Easy Paleo Chili Recipe

Cutting back on carbs doesn’t mean you have to cut back on your favorite foods. This Paleo Chili is low carb, packed with protein and is made with fresh tomatoes. No canned tomatoes here!

Paleo Chili - This Gal CooksPaleo Chili

You may be asking yourself, what is “paleo” chili? I asked myself the same thing when I first heard the term paleo last year. What is paleo? I did a little research and found that paleo is similar to low carb. But paleo diets are diets that stick to food as it was naturally indented to be eaten. Caveman diet. What our ancestors ate. Paleo diets consist of foods that are as close to nature as they can be. And they don’t include any refined sugars or processed foods. So say goodbye to your grains, potatoes, dairy products and processed oils.

Or don’t.

I haven’t said goodbye to any of those foods but I do like to incorporate healthier, unprocessed foods into my diet. While not totally sticking to a paleo type diet, I’ve incorporated some of the foods into my diet for the past couple of weeks. And I feel tons better now. And I’ve even lost about 5 pounds. All while eating foods like meats, cheeses, veggies and even the occasional beer. Definitely not a paleo diet but much healthier than what I was eating on a daily basis.

Paleo Chili - This Gal Cooks

You won’t find any added refined sugar in this chili. Nor will you find any gluten, canned tomatoes or carb filled ingredients such as beans. This chili is bean free and it’s made with fresh tomatoes. OH. WAIT. And there is a “secret” ingredient in this chili. Cocoa powder. Yep. Get your chocolate fix here. Well, actually, you can’t really taste the chocolate but the cocoa powder does add a nice flavor to this chili.

This chili is definitely something your palate will have to adjust to. It does taste different than your typical chili. I recommend making it a day ahead of time to let the flavors blend together. It’s still good, though. You won’t feel guilty after eating this chili!

Paleo Chili

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8 servings

Paleo Chili


  • 3 slices of uncooked bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp combination of red chili peppers and jalapeños, diced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced. Be sure to reserve the juices. You'll add them to the chili.
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 C beef broth
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch to thicken
  • salt to taste


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook the bacon.
  2. Add the onion and peppers and sauté until tender. Add the garlic and cook until tender.
  3. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
  4. Add the spices, broth and tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the cocoa powder and cider vinegar. Simmer for 20-30 more minutes.
  6. Stir in the cornstarch. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  7. Serve with cheese, sour cream and/or green onions.


Adapted from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier.

Cornstarch isn't considered paleo but I added a little to my recipe to thicken it up a little. The amount I added is so small that it doesn't really affect the carb count in this recipe. You could also add some tomato paste (I suggest organic, low sodium, no sugar added) to thicken it. Unfortunately, I did not have any tomato paste.

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  1. says

    Mmm, this looks so delicious! And I’m sure that the cocoa powder addition is a genius one ;–) I’m happy to see that your new diet is working fine for you and that you’re feeling much better. That’s great!
    Hope you had such a wonderful Christmas too :-)

    • says

      Thank you, Consuelo! I gotta stick with it. It isn’t too hard. For one week, no sweets but now I have some every once in a while. Like today. Cause I made cookies! :) Hope you had a good weekend and have a Happy New Year!

    • says

      Thank you, Lisa! I hadn’t heard of them until last year. Someone told me my meal was paleo and I was like “huh”? So I looked it up and I was like “oh ok.” Hope you had a good weekend!

    • says

      Thank you, Deb! Heh, I have lost about 6 lbs the past two weeks. For one week, I ate no sweets at all and very little carbs. This week I had more carbs but limited to once a day. And I have even had a few cookies but still losing some weight. Yeah! Hope you had a good weekend. :)

    • says

      Thank you, Becca! I did low carb last summer and did will with it. I’m trying to do it again now. But what I do is eat low carb throughout the day and then maybe have one or two carbs at dinner. And I try to have whole foods when I have those carbs. I have been eating the Ezekial sprouted grain bread. It’s pretty good and all it is is grains. No sugar or weird ingredients. But I’ll admit, I do sometimes have one sweet per day. But that’s it! Good luck to you and thanks for stopping by. :)

    • says

      Aww, I know how that is! I am not going totally paleo but I do like to incorporate into the diet. It is hard to find good recipes that are enjoyable! Thanks for stopping by, Layla. :)

  2. says

    I like your take on things! I haven’t paid much attention to the paleo diet because I know I couldn’t completely cut out carbs. My goal for the new year, though, is to incorporate more healthy foods into our diet, and we love chili. So, I’ll be giving this a try! Thanks for sharing this, Julie!

  3. says

    I love chili and this looks delicious Julie! Love the sound of this paleo version with fresh tomatoes and no refined carbs or sugar. I totally agree, I try to incorporate a cleaner diet here and there but it can be hard for our family to stick to just one particular diet and I’m so glad to hear that incorporating some paleo foods is working for you :) Pinning and thanks for sharing, hope you had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

  4. says

    I was just reading about the Paleo diet last night! Of course this morning I ate wheat and dairy. It looks hard to follow, but I think it will help to have a few good recipes that help to not feel deprived! I am pinning this to make! Thanks for linking to Whimsy Wednesdays!


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