This Whole30 Chili Recipe Will Be Your Best Friend on Cold Winter Nights

Photo: Getty Images / Ray Kachatorian

whole30 chili melissa hartwig
Photo: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Like a big bowl of mac-and-cheese or sizzling lasagna, chili is pure comfort food—especially on those nights when you fully plan on sleeping in your socks and your old college sweatshirt.

The beauty of chili is that it's virtually fool proof. You can throw almost anything you want into it that you want to use up from your fridge and it'll still turn out pretty great. It's also infinitely adaptable. Vegans can nix the meat in favor of lentils or more beans; Paleo eaters can If you're vegan, use lentils for your protein. More of a Paleo eater? Go for ground turkey. And as proven in Melissa Hartwig's latest book, The Whole30 Slow Cooker, it's also easy to make chili Whole30-compliant.

Contrary to what you may think, you don't need beans or lentils (two foods that are persona non grata on Whole30) to make chili. And Hartwig's take has everything you could want in a bowl of comfort food dinner: noodles (made from butternut squash), warming spices (oh hey there, cumin and chili peppers), protein (from ground beef), and even a hint of sweetness thanks to cocoa powder and cinnamon.

Get out your slow cooker and try out the following Whole30 chili recipe below:

Cincinnati chili butternut-noodle bowl

Serves 6

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño or serrano chili pepper, seeded (if desired) and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 oz.) Whole30-compliant fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 3/4 cups Whole30-compliant beef broth or beef bone broth
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 package (12 oz.) frozen butternut squash noodles
Sliced green onions


1. In a four-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, chili pepper, and garlic. In a large bowl, stir together the tomatoes, broth, chili powder, cocoa powder, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon. Pour into the cooker. Break the ground beef into small pieces and arrange it over the sauce mixture. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

2. Cover and cook on low for six to seven hours or on high for three to three-and-a-half hours.

3. Stir in the butternut squash noodles. (If on low, turn the slow cooker to the high setting.) Cover and cook for ten minutes longer, or until the squash is just tender (do not overcook). Serve, topped with sliced green onions.

Cincinnati chili butternut-noodle bowls is excerpted from The Whole30 Slow Cooker © 2018 by Melissa Hartwig. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

For more recipes to make on freezing cold nights, check out this butternut squash recipe you can make in your Instant Pot and this gluten-free, Middle Eastern-inspired flatbread halloumi manakeesh

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