I have been meaning to post a chili recipe for a while. I know Spring is upon us but this is a dish that's a year round type of meal in the High Rocky Mountains that we call home.
We eat a lot of chili and before I started Keto I never realized just how many carbs chili can actually add up to if you aren't careful.I really thought that a low carb chili recipe meant any chili recipe without beans. This isn't true.
Green chili is a signature dish in Colorado but the carbs are extremely high so we have been opting for regular red chili con carne minus the beans...
And recently I found a way to make low carb corn bread....corn bread that tastes like corn.
Not just almond flour bread made in a skillet that needs a lot of (ahem) Keto imagination to make it seem like corn bread.
There's a trick and I was so happy to discover it...make sure you check it out. If you like corn bread, you'll be happy too.
The huge Keto mistake I made in the beginning and still struggle with...
Onions are not the low carb food that I thought they were when we first started out on the Keto Lifestyle. In fact, a lot of people I know made this same mistake.
In fact, I recently had a conversation with a friend who is pre-diabetic about food.
She hadn't even been counting onions at all because she thought their carb count was negligible.
She had been eating pot after pot of cabbage soup and couldn't figure out what was going wrong...onions.
They aren't sweet...
They aren't a fruit...
The numbers for carbohydrates for one cup of chopped onion are all over the place.Yes, the carbs vary slightly by type of onion but I can tell you this, the number are NEVER LOW.
I use the USDA Food Composition charts so I am going with about 14 grams of carbs per chopped cup. Which is a HUGE drag for chili lovers because onions are what make up a pretty large part of the flavor.
But don't despair. Spices are your friend and you can still enjoy a nice, spicy, filling cup of chili and have corn bread to boot.
Another common misconception...
They aren't exactly a low carb food either. But they are super healthy and since we love them and all of the heart healthy and cancer fighting benefits they provide...we make room for them in our daily carb counts.
I am not saying tomatoes are HIGH in carbs but they do boast almost 5 net carbs per chopped cup (dependent on type of course).
So tomatoes, like onions are still part of a healthy low carb diet but they are by no means a "free for all" if you are on strict Keto.
Most Chili Lovers Have Their Own Favorite Recipe...
So why would you need to read this?
Because chili can be high in carbohydrates if you add too many onions, tomatoes, bell peppers or even green chili's ( all of which I love).
My Dad used to say that Chili is the perfect food...
It has all of the necessary fat, vitamins and minerals that you need to sustain life.
He was a Merchant Marine and on long voyages they tried to pack as much nutrition as possible into each planned meal because of space constraints. So, they ate a lot of chili.
And, he never got sick of it. Once, he actually entertained an idea of a food truck that only served different types of chili. That idea morphed into a crazy ATV tour business that zipped along the coast of Mexico serving chili to his patrons...
He was right about the chili though, it's healthy, filling and fairly inexpensive to make. But, it's not Keto if it's made without care and consideration.
Tips to make your green chili:
- This recipe was developed on the stove top to save time.
If you would prefer to use your slow cooker than you can just brown the ground beef and throw the rest in the crock pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
The slow cooker I recommended in the link above has a pressure cooker and a slow cooker option to save space. Check it out. IT'S AWESOME and you can choose your option according to the dish and your time constraints. Plus, it's one less appliance to store ( and clean).
In the winter, we do this often. I start the pot in the morning and by lunchtime anyone can have a cup. The smell of chili simmering is comforting to me...is that weird?
This low carb recipe keeps and freezes well.
This will keep in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for up to six months.
To freeze, make sure you leave a little space at the top of your freezer safe container for expansion. Don't ask why I am putting this warning in the tips, just know that I am aware that people forget this crucial step sometimes and you could end up with a hot mess...lol.
I love bell pepper in my chili! But be careful about adding these. It will change the carb count A LOT.
I like to post my nutrition facts in cups since fruit and veggie sizes can vary (dramatically) according to your place on the map and season.
But this innocent looking little pepper contains....almost 6 net carbs per chopped cup. SIX!
Once again this is dependent on type but this is the norm and I want to remind you why you are reading a chili recipe. For most of my life, I looked in the fridge and threw in whatever we had that looked like it would work for this spicy dish....
Back in the pre-Keto days I even snuck carrots into the pot if they were looking like they needed to be cooked.
I don't have any photos a Hatch Green Chili's so the photo is Serrano peppers (30 net carbs per chopped cup). But, green chili's in general might be higher in carbs than you think.
We usually buy a roasted bushel every year and freeze them to use later. I was shocked to find out that they contain 15 net carbs per 8oz.
Add them if you want to...we don't carb shame around here. It's just not how we roll and we love green chili too. My job is to make you aware so...please don't shoot the messenger.
Jalapenos are pretty low carb and it's difficult to add to many because they will burn your tongue off if you do.
However, if you do accidentally add too many, don't worry. There's a tip for that coming up next.
You can always add a tablespoon of low carb sweetener to the pot if the chili is too spicy.
I learned this fantastic little trick when I lived in Branson, Missouri. There is some fantastic food to be had in that area but some of my friends thought ketchup was spicy.....
It doesn't mean that they relegate themselves to salt and pepper only...I had some mean chili in those parts. But some of the natives are sensitive to the heat of the capsaicin.
For whatever reason, the sweetener cuts the burn. I am sure there is a sciency type explanation for this...I just know it works.
Cumin is an important part of the flavor.
I didn't realize how important this flavor was until I took out most of the carby ingredients.
Cumin and garlic make this low carb recipe taste amazing.
I know a lot of people are used to adding tomato paste or tomato sauce but the carbs can add up pretty quickly.
Tomato bullion adds the flavor you are looking for with out adding carbs to your no bean chili. This one is my favorites.
Italian Seasoning or Oregano
I know it might sound strange but trust me... a little Italian Seasoning or Oregano if you don't have the aforementioned spice will give your meal a more authentic Mexican taste.
Now get cooking!
Easy No Bean Chili
Make sure to save some room for low carb cornbread & don't forget the above tricks to make this the best low carb chili ever!
Before I started on this journey I had no idea how many sneaky carbs were lurking near my chili pot!
Easy Keto Chili
- Brown the ground beef and onions.
- Add the can of tomatoes, water, and spices.
- Allow to simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes. Or see notes in the post about simmering in your crock-pot.
- Serve with cornbread, jalapenos, sour cream, cheese, green onions, cilantro or avocado if desired.
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The nutritional information on this site is provided as a courtesy and I am as careful as I can be about calculations. However, if anything ever looks off on this site or ANY site please feel free to do your own calculation's.
And, don't forget to check out the cornbread...the corn flavor is fantastic and goes perfectly with this meal.