The Best Bean Free Chili

The first sign of cold weather and I am ready for a hot bowl of chili. I have grown to love chili even more since I married my husband. Chili is a family favorite in the Coggins household. They mark the start of football season with the first big pot of chili, every year. And my father-in-law sure knows how to make the best chili I have ever tasted.

The problem with traditional chili is that my stomach does not digest beans well. So even though I enjoy the bowl of chili while I am eating it, I experience a very unhappy gut afterwards.

So I tried to re-create my father-in-law’s wonderful chili recipe without the beans. Instead, I substituted for lentils which are much kinder to the gut. Keep in mind, my father-in-law doesn’t have a specific recipe he goes by. He just throws all the ingredients in a pot and measures by taste. So I’ve never seen a physical copy of the delicious chili. This made my job a lot harder to re-create it but I think I came pretty close.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 green pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 large red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes (juice included)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more or less depending on spice preference)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup beef bone broth
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Step 1

Rinse and drain lentils. Set aside. In a large pot, on medium heat, brown hamburger. Once completely browned, add green pepper, onion, and coconut oil . Cook until vegetables are translucent (approx 10 minutes).

Step 2

Once hamburger and vegetables are cooked, add all other ingredients, except for lentils. Cover and simmer on low for an hour.

Step 3

After an hour, pour in lentils and cook for another 30-45 minutes until lentils are cooked. Serve with cilantro, pickled jalapenos, or whatever you like!

Note: In a sealable bowl, chili will keep in the refrigerator for 7 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

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