Paleo Chili Recipe — With or Without Meat!


Chili is one of the most versatile recipes around. You can make a big batch to serve friends on game days, prep on the weekend and eat throughout the week, and it’s super cozy on a cooler night.

Almost everyone has a favorite chili recipe — it’s such a versatile dish. But Paleo-friendly chili recipes are hard to come by. Most vegetarian chili recipes are loaded with beans and, if you’re trying to stick to a Paleo diet, that won’t cut it.

Paleo Chili - Dr. Axe

Why Isn’t Regular Chili ‘Paleo’?

Legumes, like black beans and kidney beans, two of the most popular ingredients in chili recipes, are off limits on the Paleo diet. While they can be a good source of protein and fiber, for some people, legumes can be a source of trouble.

Standard, unsprouted beans can cause digestive trouble and inflammation in the gut. Canned beans, which most people choose for the convenience factor over dried beans, also run the risk of being tainted with BPA’s toxic effects, which range from a vitamin D deficiency to a pre-diabetes trigger. Legumes also contain phytates, an antinutrient that prevents minerals and vitamins in food from being absorbed by the body.

Paleo Chili - Dr. Axe

For this Paleo chili recipe, you can make this a no-bean chili made from ground bison, beef, lamb or chicken. So meat-free eaters aren’t left out of the chili party, you can also simply make the meat separately (in a large pan with coconut oil and chopped onions) and add to each meat-eater’s chili bowl.

Paleo Chili - Dr. Axe

How to Make Paleo Chili

This Paleo chili checks all the boxes. It’s free of beans and dairy (and potentially meat — so it can not only be great for vegetarians, but be vegan-friendly, too). Instead of beans, my Paleo chili instead uses a mix of sweet potatoes and pumpkin to create a hearty, healthy chili. Sweet potatoes are bursting with vitamin A, while pumpkins are packed with fiber and antioxidants.

Paleo Chili - Dr. Axe

The seasonings and jalapeño in this sweet potato chili add a ton of flavor and a spicy kick, and you’ll get even more veggie goodness with zucchini, cauliflower and tomatoes all playing a role in this easy recipe. Best of all, once you prep all of the ingredients, it’s just dump and go — that’s right, this is a Paleo slow cooker recipe as well!

Paleo Chili - Dr. Axe

To make this mouthwatering Paleo chili recipe, simply add all of the ingredients (again, either add the one pound of meat in the bottom of the slow cooker for a meaty Paleo chili, or cook separately to use as a topping … or forgo meat altogether) into a large slow cooker.

Paleo Chili - Dr. Axe

Set it to cook on low-medium for 8 hours and that’s it! You’re done.

You can easily prep all the ingredients for this the night before and pop it in the slow cooker in the morning, so that this no-bean chili is ready for dinnertime with minimal fuss. If you’re hosting an early sports party, you could even set the slow cooker to cook overnight and simply keep the chili warm in the pot until company arrives.

Total Time

Prep: 30 minutes; Cooking: 8 hours



Diet Type



  • Chili:
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can of pumpkin purée
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or 4 cups of water and 1 scoop bone broth protein pure
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • one 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 green or red pepper, diced
  • 2 cups cauliflower, chopped
  • 2-3 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ½-1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 jalapeño, stem removed and chopped
  • sliced avocado, chopped green onions , plain goat yogurt
  • 1 pound cooked ground bison, lamb, turkey or beef *(optional)


  1. Place all chili ingredients (including optional meat) in a large slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low-medium for 8 hours.
  3. Ladle chili into bowls, then add the toppings (including optional meat, unless you cooked it in the slow cooker).

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  1. Pam on

    What are your thoughts on vegan or vegetarian versus paleo? Having an autoimmune I’ve tried so many “healing” diets discouraged is an understatement. Meat free for 4 weeks now but running out of ideas for soups not being able to use beans, meat.


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