No Tomato Chili (Whole30)

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Looking for a chili without tomatoes? This no tomato chili is savory and hearty and filling. This easy recipe make the perfect lunch or dinner.


Mr. Bejelly doesn’t do well with cooked tomato products (crazy heartburn and stomach acid that keeps him up at night).

Also, after avoiding them for so long, I don’t tolerate them as well myself.


For this very reason, I’ve been slowly recreating some of our favorite recipes and making them tomato free.

When pondering what to replace the tomato with in this no tomato chili recipe, I immediately thought coffee.

 It’s rich and somewhat bitter. It would add just the right punch to the recipe.


I also added some fresh roasted poblanos for texture and flavor.  I love all the spices going on in this recipe.   However, what I love even better is the fact that Mr. Bejelly slept peacefully thought the night after eating two bowls of this no-tomato chili.

No Tomato Chili

No Tomato Chili

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 3 large Poblano chilies, roughly 7" long, roasted and diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb of grass-fed beef
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of brewed low acid coffee
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped.
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 - 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder


  1. In a large skillet add the cooking oil, onions and poblano peppers and cook until the onions are browned.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
  3. Add the sweet potato, carrots, spices, coffee and water and simmer on medium-low for 30- 35 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

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  1. Annetta August 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    This looks great!! Can’t wait to try it out

  2. Salixisme August 17, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Oh my goodness does this look and sound good… genius idea adding the coffee! I think I might try adding that even to regular chilli that does contain tomatoes!

  3. Anne August 18, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Looks delicious! I like the idea of adding sweet potatoes to chili.

  4. Mum's the word August 18, 2013 at 8:29 am

    this is really interesting!! coffee and cocoa!!

  5. Rachel August 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I have heard of a lot of people adding coffee to chili. And peanut butter. I am a fan of tomatoes. I love them and eat them plain all the time.

  6. Jennifer H August 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Wow, that’s an interesting recipe! Never though of sub’ing coffee for tomatoes.

  7. Ty @ Mama of 3 Munchkins August 18, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    That’s one good looking chili and I know I’m going to have to make this real soon!

  8. debra p August 18, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    That’s really creative and a great solution. It also looks completely delicious. I love chili.

  9. Heather Brandt August 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Any idea of an alternate veggie to sweet potatoes to try in this?

    1. Kelly Bejelly August 20, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Any squash would work well as a replacement 🙂

  10. Kiersten @ OMV August 21, 2013 at 7:09 am

    These photos are gorgeous! I love that dark background. Using coffee is a stroke of genius. 🙂

  11. Leigh September 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Can I just omit the coffee, or should I replace something else in it’s place?

    1. Kelly Bejelly September 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      You can omit it if you want. I would use more cocoa powder if I did.

  12. teale October 25, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I have the same problem with tomatoes that your husband has, it is so frustrating. I love so many things that are tomato based. Do you avoid tomatoes in all of your cooking? Will I find all of these on pinterest?

    1. Kelly Bejelly October 25, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      Hi Teale, I don’t avoid tomato in all of my recipes. Some times i will just add a dash of baking soda to the meal 10 minutes before I am finished with it. All of my recipes are in the Favorite Paleo recipes board.

  13. Kathy February 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    I love your recipes! I had to go gluten free and corn free and find that I feel better without any grain, so I can’t wait to make your recipes! I also wanted to point out that vinegar is a great acid reducer. Use it as a chaser before or after a meal. I try to have a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar every day. In fact, I did not realize how bad my tummy would hurt until I went gluten free. I knew from the family (celiac disease runs in the family) that I might be sensitive to some of the vinegars, so I stopped taking the cider vinegar. But I am not sensitive to my fav vinegar, apple cider vinegar. I hope this helps! Vinegar helps with a lot of things, besides the tummy. Thanks again for posting and I look forward to more awesome recipes 🙂 Your a God sent to me.

    1. Kelly Bejelly February 11, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Kathy I am a huge fan of apple cider vinegar and regularly have it on ice with some mineral water. Thanks so much for your sweet words hun and I hope you enjoy it!

  14. Paul October 22, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Hi, Kelly — We’re trying your recipe as the most interesting in the no-tomato category. But I’ll admit I was surprised when I looked through the recipe and discovered it’s also a no-beaner. I guess there must be other chili recipes without beans, but I associate that ingredient with the dish and will add a 13-bean combo. Can’t imagine they’ll hurt your original recipe.

    Did you omit beans for dietary reasons, too? (To greatly reduce their infamous gassiness, we bring the beans to a boil and drain off the white, foamy raffinose-laden water two or three times; takes extra time, but saves a lot of discomfort for both the chili-consumers and their friends and neighbors!)

    1. Kelly Bejelly October 22, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Hi Paul! I don’t eat beans (legumes are a no no on the Paleo diet :)) I hope you enjoyed it hun!

  15. Steve December 21, 2014 at 6:56 am

    We made this amazing meal last night, and it was delicious! Our only criticism was that after several bites we noticed a slight bitter undertone probably from the coffee. Has anyone experienced this? What about making this without coffee and maybe with beef stock as a replacement?

    1. Kelly Bejelly December 21, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      You could just skip it and add more cacao hun.

      1. huy awed September 27, 2017 at 9:16 am

        You think more cocao will make it less bitter? I don’t. But I understand the reason behind your comment.

  16. Aretha Alexander January 27, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I will have to give this a try. Since I have transitioned to a Keto diet I have to watch my carbs.

  17. James Brown April 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Just tried this fantastic chilli earlier this evening! We left it simmering for more like an hour, probably too long but the coffee/cocoa combination in the sauce is really something.

  18. Leslie August 27, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    I’ve recently had to give up grains and inflammatory foods and found this recipe. Made it tonight and it was so SO good, it’s definitely a keeper for this household! Thanks so much 🙂


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