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Loaded Secret-Ingredient Chili

Loaded Secret-Ingredient Chili

dairy free gluten free main course soups
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If you’re cooking for a family, you know that the ability to customize equals success. With so many people on restricted diets these days (including us), the same is true for entertaining. One person doesn’t eat dairy, another won’t go near a sweet potato with a 10-foot pole, another wants three helpings loaded with every single topping. Unless you’re avoiding things like beans or nightshades, chili makes an easy staple. Fill the crockpot with chili, and set out a colorful array of toppings that your family or guests can use to customize their bowl.

Sounds simple. Feels deluxe!

Toppings like diced avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, chopped green onions, or fresh cilantro add color and delight to the traditional chili toppings of grated cheese, diced onion, or sour cream. Whether it’s a football watch party, a winter potluck, or a Tuesday-night dinner, this approach to chili is not only delicious but problem-solving. It satisfies the gluten and dairy-free eaters, the picky kids, and those who eat anything and everything.

It’s also easy to make, can be made ahead, and leftovers freeze well for those no-time-to-cook days.

If you think peanut butter in chili sounds too weird, think again. When it comes to blue-ribbon winners at chili cook-offs, this ingredient isn’t so secret. I promise, it won’t make the whole pot taste like peanut butter, but when you taste it you might think, Yum, what makes this chili so rich? What is that smooth flavor filling in all the flavor gaps between earthy chilies and bright tomatoes? Only the cook will know.

Thyroid-healthy Highlights:

  • Animal protein such as bison, beef and turkey contain thyroid-supporting nutrients like iodine, selenium, zinc, and tyrosine.
  • Tomatoes are a good source of key thyroid nutrients like vitamin A, Iron, and fiber. They are a very good source of vitamin C. A study recently shared in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism stated, “In patients with hypothyroidism and gastrointestinal pathology, vitamin C improves the abnormalities in serum free T4, T3, and TSH concentrations.”
  • Sweet potatoes are loaded with complex carbohydrates that can help fill you up and stabilize blood sugar levels. They’re also a rich source of thyroid- and immune-supportive antioxidants beta carotene and vitamin C, as well as the minerals copper and manganese.
  • Avocado is rich in healthy fats like oleic acid, which can help reduce cholesterol. It is also one of the few foods that helps the body produce glutathione, a super-antioxidant that can boost immune function, detoxify the liver, and help combat autoimmune symptoms.
  • Studies have shown that cilantro can help accelerate the body’s excretion of mercury and lead. Heavy metal toxicity from mercury has been linked to an increase in thyroid antibodies, which are an indicator of autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto's or Graves Disease.
  • The dairy toppings are of course optional and many with thyroid issues choose to avoid them, but if you are able to tolerate dairy, sour cream provides vitamin A, and cheese provides vitamin D and tyrosine—all key thyroid-supporting nutrients.
Loaded Secret-Ingredient Chili

Loaded Secret-Ingredient Chili

Yield: 8
Prep time: 30 Min Cook time: 1 Hour Total time: 1 H & 30 M
Gluten-free, Dairy-free without cheese or sour cream topping.


  • A knob of ghee
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, or cayenne, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 pound ground bison, beef, or turkey
  • 2 (4 oz.) cans diced green chilies
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can organic fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies, or sub. plain diced toms.
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup frozen corn kernels, optional, omit for grain-free diets
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups beef broth, preferably homemade
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
  • a knob of coconut oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 fresh lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. In a large soup pot, melt ghee over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion and saute until soft and translucent, 3 - 5 minutes.
  2. Add minced garlic and saute 1 minute more.
  3. Season with seasoned salt, chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, and oregano. Stir to combine and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add ground meat to pan, and saute until browned, breaking up any large pieces, 3 - 5 minutes.
  5. Add diced green chilies, black beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn kernels, peanut butter, and 2 cups beef broth. Stir to combine.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 1 hour to allow flavors to combine. If necessary, add remaining beef broth to thin it.
  7. While chili simmers, preheat oven to 350. Peel sweet potato and chop into 1/2-inch dice.
  8. Place knob of coconut oil on a large, rimmed sheet pan and place in oven until fat is melted. Add sweet potato, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with a spatula to coat, and place in center of oven for 20 - 25 mins. or until sweet potato is tender when pierced with a fork.
  9. For garnish: chop lime wedges, grate cheese, dice avocado, and chop cilantro. Place in serving dishes and serve alongside hot chili, with sour cream and any other desired toppings (see note below).
  10. Other topping ideas: sliced black olives, green onion, diced jalapenos, hominy (a corn product).
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