This bowl of homemade slow cooker chilli is full of spices, sweet potatoes and turkey mince making it a healthy and Whole30 compliant meal that is warm and comforting for the cooler months.
One of my favourite things to meal prep lately is a big pot of chilli. It’s easy, healthy and filling, makes a lot and freezes really well. When I prep a batch of chilli I know I always have meals ready to go and that feels great. Plus being a slow cooker recipe, I can set and forget knowing something is bubbling away becoming delicious with basically zero effort from me. Yes that is my kind of cooking situation.
This particular version of chilli happens to be Whole30 approved. If you didn’t catch the subtle drop in my last monthly update post, I mentioned that for May I wanted to do my best at completing a Whole30. If you are wondering what that is, read this post, I’ll wait.
Basically there are a number of reasons I wanted to try this diet again but the two key reasons where to reduce inflammation in my body which is causing me a bit of pain, and secondly to remind myself what consciously eating healthy balanced meals is.
So with the restrictions of Whole30 we cannot have grains, legumes or sugar – things that quite often find their way into a traditional chilli recipe. So instead of filling this chilli with beans, it is filled with sweet potato. This also means the chilli is filling and satisfying enough on its own without needing to serve it with rice or tortilla chips or any other grain/carb situation.
Have you ever read the ingredients list of a packet of taco seasoning? If so you will know that one of the main ingredients is sugar. I learnt this on my first Whole30 round and was simply shocked that sugar was added to so many spice mixes when I really don’t think it is required. Having a pretty robust spice shelf at home though, I realised it was easy to skip the sugar and make my own.
The spices in this taco season are all what I truly believe should be staples in any pantry. So while you may need to stock up if your shelf is a little empty, once you start cooking with spice, you will find a whole new level of flavour has entered your world. With your new stocked spice shelf be sure to try these crispy spiced chickpeas (not Whole30), roasted veggie bowls, or my Whole30 pulled beef burrito bowls which uses a variation of this taco seasoning to rub the meat.
In the spice mix, I tend to go heavy on the paprika for two reasons. Firstly, I love the flavour, and secondly the flavour of paprika goes so well with sweet potato. I don’t know what it is but the combination of the sweet, spicy and smoky flavours all go wonderfully together. Also as a note, I always use the spanish smoked paprika – the flavour is just 100% better than the regular sweet stuff.
Do you really have to brown mince before adding it to the slow cooker?
This is probably the biggest question when it comes to making mince based foods in the slow cooker. No one really wants to dirty another pan, and it does take just that little bit longer to get everything ready. Won’t it just cook in the slow cooker – isn’t that the point?
Strictly speaking, yes you can just throw it in and everything will turn out fine. But if you want it to be the best it can be, brown the meat first.
This allows the meat to begin developing a richer flavour, allows you to disregard any unwanted fat and breaks it down so that there are no clumps.
Also, as this recipe uses turkey mince, like chicken you want to make sure this is handled with care to prevent salmonella. So especially if you are planning on cooking on low, to ensure the meat is kept at a safe temperature, I would brown first. This isn’t as much of an issue though if you are cooking on high.
Basically it is up to you if you want to take the extra step, but it is written into this recipe for a reason.
Feel free to substitute the turkey mince as well for beef as well if you prefer. I like turkey as the flavour is lighter and it is a lot leaner but try and see what suits you.
Slow cooker meals are great for when you need to have food ready in the evening but don’t have time to make it. This is that hearty, warming but still healthy meal that everyone wants to come home to.
Plus I’ll say it again, meal prep, leftovers – whatever you call it, a batch of this sets you up and I can’t pretend to not be really excited about that.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Whole30 Slow Cooker Chilli
Homemade Taco Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Chilli
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 kg turkey mince
- 1 onion diced
- 1 green capsicum diced
- 500 grams sweet potato peeled and diced
- 800 grams canned crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken stock
- In a small bowl, mix all spices together and set aside.
- In a large frying pan, heat olive oil and cook the turkey mince until browned, adding in half of the prepared spice mix.
- Add browned meat to the slow cooker with all of the remaining ingredients including the other half of the spice mix. Stir through to ensure everything is combined.
- Put the lid on and set to cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.