Easy Paleo Chili Recipe — With or Without Meat! - Dr. Axe

Easy Paleo Chili Recipe — With or Without Meat!

Paleo chili recipe - Dr. Axe

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.

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.

For example, standard, unsprouted beans can cause digestive trouble and inflammation in the gut.

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 Ingredients

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.

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

How to Make Paleo Chili

To make this mouthwatering Paleo chili recipe, start by sautéing the meat with onions in a medium-sized pan for a few minutes, using the avocado oil. Then 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.

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Paleo chili recipe - Dr. Axe

Paleo Chili Recipe

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  • Author: Dr. Josh Axe
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Paleo-friendly chili recipes are hard to come by because the standard chili relies on beans. Not the story for this delicious bison (or beef) chili.




  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1 pound cooked ground bison, lamb, turkey or beef (optional)
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can of pumpkin purée
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or 4 cups of water and 2 scoops bone broth powder)
  • one 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 green or red pepper, diced
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ½ 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. Place the avocado oil in a medium-sized pan and sauté the onions and ground bison (or beef) for 5 minutes.
  2. Place the meat and onions along with the rest of the chili ingredients in a large slow cooker.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Ladle chili into bowls, then add the toppings.
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 8 hrs
  • Category: Main Dishes, Soups, Sides
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 144
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 375
  • Fat: 5.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.9g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3.2g
  • Trans Fat: 0.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 11.9g
  • Fiber: 3.2g
  • Protein: 11.9g
  • Cholesterol: 33mg

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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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