this Paleo chili recipe, one yellow onion — diced — does the trick. You could also use a white onion, if you prefer that flavor, but avoid red.
Garlic: Three cloves, minced. (or four if you’re a garlic lover, but I wouldn’t use more than that).
Root Veggies: I like to used three cups total of mixed cubed butternut squash, carrots, and rutabaga; but you could use any root veggies you like, including sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, etc… I also use a pre-chopped soup mix to make this recipe even easier.
Herbs: Chop a tablespoon each of fresh dill and fresh parsley (or a teaspoon of the dried varieties).
Spices: This recipe calls for cinnamon, ginger, oregano, sea salt, and bay leaves. Throw some freshly ground pepper in there, too, if you like (and aren’t on AIP elimination phase)!
Pumpkin Purée: This offers a wonderful fall flavor to the chili and also helps thicken it up, in place of traditionally used tomato purée.
Bone Broth: Two cups total, or three cups if using stovetop method. For AIP, use an AIP-friendly bone broth. Homemade is likely best, or any meat stock. If you’d like it to be more of a soup, you can eyeball it and add more where I’m making it more of a “stew”.
Optional garnish: Avocado slices, coconut yogurt, fresh chopped herbs, and/or a sprinkle of sea salt. If you like to top it differently, tell me in the comments below!
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Tip: Using a variety of vegetables in your diet is essential for gut health! I love to use frozen vegetables for this, and trying new in-season veggies to try. This is a perfect recipe to try a variety for, with all the flavors melding together!
How To Make My AIP Paleo Chili Recipe in the Instant Pot
Prep Your Instant Pot: Set the Instant Pot to “SAUTE” and add extra-virgin olive oil to the pot while it preheats.
Brown the Meat: Once shimmering, add meat and mix up with a wooden spoon until browned, about 5-8 mins.
Cook the Onion and Garlic: Once liquid released from the meat has mostly absorbed, add chopped onions and minced garlic. Mix for a minute or so until onions are soft and garlic is fragrant (be careful not to burn the garlic). Season with sea salt.
Cook the Root Veggies: Add the cubed root veggies and herbs, mix again.
Season Your Meat and Veggie Mixture: Add all seasonings and the pumpkin purée, continuing to mix well with the spoon so It’s coating everything.
Add Liquid and Bay Leaves, Then Cook: Add bone broth over top and finish off with 2 bay leaves. Seal the Instant Pot and set to “meat/stew” for 20 minutes. Allow it to naturally release for at least 10 minutes.
Serve hot and enjoy!
How To Make This AIP Chili in the Slow Cooker or On the Stove Top
Don’t have an Instant Pot (aka electric pressure cooker)? Don’t fret! You can also make this AIP chili on the stovetop or in your slow cooker. Just follow these instructions for each:
Stovetop: Follow the same directions as Instant Pot, except instead of using 2 cups bone broth, use 3 cups and simmer it in a partially-covered stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat for 1 hour or until the flavors meld. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, if at all.
Slow Cooker: Use a pot on the stove to do all the sautéing before transferring everything to the slow cooker. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 6-8 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, if at all.
What To Serve with This Paleo Chili
This Instant Pot Paleo Chili recipe is the perfect weeknight meal or weekend dinner, whether it’s just you and your family or if you’re hosting friends. It’s great in a bowl on its own, maybe topped with a little avocado and a dollop of coconut yogurt (as pictured). Or you can totally “beef it up” even more and serve with any of these grain-free sides:
How To Store, Freeze, and Reheat Leftover Paleo Chili
To Store: Place cooled leftover Paleo chili in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days.
To Freeze: Store completely cooled leftover chili in an airtight, freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag for up to three months. If freezing in a bag, make sure to lay it flat while it freezes to optimize space in your freezer.
To Reheat: Pour leftover chili into a medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until warmed through. Serve and enjoy! (You can also microwave leftovers in individual bowls at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, but I recommend reheating any soup on the stove, if possible). The flavor and texture is always better than when you zap it in the microwave. Either way, the flavors of this chili are enhanced the longer it sits, so it’s one of those recipes that’s even better the next day!
More Recipes To Try
If you liked this Instant Pot Paleo Chili, then you’ll love these cozy recipes, too!
This cozy and comforting Paleo chili recipe is filled with ground meat, and a ton of veggies to fill your belly. It’s a Whole30-friendly chili, and AIP compliant too with no tomatoes and no beans. This great Paleo meal prep recipe is easily made in an Instant Pot, slow cooker or stovetop.
Brown the meat by setting Instant Pot to “SAUTE” and adding extra-virgin olive oil to the pot. Once shimmering, add meat and mix up with a wooden spoon until browned after 5-8 mins.
Once liquid released from the meat has mostly absorbed, add chopped onions and minced garlic. Mix for a minute or so until onions are soft. Season with sea salt.
Next, add the cubed root veggies and herbs, mix again.
Next, season with all seasonings and pumpkin purée, continuing to mix well with the spoon so it's coating everything.
Add bone broth over top and finish off with 2 bay leaves. Seal the Instant Pot and set to “meat/stew” for 20 minutes. Allow it to naturally release for at least 10 minutes and serve when ready!
Don’t have an Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker)? You can make it on the stovetop or in your Slow Cooker, too! Use the directions below.Stovetop:Follow the same directions as Instant Pot, except: Instead of using 2 cups bone broth, use 3 cups and simmer it in a partially-covered stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat for 1 hour or until the flavors meld.Slow Cooker:Use a pot on the stove to do all the sautéing, before transferring everything to the slow cooker. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 6-8 hours.