Smoky AIP Chili {AIP, Paleo, Whole 30}

 This totally AIP chili gives you all the depth of flavor of the traditional chili that you remember, without a tomato or chili pepper anywhere in sight.
a bog bowl of AIP chili on a red and white napkin
If you’re new to AIP and just the thought of nightshade spices makes your joints hurt, then I suggest you skip ahead to the recipe where there isn’t a nightshade in sight. But, if you want a good nightshade induced laugh then stick around. Did you know that spices have different strengths in different countries? Or, that what is sold as ‘chili powder’ in America is not the same thing as what is sold as ‘chili powder’ in the rest of the world? 

I remember my mom learning this the hard way when we moved to Kenya. Her faithful chili recipe called for a significant amount of chili powder (probably a couple of tablespoons). The day came when it was time to make chili with ingredients sourced in Kenya. The meat was browned, onions caramelized, cans of beans and tomato were added and she tossed in the chili powder as usual, stirred and let it simmer. A little while later it came time to taste it and it was crazy spicy. She added more beans and more tomatoes, she watered it down. It was inedible. For 2 days she tried to add to it to lessen the spice before giving up on feeding it to the family.

The lesson…’chili powder’ and ‘chili powder’ are not the same thing… In America it’s a blend of cumin, paprika, oregano and chilies. In the rest of the world it’s just chilies. SPICY!

Thankfully she didn’t give up on the chili making in Kenya and before long it returned to it’s rightful place in the meal rotation. I’m sure that growing up enjoying a big bowl of chili is why once I had my own kitchen, chili was one of the most cooked meals.
a bowl of AIP chili and some plantain chips
I remember the days when whipping up a pot of chili was a quick meal and was the go-to when there was crowd coming over…add another can of beans, add another can of tomatoes, add more spice so people will fill up on fritos. 
Does this sound familiar to you? It’s shocking to look back on those days and realize that almost nothing in my tried and true chili recipe is AIP friendly, and yet I still crave the flavor. What’s a girl to do? You can take the girl out of TX, but you can’t take TX out of the girl, so I had to get creative and make a chili that’s fully AIP compliant, and you won’t believe how authentic it tastes.
If you like spicy foods, you’ll also want to check out my ebook “My Paleo AIP Indian Adventure” that’s full of 60+ Indian recipes that are all 100% AIP compliant.
aip indian/ aip/ paleo/ autoimmune protocol/ cookbook/ adventures in partaking
Now, this chili can’t be thrown together as quickly as your pre-AIP chili, but it’s worth the wait. I promise! Make a double or triple batch and your time will be well spent. Or, just double or triple the “sauce base” and freeze it to make future batches quick and easy. You could also freeze a pound of browned beef and onion and make this whole dish in 20 minutes!!

Smoky AIP Chili {AIP, Paleo, Whole 30}

  • Author: Bethany Darwin - Adventures in Partaking
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: American


 This totally AIP chili gives you all the depth of flavor of the traditional chili that you remember, without a tomato or chili pepper anywhere in sight.


  • (for the sauce base)
  • 4 cloves garlic – crushed or chopped
  • 6 brown mushrooms – diced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 5 slices bacon – chopped up while raw
  • 1 TBSP dried sage
  • 1/2 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP carob powder
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground dried ginger
  • 1 inch grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 6 radishes – diced
  • 3 medium carrots – diced
  • 2 cups bone broth
  • (for the chili)
  • 1 pound beef & 1 onion
  • 2 carrots – chopped – about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 med sweet potato – diced – about 2 cups
  • Chopped mushrooms- 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – chopped
  • 1/4 cup spring onions – chopped
  • chopped avocado
  • crushed plantain chips
  • chopped cilantro & spring onions


  2. – heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat
  3. – add bacon, garlic and mushrooms and let them cook until bacon is cooked (does’t need to be crispy, this is just providing you with a smoky flavor base)
  4. – add ginger (fresh and dried), carob powder & spices – stir to allow them to release their oils
  5. – add balsamic vinegar and cook flavors together for 1-2 minutes
  6. – add chopped radishes & carrots and broth
  7. – bring to a boil and simmer until veggies are tender
  8. – blend with an immersion blender until smooth
  10. – heat 1 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  11. – add 1 pound beef and allow it to cook until almost cooked through
  12. – add finely chopped onions and continue cooking until meat is cooked and onion is brown
  14. – add the beef and onions to the sauce base
  15. – add chopped carrots, mushrooms and sweet potatoes
  16. – bring to a boil and allow to simmer over low heat until veggies are cooked through (25-30 minutes)
  17. – add fresh herbs and stir in
  18. – allow to simmer 5-10 minutes more
  19. – Serve topped with avocado, more herbs and a few crushed plantain chips

 If you like this chili, you might want to try these recipes too:

** This recipe was shared on Phoenix Helix AIP Roundtable
 This totally AIP chili gives you all the depth of flavor of the traditional chili that you remember, without a tomato or chili pepper anywhere in sight.

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