The Best Ever Lectin-Free Chili – Lectin Free Mama (2024)

Over the weekend, I climbed the Everest of lectin-free “conversion” dishes. I attempted a slow-cooked chili with no tomatoes, no peppers, and no beans. I’ve tried Dr. Gundry’s skinny chili in the past, and, although delicious, I was left wanting a chili that had a thick “chili” texture (i.e. one with tomato paste)

In the words of my one year old: I DID IT. I successfully converted this American staple into lectin-free cuisine, without sacrificing taste, texture, or flavor. This was a real, honest-to-god chili, and it was a gut-pleasing success of a dish I thought I’d never eat again (at least not for a long time).

The Best Ever Lectin-Free Chili – Lectin Free Mama (1)

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How did I do it, you ask? Thank you for asking. Here are the three key ingredients to lectin-free chili success:

Sweet Potato Puree

For a few weeks now, I have been using sweet potato puree as a substitute for tomato paste. It has never provided better texture than in this chili. Using this is the difference between getting a real chili texture and getting “chili soup.” All you need is a bit of vinegar to provide acidity to the sweet puree, and you’ve got that tomato chili texture and flavor. My favorite brand, which comes organic in a BPA-free can, is available through Thrive Market and Amazon Prime.

Spices

Since you’re not using tomatoes or peppers,allof your flavor will come from the delicious combination of spices and condiments you choose to use. Do not skimp. The combination I used in this recipe resulted in a deep red chili, bursting with rich flavor. The sky is the limit. Go to town with your spices–all except pepper flakes are compliant–and see how flavorful you can make it!

Pine Nuts

Say no to beans and yes to pine nuts for a legume-like addition to the most flavorful of winter stews. These chewy seeds don’t lose their texture after 6 hours in a slow cooker. So instead of a slow cooked bean “mush,” you’ll get delicious flavorandtextural variety in every bite. You can get them very inexpensively HERE.

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When it comes to flavorful chili, the cooking method is as important as the ingredients. Imagine you’re at a chili cook-off, and everyone basically has the same ingredients in their chili. How do the “winning” chilis separate themselves from the others? The cooking method, which allowed enough time for the various ingredients to weave a “flavor tapestry.” Here’s my method:

Sauté and Season First

Ever eat a slow-cooked meal where the onions were still crunchy? Or the whole dish just had a “meat” flavor to it? Chances are, the time-crunched cook dumped everything into the pot raw, stirred, and pressed “Start.” (I have totally done this, and still do–subtle flavor/texture enhancement takes time, which is a luxury when one is scrambling out the door for pre-school gymnastics or musical story time at the library).

Start with the beef. Brown–don’t cook through–the meat in batches for about 4 minutes each. Dump it into the pot, and then use the skillet to soften the onions and celery.Nowis when you add the seasonings. You’re gonna coat those veggies with so much seasoning, they’ll appear to be covered in a red chili paste. Only then will you mix everything together in the pot and begin the next step of the cooking method…

Slow Cook

Preferably on low for 6 hours. 6 hours of low heat will give your ingredients the time to weave that aforementioned “flavor tapestry.” Ideally, you’d slow cook, chill the chili overnight, and then reheat it slowly the next day before serving, but I know–we’ve all got things to do, and cooking chili for 48 hours ain’t one of them.

My slow cooker lid handle broke off the year I bought it, and I literally covered the hole with duct tape and continued to use it. I’ve since upgraded to an Instant Pot, which is a 9-in-1 kitchen miracle appliance that also functions as a slow cooker. If you’re using one, use the Medium slow cook program, change the time to 6:00, and be sure to turn the knob toventthe steam (we’re not pressure cooking).

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PREP TIME15 MINUTES TOTAL TIME6 HOURS 15 MINUTES SERVES8

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

HEAT 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 pound ground beef and ½ teaspoon salt, and brown-breaking the meat apart with a spatula-for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to the Instant Pot, and repeat with the remaining beef.

TURN heat down to medium, and heat the remaining teaspoon oil. Add the garlic, onion, and celery, and cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves, and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Pour in the broth, scrape the bottom of the pan, and transfer to the Instant Pot.

ADD the pine nuts, sweet potato puree, adobo sauce, wine vinegar, coconut aminos, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Cover, and use the Slow Cook program on Medium setting for 6 hours. Be sure the knob is turned to vent the steam. Serve with scallions, lime wedges, and sour cream, if desired.

Chili so good, you’ll think it has tomatoes.

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (divided)
  • 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 medium onion (finely diced)
  • 3 ribs celery (finely diced)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 2 cups grass-fed beef broth
  • 3 ounces pine nuts
  • 1 15-ounce can sweet potato puree
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from preserved chipotles)
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons coconut aminos
  • sliced scallions and lime wedges (for garnish)
  • sour cream (full fat, organic) (for serving (optional))
  1. HEAT 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 pound ground beef and ½ teaspoon salt, and brown-breaking the meat apart with a spatula-for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to the Instant Pot, and repeat with the remaining beef.
  2. TURN heat down to medium, and heat the remaining teaspoon oil. Add the garlic, onion, and celery, and cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves, and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Pour in the broth, scrape the bottom of the pan, and transfer to the Instant Pot.
  3. ADD the pine nuts, sweet potato puree, adobo sauce, wine vinegar, coconut aminos, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Cover, and use the Slow Cook program on Medium setting for 6 hours. Be sure the knob is turned to vent the steam. Serve with scallions, lime wedges, and sour cream, if desired.
The Best Ever Lectin-Free Chili – Lectin Free Mama (2024)

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