White Chili

If you live in any of the Northern United States (or anywhere on the East coast this winter) you are most likely chili-ed out. There is nothing more satisfying than a steaming hot bowl of chili when the weather starts to get that cold bite to it.  And then February hits. What was once so satisfying becomes just another bowl of chili.  This recipe for White Chili gives you that same first-bowl-of-the-season-stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction with a refreshing twist.

Chili is a lot like barbecue sauce. Everyone has a secret ingredient and a different way to make it. I’ve added condensed tomato soup, coffee, peanut butter, and ketchup to my chili in search of the perfect secret ingredient. I’ve seen people use jars of salsa instead of canned tomatoes. Some people think that putting beans in chili is sacrilege. Those people will hate White Chili.

White Chili - Vegan Heartbeats

So what is White Chili? White Chili has chicken instead of beef, and white beans instead of kidney, black, and pinto beans. I have tried it a few different ways, and I like it best when it has no chili powder in it – just cumin. It’s garlicky, with a traditional soup base of onion, celery and carrot.  These three ingredients give you the comforting feeling of sitting on grandma’s couch with a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup watching a movie from the 50s featuring Frank Sinatra (Oh, that’s just me?).

White beans and veggies. A little cumin. A lot of garlic. And chicken. My absolute favorite vegan chicken is homemade. I use Miyoko Schinner’s Unchicken Breast recipe from My Homemade Vegan Pantry. It’s incredibly easy and fast compared to other seitan recipes I’ve tried. The recipe makes 12 “breasts” and freezes really well. Discovering this recipe has been a game changer for weeknight meals and saves mucho money! Miyoko’s recipe for vegan chicken breast makes three times the amount of vegan chicken for the same price as one bag of frozen vegan chicken strips. That being said, any vegan chicken recipe or store bought item will work well for White Chili. There are some great gluten free options available as well (Beyond Meat).

White Chili - Vegan Heartbeats

White Chili - Vegan Heartbeats

White Chili

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Give your chili routine a refreshing spin with this hearty White Chili recipe. This recipe can easily be made in a slow cooker or on the stove top. Slow cooker time is about 3 hours on high.

Nutrition highlights: 20 grams of protein per serving, low fat, high fiber, and high in iron. 309 calories per serving.

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots (about 1-2 full sized carrots)
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery (about 2-3 stalks)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, minced (deseeded)
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • dash of cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth, separated
  • 2 15-ounce cans of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 ounces vegan chicken strips (about half a bag or 2 “breasts”), cut into cubes
  1. Add one can of white beans to a blender or food processor. Add one cup of vegetable broth and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Add a small amount of oil to a medium stock pot. Heat over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Stir to coat in oil and mix. Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the garlic, jalapeño, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the spices and veggies start sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the blended white beans, additional cup of broth, and the second can of white beans. Increase heat to medium high, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer.
  5. Optional step: sauté the chicken strips so they are crispy on all sides.
  6. Add chicken strips to the chili. Stir and let simmer 10-15 minutes.


Laura Lemon

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