I didn't think I'd ever love a kitchen appliance more than my slow cooker, but then the Instant Pot entered my world and well ...the rest is history. Don't get me wrong. I still adore my slow cooker, but there's something so wonderful about being able to have a dish that tastes like it's been simmering away for hours on the table in a fraction of the time.
This was actually my second attempt at creating a recipe for the Instant Pot all by myself (the first one being my Quick & Easy Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes), and I couldn't be more pleased with the way it turned out.
This may come off a bit dramatic, but whatever happens in an Instant Pot to churn out delicious food is nothing short of magical. This chili is the perfect example of that magic. It's perfect for cold, wintry days, and best of all, it's the kind of meal that leaves you feeling cozy and satisfied. This is definitely one you're going to want in your index for the January Whole30!
I've had quite a few variations of chili in my day, and most have been just "meh." Even before eliminating legumes from my diet completely, I was never a huge fan of beans. I think it's a texture thing. They're just so ...mushy. I'm sure I'm going to fluff a few chili lover's feathers by saying this, but chili is just as delicious without beans (if not better). This recipe proves it. It's just as thick, comforting and flavorful as it's bean containing counterpart, I promise!
So what makes this Instant Pot Beef, Sausage and Butternut Squash Chili so darn good?
In short, everything. This chili gets it's incredible flavor from two different kinds of meat, an assortment of aromatic veggies, a smoky blend of dried herbs and spices, sweet butternut squash and my secret ingredient: unsweetened cacao powder.
- Ground Beef: I used Simply Nature Organic 100% Grass Fed 85/15 Ground Beef from Aldi. My location sells it for $5.99 a pound, which is the cheapest I've ever seen organic grass fed ground beef. Any ground beef will do just fine in this recipe. You could also swap out the ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken.
- Italian Sausage: You may need to do a bit of label-reading to find a Whole30 compliant Italian sausage. I used Roma Gourmet Sausages. The mild, hot and Old Bay flavors are all compliant -all of which I've also purchased from Aldi (for only $2.99 a pound). I simply remove the sausage from the casings and crumble up the links.
- Onions, Jalapenos and Garlic: these ingredients are a chili no-brainer but beware. I used the seeds and membranes of the jalapenos because I can handle quite a bit of heat, but add them in at your own discretion.
- Tomato: I threw in a fresh, perfectly ripened tomato because the flavor of a good tomato can't be beat. This time of year those can be hard to come by, so feel free to substitute the fresh tomato with a can of diced.
- Butternut Squash: I can't speak highly enough of this vegetable. It lends a sweet, nutty taste to this chili to balance out a bit of the heat. You could also use sweet potatoes or perhaps a blend of both!
The Dried Herbs and Spices:
- Chipotle Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, Cumin and Oregano: once again, these ingredients are a no-brainer.
The Broth and the Secret Ingredient:
- Beef Broth: I used a store-bought compliant beef broth, but homemade beef bone broth would have been even better (especially this time of year when we could all use a little immunity boost).
- Cacao Powder: Cacao is the purest form of chocolate. Using cacao is a great way to add the beloved flavor of chocolate to dishes without any of the sugar. In this chili, it adds a subtle sweetness to an otherwise spicy dish.
The Other Stuff:
- Tomato Paste: this stuff serves as food glue, and that's about it. It's what keeps this chili from turning into a soup in the pressure cooker.
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes: there is SO much more flavor in a can of fire roasted tomatoes then in a can of boring diced tomatoes!
- Hot Sauce: I used Frank's because I put that sh*t on everything, but this one's totally up to you. Just find a compliant hot sauce you love and use it!
The only real work you'll have to do to prepare this chili is chopping up the veggies and dumping all of the ingredients into the Instant Pot, but I'll go ahead and give you a briefing because that's just the kind of person I am.
To Make this Chili:
- I recommend having all of the ingredients prepped, chopped and ready to go before even thinking about putting anything in the Instant Pot. Once the Instant Pot is cooking there's no turning back for a forgotten ingredient. Mise en place and Instant Pot cooking go hand in hand.
- Chop your veggies. Stir the broth together with the tomato paste, cacao and hot sauce and measure out the dried herbs and spices. You'll thank me later for prepping everything in advance.
- Now that everything is in place (mise en place), let's get cooking. Set the Instant Pot to the SAUTE function. Heat about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in the Instant Pot until hot but not smoking. Dump in the onions, jalapenos and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes or until the veggies become just softened. Make sure you hit CANCEL as soon as the veggies are soft. Otherwise, they'll overcook and turn to mush in a matter of minutes. Yuck.
- Add the meats, dried herbs and spices and the broth mixture to the Instant Pot and stir well to combine, breaking up any large chunks of meat. Next, dump in the fresh tomato and the canned tomatoes and give everything a good stir.
- Next, add in the butternut squash but do not stir it into everything else. Leave it be on top of the other ingredients while it's cooking. Otherwise, it'll essentially disintegrate into the chili while cooking. I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing. It'll still taste great, but you won't have any identifiable bites of butternut squash.
- The Instant Pot will take it from here. Simply secure the lid and set the valve to the "sealing position." Pressure cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 10 minutes, and then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. Lastly, manually release the remaining pressure. Once the pressure has completely released, carefully remove the lid and DIG IN.
This chili is already loaded with everything you're craving, so why not add even more? You can top this chili with as much compliant goodness as your heart desires! Jalapenos, diced onion and avocado are my personal faves!
So there ya have it -a yummy Whole30 compliant chili made in the Instant Pot in just under an hour! You can serve this chili right away or freeze it for up to 3 months. I froze over half of it to have on hand during my January Whole30 for those nights when cooking something from scratch just isn't an option. I hope y'all love this chili as much as I do! Let me know what you think in the comments! If you're like me and take pictures of literally everything you eat, don't forget to tag me and use the hashtag #paleoishkristaeats on the gram!
Pin Now! Cook Later!
Instant Pot Beef, Sausage and Butternut Squash Chili
- 1.5 pounds butternut squash (about 1 large) large diced
- 2 yellow onions (large) large diced
- 1 tomato (large) medium diced
- 2 jalapenos minced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups beef broth
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao powder
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce like Frank's Red Hot Original
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 28 ounces diced fired roasted tomatoes 2 14 ounce cans
- Prep all veggies. Large dice the butternut squash and the onion. Medium dice the tomato. Mince the jalapeno (discard the seeds and membrane unless you can handle the extra heat). Mince the garlic cloves.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the beef broth, tomato paste, cacao powder and hot sauce.
- Set the Instant Pot to the SAUTE function. Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil until hot but not smoking.
- Add the onions, jalapeno and garlic and heat through until just softened (about 2 minutes). Hit CANCEL on the Instant Pot.
- Add ground beef, sausage and remaining spices (chipotle chili powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt and pepper). Break up any large chunks of meat and stir well to combine. Stir in fresh tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes and broth mixture.
- Add the butternut squash but do not stir it in. Arrange it in an even layer on the top of everything else.
- Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is closed to the "sealing" position. Cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 10 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, and then manually release remaining pressure.
Before you head out, don't forget to subscribe to my monthly newsletter! You'll be kept up-to-date on all of the latest Paleoish Krista recipes!