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30-Minute Beef & Butternut Paleo Chili (+ Vegetarian Option)

RecipesRobyn Downs6 Comments

Packed with goodness and done in under 30-minutes, Beef & Butternut Paleo Chili is sure to become a weeknight staple!

30-Minute Beef & Butternut Paleo Chili (+ Vegetarian Option) whole30 compliant

This chili, you guys!

Is is so darn good. Plus it's paleo. And Whole30 compliant. And done in under 30 minutes. Plus there's a vegetarian adaptation. 

It's pretty much what dreams are made of.

Since chili is a weeknight staple around our house, I'm always looking for ways to up the nutritional profile while still keeping it "normal" enough for my family to eat.

This beef and butternut combo fits the bill, and offers a paleo-friendly twist by skipping the beans in favor of vibrant butternut squash.

Mushrooms also make an appearance in this hearty dish because they are so packed with goodness.

Seriously, guys, mushrooms are where it's at.

Don't worry, though, I give you an option to chop the mushrooms together with onions in the food processor, making the mushrooms disappear into the chili. 

Perfect for people who may otherwise turn their nose up as mushrooms in chili.

Check out the adaptations, below, for some ideas of converting this one into a vegetarian-friendly one-pot meal.

One more tip: smash the cooked butternut squash with the back of a spoon if you're feeding someone who would rather not eat the squash chunky (ahem: my 5 year-old).

Once it's smashed it stirs together well with the other ingredients.

Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese (or a giant handful of cheese: again my 5 year-old) and you're good to go.

I like mine with a generous helping of sliced avocado or scoop of guac, a squeeze of lime juice, and a dusting of chopped cilantro and green onion. 

So good!

I hope you'll make this one soon. It happens to freeze well, too, so make a double batch and eat well all week long.

Now, let's make some 30-Minute Beef & Butternut Paleo Chili!

30-Minute Beef & Butternut Paleo Chili (+ Vegetarian Option) whole30 compliant


1 | Use a food processor to chop the onions and mushroom into very fine pieces for resistant eaters who may night like the texture of mushrooms.

2 | Triple the mushrooms and omit the beef for a vegetarian option.

3 | If you don't have or don't want to use mushrooms use 2 pounds of ground beef instead.

4 | Once cooked, mash the butternut squash into the chili, then stir together for resistant eaters. They probably won't even know it's there.

This Recipe Is

Naturally Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegetarian (with adaptation), Paleo and Whole30 Friendly

30-Minute Beef & Butternut Paleo Chili (+ Vegetarian Option) whole30 compliant

30-Minute Beef & Butternut Paleo Chili (+ Vegetarian Option)


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion

2 cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms*

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 pound ground beef, preferably grass-fed

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon mild chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups 1-inch cubed butternut squash

1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce

1 cup water

Chopped scallions, cilantro, and sliced avocado for serving (optional)


1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, mushrooms, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and mushrooms soften, about 5-8 minutes.

3. Add the beef, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned.

4. Add the cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Cook for 1 minute.

5. Add the butternut squash, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, tomato sauce, and water, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on medium-low for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender.

6. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Serve warm with scallion, cilantro, and avocado if desired.

Serves 4-6

Notes: *For a vegetarian alternative, triple the mushrooms and omit the beef.