AIP Beef Chili

Every fall, when the temperature starts to drop I get full fledge into soup, stew and chili mode. I grew up with a dad who could eat a hot steaming bowl of soup just about any time of the year, so just the slightest chill makes it suitable for me to pull out the stock pots.

Last year when I started the Autoimmune Protocol, I realized that my obsession with tomatoes and peppers may not be such a good thing. I, very patiently, maintained my AIP diet and then tried and tried to reintroduce tomatoes and peppers, unsuccessfully. This made chili a thing of the past for me, something I was very sad to see go.

Many people don’t realize what nightshades are and exactly how they can effect people, especially those who suffer from autoimmune conditions. I have been scrutinized for being “too picky” about what I eat at times, especially when really eliminating nightshades can make being a dinner guest difficult. The Paleo Mom has a fantastic write up on her blog here about nightshades, what they are and what they do. For me the most problematic nightshades, things I had to really get used to not having on a daily or weekly basis were tomatoes, peppers, paprika (previously my favorite spice), hot peppers, bell peppers and white potatoes. All of those food items and their spice counterparts, cause a severe reaction. Generally the first symptom is a trigger of the migraines, moving on to bursts of eczema and hives, reflux and intense joint pain. It isn’t good, but knowing that nightshades hurt me makes it easier to cut the chord, so to speak.

As we move into the New Year, its also approaching time for our churches annual Chili Cook-Off. I know your thinking… a

Pumpkin and carrot puree

church cook off, big deal. Let me tell you… these folks are competitive with their chili. You walk into the room and the tables wind around more than half of the space, crock pot after crock pot of steamy, spicy goodness. Pots filled with anything from beef, venison to bison meat, even vegetarian. Some chili with beans, some without, and many extra condiments placed around the pots to compliment the delicious sampling. If you never competed in a chili cook off in a church, especially our church, you just don’t know. The wonderful folks at my church prep for weeks, hone ingredients and make careful choices. It is a far cry from your after-service potluck. Its also a place that I have felt pretty good eating because the chili tend to gluten-free, dairy-free (unless you add cheese) and pretty straight forward on ingredients. Last year my classic family chili recipe, a take on a Cincinnati style chili, took the top prize amongst 35 or more competitors. But that was before the elimination of nightshades.

Thus far, I had not attempted to eat nor make chili since The Big Elimination (its like a climate change in our home). But I made my AIP Pumpkin Nachos earlier in the week for the kiddo’s special family game night dinner. I had added a little too much liquid… which made it look a little like chili… which got my brain thinking. Because I feel like a good chili NEEDS to cook low and slow to really develop flavors I decided that during the weekend I would give it a shot.

The resulting AIP Beef Chili was delicious! My family had no idea that there were NOT any tomatoes or peppers in it and I seriously had

AIP Chili

AIP Friendly Beef Chili with sweet potato fries

to guard the pot with a wooden spoon to keep those little savages at bay. The base of the chili is pumpkin and carrot with a few extras to give it a slight tomato-y zing. I use cumin for the spice blend for this chili- and cumin as The Paleo Mom details here is a seed which can be a inflammatory and eliminated for AIP. I have included it in the recipe because its NOT a nightshade and I do not react to this particular spice. But, that being said, if you are early AIP, you can remove the cumin and substitute that with 1 teaspoon toasted ground caraway (toast the seeds then ground them for a smokier flavor) and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. The flavor is not going to be exactly the same, but no fear of reactions if your early in your AIP journey.

I can easily see making a double recipe of this chili and keeping some squirreled away in the freeze for a quick meal- or more likely in my family, consumed in one night. Now I feel confident that I can walk into that room at church with my crock of steamy chili… the only one I will be able to eat now and probably still be a competitor even without the tomatoes and peppers. In the very worst case, I know I have won over my family, and that is still winning in my book.


AIP Beef Chili
Serves 8
AIP-friendly and paleo chili, nightshade free but full of flavor.
Write a review
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Total Time
6 hr 40 min
  1. 1 C cooked, pureed carrots
  2. 1 1/2 C cooked pureed pumpkin
  3. 2 lbs pastured ground beef
  4. 2 C bone broth, chicken or beef (if you don't have bone broth substitute for regular chicken broth)
  5. 1 head roasted garlic, minced
  6. 3/4 C red onion, chopped
  7. 3 T lard or coconut oil
  8. 1 T honey
  9. 3 T apple cider vinegar
  10. 1 T chopped kalamata olives
  11. 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  12. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  13. 1 tsp dried oregano
  14. 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  15. 1/2 tsp dried basil
  16. 1 bay leaf
  1. 1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top of a head of garlic off (the pointy tip, about 1/2 inch). Place in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes until the top of the garlic cloves look dark brown/black. Remove from oven and cool.
  2. 2. In a pan, heat oil or cooking fat over medium high heat. Add the onion and sautee until slightly browned.
  3. 3. Add meat to the pan with the onions and cook through. Remove from heat.
  4. 4. In a small bowl combine cumin, black pepper, oregano, coriander and basil.
  5. 5. Add the meat the bowl of your crock pot.
  6. 6. Add carrot, pumpkin, broth, garlic, honey, apple cider vinegar, olives and spice blend.
  7. 7. Blend together until well combined. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low heat.
  8. 8. Serve with chips, sweet potato or on its own. Enjoy!
  1. There are several "seed" based spice, but no nightshades. If you are early AIP or can not tolerate seed based spices substitute 1 teaspoon toasted caraway and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon for the cumin and black pepper. The taste will be different but totally AIP safe.
Cake Cooks Gluten-free

16 thoughts on “AIP Beef Chili

  1. Pingback: autoimmune paleo slow cooker recipes

  2. Emily

    Thank you for the recipe – my family loved it! My almost 7 year old who won’t eat cooked carrots or any type of squash said that he hoped that I made a double batch. My husband whose favorite food is anything tomato based and who is leery of changing “classic” recipes (like chili) smelled it and said that reminded him of a chili cheese sauce (before I told him that it was chili) and then proceeded to eat about half of the recipe.

    • Cake Post author

      Emily- I am so glad to hear it! My family too loves this recipe and we do have to make a double batch. I feel like any time I can get a bunch of veggies in with the kids without them noticing, score. I don’t hide it, I do tell them exactly what it is… after they taste it :)

  3. Pingback: Link Love (2014-06-21) | Becky's Kaleidoscope

  4. BJ

    I just made this – in spite of the Texas heat! It is absolutely wonderful and I plan to use this recipe over and over and over!

    Thank you!

  5. Kimberly

    Since I was on this page to get the recipe YET AGAIN, thought I’d say thank you for it, from everyone in our family. I’m going to triple it this time – still searching for the amount that will actually leave leftovers for lunch the next day! Might have to buy a second crockpot and have them both going . . . yep, it’s just that good :-).

    • Cake Post author

      Kimberly- I am so glad you like it (that much!). It is definitely a standby in our house here and I agree, I can never seem to make enough for these guys! We use the same base to do AIP Nachos, which are my son’s favorite.

    • Cake Post author

      Kim- SO sorry for the FOREVER late reply. Carrots are an easy one to sub out, if your still trying. You can substitute carrots for parsnips (if you can tolerate them) or, if you are a beet fan, beets make a great flavor addition or substitution.

  6. jess

    I’ll admit, I was skeptical of this recipe. Replicate tomato sauce? Come on. Anyway, I wanted to spruce it up a bit with my own flavors, but I decided to stick with the original recipe. (I did omit cumin, because I don’t like it.)
    THIS RECIPE IS UNREAL! My whole family loved it. The boys had two bowls, even my picky Eater had seconds! AIP baby licked his bowl clean. Seriously, don’t even bother making it unless you’re making a double batch. So amazing! Thanks so much for this recipe.
    I plan on playing with it a bit to make a “nomatoe” sauce to serve with some spaghetti squash this week. I think it will be awesomeee.
    Life changing, y’all. Go make it.

  7. Pingback: AIP-Friendly Main Dish Meals | Easily Paleo...

  8. Sara Sackville

    Can’t wait to try this! Was searching for just such a recipe. Doing AIP diet stuff is like picking your way through a mine field! So very nice to have a “safe” path laid out for me on my first chili endeavor.

    • Cake Post author

      Nope, not really at all. The olives just add a little more acidity that you would otherwise be missing from the tomatoes.

  9. Joy

    I’m interested in trying this out while I’m planning my AIP adventure soon but was sad to see it has seeds in it. Aren’t coriander seeds also not used in AIP? What would you sub for that?

    • Cake Post author

      Joy- I did mention in the post that there are a few non-aip seed based spices which have been left out with the recipe as well with a little less flavor, but they are not detrimental. We have bumped up the garlic by using 1 tsp of powdered garlic instead of the coriander and cumin.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *