Cold days and a simmering pot of chili go together so well. It’s a classic stick-to-your-bones, warm your soul kind of meal. As it’s the first week of fall in the Pacific Northwest, I am all too ready to indulge in our favorite chilis and soups. This Paleo Chili with Butternut Squash is a favorite in our house because it combines everything we love about a classic meaty chili and fits a low-carb diet. I promise you won’t even miss the beans!
No beans, no problem
No beans? Yes, you heard me right.
While this Paleo Chili with Butternut Squash contains plenty of meat, it has no beans. Swapping them instead for creamy butternut squash, bell peppers, tomatoes, and jalapenos. I know! I add jalapenos to everything and more. But no worries, this isn’t a spicy-hot dish. It’s a pretty classic chili – just better.
Balancing spice with butternut squash
The first time I made this Paleo Chili with Butternut Squash for the fella, he was a little skeptical of my use of butternut squash before he dug in. He’s an avid hater of acorn squash, beets, and mushrooms – You know, some of the best things you can eat. So he was understandably wary of my use of the somewhat similar butternut squash in chili. Why would I sully such a classicly pure dish with squash?
Because butternut squash is creamy, sweet, and nutty. The perfect counterbalance to the heat from peppers and acidity from tomatoes. I told you that you wouldn’t miss the beans. That, my friend, is because of the butternut squash. It’s the perfect way to balance out the rich umami (savoriness) of the chili.
I make this often in the fall and winter months when it’s chilly out and it warms everything up. It reheats wonderfully for lunch for a few days and even freezes well.
A note for special diets
This Paleo Chili with Butternut Squash is grain-free, gluten-free and fits Paleo, Keto, SIBO, and Whole 30 diets.
Paleo Chili with Butternut Squash
Yield 6 large portions
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 jalapenos, finely diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced (I like yellow, orange, or red for this)
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 c chicken broth
- 10 oz frozen diced butternut squash
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- In a large, deep skillet (14 inch or larger) brown meat on medium-high. You'll want to choose the largest in your arsenal, because the chili will all be done in one pan. Alternatively, a stock pot will also work.
- Once meat is browned, drain excess fat out of the pan.
- Lower heat to medium and add jalapenos, bell pepper, and green onions, sauteing with the meat for around 2 minutes. You don't want the meat to burn, but you do want the peppers and onions to get a little direct heat on them.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper before adding the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and butternut squash. Stir to combine.
- Allow the chili to come to a simmer for 10-12 minutes so that the butternut squash can soften and everything becomes aromatic.
- Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
We like to top ours with cilantro, shredded cheese, or a dollop of sour cream.
This soup reheats well for several days and freezes well also.
Courses Mains, Soups & Stews
Serving Size 1 portion
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 16 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 107 mg
Sodium 550 mg
Total Carbohydrates 18 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 33 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.