This whole eating healthy thing? It is SO DOABLE, not just in January, but year round! To state my case, here is an, healthy, all in one meal for you: Whole30 Chili. It’s made with wholesome, nutritious ingredients like sweet potatoes and lean meat, it’s is high in protein and fiber, and (this is key!) it is rich in flavor and ultra satisfying.
The first week of January sometimes feels like a polar plunge from the warm, cozy hug of holiday cookies and champagne into dry, cold, “healthy” food. It doesn’t have to be this way!
I passionately believe that eating well should not to taste like a sacrifice. Healthy recipes like this one shouldn’t require you to spend a fortune on ingredients or make trips to specialty stores. That’s my goal with my recipes here (especially the ones in my upcoming cookbook!).
Whether or not you are following a Whole30 diet, this Whole30 chili is a worthy recipe to make and eat year-round. It’s thick and hearty the way a good chili should be. The spices are complex, it’s made to be smothered in yummy chili toppings, and it’s also packed with healthy ingredients to make it a wholesome, well-rounded meal.
This recipe is my top-rated Instant Pot Paleo Chili. It uses the same sneak healthy ingredient (a can of pumpkin—trust me, it’s beyond delish!), but it cooks on the stovetop.
Chili is also a meal prepper’s dream. You could chop the sweet potatoes, onion, and bell peppers in the morning or the night before, then finish up the recipe when you get home from work. Since chili tastes even better the next day, you could also cook it one weekend afternoon, then warm it up for fast, healthy lunches and Whole30 dinners all week long.
Since this recipe is Whole30 compliant (and also Paleo compliant, grain free, and gluten free), I made the chili without beans. If you aren’t concerned with the recipe being diet specific, you can certainly add black beans or kidney beans if you like—this is what I often do when I make my Healthy Turkey Chili.
How to Make The Best Whole30 Chili Recipe
Feel free to adjust the spices and even vegetables in this recipe to your taste. You could swap the sweet potatoes for butternut squash or even carrots. Like your chili spicy? Toss in an extra pinch cumin or chipotle chili powder.
- Lean Ground Beef. Meat makes this chili hearty and filling. You can also make the chili with ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer. For something more adventurous, try ground bison. It has flavor similar to beef but is leaner (this is actually what I use most often for this recipe).
- Sweet Potatoes. Fiber rich, high in antioxidants, and they add a serving of vegetables, making this chili a healthy all-in-one dinner. You can also make the whole30 chili with butternut squash or with carrots instead.
- Red and Green Bell Peppers. More veggies (which means more nutrients) and more flavor too.
- Pumpkin Puree. I realize this sounds nuts, but it works so, so well here. The chili doesn’t taste like pumpkin; rather, the pumpkin makes the chili extra rich and thick and sneaks in yet another serving of vegetables.
- Spices. A combination of salt, pepper, oregano, chipotle chili powder, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and cinnamon produces the perfect amount of heat and rich flavor.
- Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes. A staple in my pantry, fire roasted diced tomatoes add immediate flavor to the chili.
- Toppings! One of the best parts of a bowl of chili is the way you top it off. See below for more suggestions.
Add ghee to a large Dutch oven. Once hot, add meat, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook until meat is browned.
Add the spices, and stir to coat.
Splash in part of the broth, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining broth and vegetables.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cover part of the pot with a lid. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve hot with desired toppings, and ENJOY!
What to Eat with Whole30 Chili
- Vegetables. A side of Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, or Roasted Zucchini would be healthy and delicious. (Omit any cheese if following Whole30.)
- Salad. For a fresh, light side dish, try this Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad (If following a Whole30 diet, omit the honey and use a Whole30 compliant cheese in place of the goat cheese.)
- Applesauce. Serve a cooling bowl of Crockpot Applesauce with this chili. (To make Whole30, omit the honey.)
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat chili in a large pot on the stove over medium heat until hot, adding splashes of broth or water as needed. You can also rewarm this chili in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To Make Ahead. Chop the sweet potatoes, peppers, and onions. Brown the meat and sauté the onions, coating both in the spices. Store them in the refrigerator until ready to cook. When ready to cook, begin with Step 3 and finish cooking as directed.
More Favorite Chili Recipes
Recommended Tools to Make Whole30 Chili
- Dutch Oven. The ideal sturdy pot for making this chili.
- Ladle. Makes it easy to transfer soup to bowls and storage containers.
- Cutting Board. I love how much space this one has!
Here’s to eating foods you love without giving up the big, bold flavors that make meal time exciting!
- 1/2 tablespoon ghee - coconut oil, or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound 90% to 93% lean ground beef - or ground turkey, ground bison, or a mix (I used 85% lean ground bison)
- 1 small yellow onion - diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground chipotle chili powder - use less if you prefer a less spicy chili
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 to 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water - divided
- 1 large sweet potato - cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 red bell peppers - diced
- 1 green bell pepper - diced
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
- 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes in their juices - make sure they are no sugar added if you are looking to be truly Whole30 compliant
- Sliced jalapeno - avocado, chopped cilantro, or red onion, for serving
- Heat a large Dutch oven or similar large, sturdy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the ghee or oil. When it is hot, add the meat, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, breaking apart and browning the meat, until the it is no longer pink and the onion is beginning to soften, about 7 minutes. If it seems very greasy, drain it off (the amount of fat that cooks off will depend upon the meat you use).
- Add the oregano, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder, garlic powder, and cinnamon. Stir to evenly coat the meat and vegetables with the spices. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Splash in about 1/2 cup of the broth and run a wooden spoon or rubber spatula along the bottom of the pot to scrape up any brown bits (this is flavor!). Add the next 1 1/2 cups broth, sweet potato, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, pumpkin and diced tomatoes and stir to evenly combine.
- Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Use a lid to cover the pot part way. Continue to simmer until the chili is thickened and the sweet potatoes have softened, stirring it periodically to prevent it from sticking, about 20 to 30 additional minutes. If the chili isn't becoming as thick as you like, let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes without the lid. If the chili seems too thick, stir in additional broth to reach your desired consistency (chili thickness is completely personal preference. We like ours fairly thick, and the chili will thicken further as it cools too). Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot with desired toppings.
- TO STORE: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently reheat chili in a large pot on the stove over medium heat until hot, adding splashes of broth or water as needed. You can also rewarm this chili in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Chop the sweet potatoes, peppers, and onions. Brown the meat and sauté the onions, coating both in the spices. Store them in the refrigerator until ready to cook. When ready to cook, begin with Step 3 and finish cooking as directed.
- TO MAKE IN THE SLOW COOKER: Sauté the meat, onions, and spices in a large nonstick skillet on the stovetop. Transfer to a lightly greased 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients in the order listed. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
- TO COOK IN THE INSTANT POT: See my Instant Pot Paleo Chili.
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