Savory No Bean Chili Recipe

There's just something about chili that is so comforting and soul-warming. When it comes to cooking chili, we all know that there are plenty of different recipes out there. However, there are not a ton recipes that accommodates people who don't really love beans. This dish is packed full of flavor thanks to a melody of spices, and it's sure to curb your appetite because it also comes with a healthy serving of ground beef — but no beans to be seen!

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes of Blue Sky Eating is the brains behind this delicious recipe, and she hits the nail on the head when describing her favorite part. "Skipping the beans definitely doesn't mean a boring chili! This dish is packed with flavor, spice, and healthy veggies and protein," Brookes raves. "I love that it's all made in one pan and easy to make a big batch for freezing." She also notes that "it's great for a big family dinner," and you can get creative with toppings, providing a truly customizable experience.

Gather the ingredients for savory no bean chili

To get things started, you will need to gather the ingredients. You'll need olive oil, onion, red bell pepper, garlic cloves, paprika, cumin, chili powder, minced beef, chopped tomatoes, cocoa powder, sugar, tomato paste, and beef stock.

Sauté the peppers and onion

For this step, you will need a large, high-sided frying pan. Add the onion and red pepper and turn the heat to medium. Continue cooking until softened, which should take about 10 minutes or so.

Add the spices and ground beef

Next, toss in the garlic, paprika, cumin, and chili powder to add flavor to your veggies. Mix well to distribute the spices and cook for an additional 2 minutes. The next thing you'll want to add is the ground beef. You can break it apart with a wooden spoon and continue cooking until browned.

Toss in remaining ingredients and simmer

There are still a few more things to add to the mix, including the chopped tomatoes. Once you dump those in, fill the empty can about halfway with water and toss that in as well. Then, add the cocoa powder, sugar, tomato paste, and beef stock. Give everything a good stir to combine. 

In case you were wondering, cocoa powder is the special ingredient! "Cocoa powder adds and richness and depth of flavor that compliments the spice amazingly without there being a noticeable taste of chocolate," Brookes explains.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Let it cook for about 30 minutes or so.

Serve your no bean chili

Remove the chili from the heat and serve as you wish. This savory no bean chili would be great with rice, sour cream, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges. If there's another way that you like to serve your chili, you can do that instead. Brookes also provides a few additional serving suggestions: "With tortilla chips, guac, cheese, or even over a baked potato," she says.

And, if you have leftovers, don't sweat it. "Leftovers should keep up to 3 days in the fridge, or you can freeze it for another time," Brookes shares.

Savory No Bean Chili Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
If you don't like beans, don't let that stop you from enjoying this chili — it's completely bean-free!
Prep Time
Cook Time
savory no bean chili in bowl
Total time: 55 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 7 ounces water
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, high-sided frying pan and fry the onion and red pepper on a medium setting until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, and chili powder. Mix well and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the minced beef and cook until browned, breaking it apart with your wooden spoon.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, then fill the can about halfway with water and pour that in too (about 7 ounces of water). Add the cocoa powder, sugar, tomato paste, and beef stock, and give everything a good stir.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with rice, sour cream, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, or whatever your favorite toppings are.
Calories per Serving 385
Total Fat 26.9 g
Saturated Fat 9.3 g
Trans Fat 1.3 g
Cholesterol 80.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.2 g
Total Sugars 7.6 g
Sodium 396.6 mg
Protein 23.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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