Okay, okay, I know chocolate chili sounds kind of weird. Kind of like putting a candy bar in your burrito. But let me assure you: cocoa powder, paired with cinnamon and cayenne, really steals the show on this one.

And because it’s December: all hail the winter crockpot meals! There’s nothing better than being out in the cold for most of the day and coming home to the smell of dinner in the pot. Why else do I love my crockpot? Oh, right. Easy prep, easy cleanup, tons of leftovers, really hard to screw up recipes…the list goes on.

This chili doesn’t use beans (they’re legumes and thus Paleo no-no’s), so that will be great news for some. Instead, I added more veggies to give the chili substance. If you don’t like sweet potato or the other veggies in the recipe, feel free to substitute. You can also add more cayenne for spicier chili, but 1/2 tsp. was enough for me.

The only thing about Paleo chili is that it misses sour cream. However, I find avocado pretty satisfying for a creamy topping. I garnished my bowl with cilantro and fresh tomato.

Beanless Chocolate Chili

Servings 6


  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb. ground beef or bison
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. mild chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. cayenne
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder


  • Chop all veggies and place in a crockpot.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the pot.
  • Cook on low, covered, for 4-6 hours.