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Low-FODMAP Chili Con Carne

Thought you’d never be able to enjoy a traditional beef chili (also called chili con carne) since having to go low-FODMAP? Think again!

Growing up in the Midwest, we ate a fair amount of chili. Chili contests were a big deal. And although I’ve discovered I can tolerate moderate amounts of fructans and GOS, many folks with IBS cannot. How sad to have to give up this classic Tex Mex dish!

Admittedly, chili does not seem to be an easy dish to convert to low-FODMAP. Some dishes are pretty easy–just leave out the garlic and sub maple syrup for the honey, or something along those lines, and you’re good to go. But many of chili’s primary ingredients are high in FODMAPs.

There’s the onion and garlic, plus most commercial chili powders contain onion and garlic powder.

There’s the beans, which have always been and remain an absolute tummy nightmare for me. Some chili recipes I’ve seen even call for several cans of different kinds of beans–ack! Some chilis, of course, are straight meat, but that doesn’t sound so appealing (or healthy) either.

Tomatoes are high in fructose in large servings, so you’ve got to be careful with those, especially in concentrated form, like tomato paste.

And, on top of all this, chili is high in fat, and fat, particularly saturated fat, is a major gut irritant for many people with IBS.

But I encountered a recipe in an old magazine of mine for a chili that’s pretty straightforward and relatively low on the gut-irritating ingredients, while also not being a bowl of straight meat. I’ve modified it pretty heavily, swapping green pepper for the onion, for instance, to give it some veggie-and-fiber bulk, subbing chickpeas for the red kidney beans, etc. But the essential element of the recipe–soaking and then blending dried New Mexico chiles–remains the same. I also used low-fat beef (93%) to reduce the fat content, although some of that is replaced with garlic-infused olive oil, a healthier fat.

Oh my goodness. I tried this chili and it is so good. Probably my favorite recipe I’ve posted to the blog so far. It’s not super-spicy, just really flavorful and rich. Even if you’re not on the low-FODMAP diet, I’d definitely recommend trying it. 😉dscn2332-2Serve it over baked potatoes, with low-FODMAP cornbread, over rice, or as my family has served soups and stews for generations: with popcorn!

Enjoy. 🙂

Low-FODMAP Chili Con Carne
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  1. 2 cups water
  2. 4 dried New Mexico chiles, stems and seeds removed
  3. 3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes (check ingredients to make sure there is no added onion or garlic)
  4. 2 Tbsp. garlic-infused oil, divided
  5. 1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
  6. 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  7. 1 1/4 tsp. cumin
  8. 3/4 tsp. black pepper
  9. 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  10. 4 green onion stems, diced
  11. Cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt, lactose-free sour cream or more diced green onions, for serving
  1. Bring the water to a boil while you remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles. Place the chilis in a medium bowl. Pour the hot water over the chiles and let stand 20 minutes to soften.
  2. When the chiles have finished softening, add the crushed tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the garlic-infused oil to the water. Transfer to the bowl of a blender and puree, or puree in the bowl using an immersion blender.
  3. Meanwhile, add the other tablespoon of garlic-infused oil to a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Add the beef and cook until the beef is crumbled and no longer pink. Add the diced bell pepper and cook 5 or so minutes more, until the pepper is softened.
  4. Add the cumin, black pepper, and chile-tomato puree to the pot. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes. The liquid will reduce some.
  5. After 30 minutes, add the chickpeas and green onion stems. Cook 5 to 10 more minutes.
  6. Serve hot over baked potatoes or alongside cornbread. Top with cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt, lactose-free sour cream or more diced green onions.
The Hungry Caterpillar
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  1. We really love spicy food in our home.. and chili con carne is on the top of our list.. Yum!

    1. Joyce says:

      This is definitely a mild chili, but if you kept some of the seeds from the chiles, or added some hot chili powder like cayenne, that would kick up the heat a lot!

  2. Question, are chickpeas safer than say other kinds of beans? I didnt know that! I bet this would be yummy with beefless crumble too!

    1. Joyce says:

      I bet beefless crumbles would work great! This is definitely not a vegetarian recipe–sorry about that. Chickpeas are okay in small serving sizes, if they’ve been canned, because the problematic FODMAPs are absorbed by the water. Canned lentils are the other safe option for FODMAPers, again in small serving sizes. The low-FODMAP diet is really friggin confusing.

  3. Bethany says:

    This looks hearty. I love chickpeas!

  4. I’m into chili recipes right now, so I am totally adding yours to my queue! I will have one of my own coming up soon.

    1. Joyce says:

      Oo yum! I’ll keep my eye out for it.

  5. Cora says:

    Yummmmm. This looks mightily comforting. I’ve never worked with real chills before. They kind of intimate me, even though I’m sure they are like most things I’m scared to buy and use which end up being super easy. I don’t even know where in the grocery store to look for them.
    But I want this. So I’ll pull of my big girl pants and be brave.

    1. Joyce says:

      It was my first time working with real dried chiles, too, and it was super-easy, Cora! Literally all I did was cut off the tops and shake out the seeds. Then I poured hot water over the top. This is a really fast and easy recipe, so don’t be intimidated if you decide to give it a try. 😉

  6. rebecca says:

    This seems like a silly question, but to lighten things up could you use chicken instead of beef?? I’m VERY new to the the world of Low Fodmaps, so finding foods that will make both my boyfriend and guts happy is really great!

    Thank you for sharing, can’t wait to try!

    1. Joyce says:

      Yes, you could. I used 93% lean ground beef, which is already quite lean, but I’m sure you could use ground chicken instead–just might be a little chunkier. Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try. 🙂

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