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This Keto Chili Recipe Proves That Comfort Food Can Be Low-Carb

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Photo: Real Simple Good

Yes, you can follow the keto diet and keep up your comfort food 

"Since the eating plan is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, you'll strictly limit foods with a lot of carbs, sugar or starch—think pasta, bread, rice, most fruits, candy, and juice," says Pamela M. Nisevich Bede, M.S., a registered dietitian at Abbott. "That being said, foods like butter, cream, cheese, avocados, and bacon, which you may have once thought were 'off limits,' are keto diet-approved."

So while mac and cheese may be a no-go, this keto chili recipe from Erica Winn of Real Simple Good gets a gold star—and it gets even better when garnished with slices of creamy avocado, a scoop of rich, full-fat coconut or Greek yogurt, and a spoonful of diced crispy bacon. (Here are a few more high-fat keto diet foods to make it easier to keep your body in the ketosis fat-burning mode.)

Similar to many Texas-style chili recipes, this hearty stew contains zero beans or tomatoes, keeping the carb count low enough to fit within the 50-grams-or-less daily range.

"I started following a strict paleo, or basically Whole30, diet several years ago to help relieve symptoms from my autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis," says Erica, who created Real Simple Good with her husband Justin Winn in 2015. BTW, there are a few differences between the low-carb keto diet and paleo diet—keto giving a green light to dairy, but only allowing 5 percent of calories from carbs.

Since Erica started her lower-carb quest, she and Justin have been making over their family tradition-recipes and sharing them with their Real Simple Good readers. "My mom inspired this keto chili recipe. I wanted to make a smoky, hearty chili with lots of beef and no beans since I'm trying to eat a lower-carb, higher-fat diet," says Justin.

There aren't too many secrets to master this keto chili recipe. Just pick your appliance of choice, either the Instant Pot or a slow cooker, and chop all the ingredients before you get going. (Related: Healthy Instant Pot Chicken Recipes for Every Craving

One tip: "Since you add raw ground beef, it can be hard to break it up right away," says Justin. "So my secret is to break up the ground beef into smaller pieces with a spoon after cooking."

Keto Chili (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound stew meat, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 cups beef broth

Optional Toppings

  • Diced onions
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Shredded cheese (Omit for Whole30 or strict paleo)
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Sour cream (Omit for Whole30 or strict paleo)

Directions

For the Instant Pot:

  1. Prep onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Place ground beef and stew meat in Instant Pot and break up ground beef into small pieces with a spoon.
  2. Season meat with chili powder, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, salt, and pepper. Pour in liquid smoke. Stir beef to mix in seasonings.
  3. Pour in beef broth and add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Place lid on Instant Pot and close pressure valve. Press "soup" button.
  4. Allow cooking cycle to complete, and then quick-release the pressure.
  5. Open lid when safe to do so. You may need to break up beef into smaller pieces at this point if needed. Taste soup and season with additional salt and pepper as desired. Spoon into bowls, top with desired toppings and enjoy.

For the slow cooker:

  • Follow steps 1–3 above, placing ingredients and mixing in your slow cooker.
  • Secure lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 8–10 hours or on high for 5–6 hours.
  • You may need to break up beef into smaller pieces at this point, if needed. Taste soup, and season with additional salt and pepper, as desired. Spoon into bowls, top with desired toppings and enjoy.

Nutrition information per serving (without toppings): 326 calories, 19g fat (7g saturated), 6g carbs., 1g fiber, 31g protein

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