This healthy White Chicken Chili recipe is a great make-ahead meal, perfect for fast family dinners or a cozy winter dinner party.
Do you remember the 1990s?
Our hair was a lot less big than in the 80s thanks to our friends Rachel and Monica.
We sure did love our flannels.
And Tex-Mex cuisine was exploding!
At least, it was in Maryland and Virginia where I lived during that time.
Maybe in other parts of the country, it was already a big thing?
But in my neck of the woods, it seemed like everywhere I turned there was a new restaurant with Texican food.
I still remember the first time I tasted chili which was made from chicken…
White Chicken Chili: Hold the Tomatoes
My mind was blown.
I knew I needed to figure out how to make that recipe at home.
The recipe I created still lives in my personal recipe binder, one of my favorite wedding gifts.
If you don’t have your own personal cookbook, I highly recommend getting one like this!
There are plastic sleeves where you can slip in recipe cards, and also pages you can write on to copy recipes you find online.
You can even punch holes in recipes you print from a blog! (wink wink)
That recipe up there is delicious, but when I stopped eating refined wheat flour and started eating way more veggies, I needed to make some changes.
How to Make White Chicken Chili Healthier
If you scroll back up and take a look at my original recipe, you’ll notice I thickened it with flour.
Also, the only vegetable was one lonely onion.
If you’ve tried my All Meat Chili recipe, then you know I love adding bell peppers to my chili.
So this is exactly where I began making my recipe tweaks.
I’ve added one red bell pepper and one green bell pepper which add some great flavor and a little pop of color.
Bell peppers are super healthy with lots of vitamin C and antioxidants.
But then I get sneaky.
The sisters who wrote Trim Healthy Mama are famous for sneaking all kinds of veggies into their recipes!
I borrowed a page from their playbook…
How to Hide Veggies in Your Chili
Why yes, that is frozen cauliflower in that blender cup.
Just add some warm water and blend it on high for about a minute.
And now you’ve got some hidden veggies for your healthy white chicken chili.
Talk about boosting the vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber!
I promise you that no one will ever know unless you tell them.
I’ve even added a bag of frozen cut okra to my chili using this sneaky trick…
Some fresh jalapeno pepper is another super healthy addition to my updated white chicken chili.
Sure, the jalapeno adds a little bit of a kick.
But did you know jalapenos have earned superfood status because they can boost your metabolism and even help reduce inflammation?
If you don’t like your food spicy, just use the outer parts of the jalapeno. Trim off the white membranes and watch out for those seeds…
Have I ever told you about the first time I made guacamole on my own?
Coincidentally, it was in the 1990s, and I’d never used a jalapeno before.
I was new to making anything other than tacos!
I chopped up the whole. jalapeno. pepper. and added every last one of those seeds to my fresh guacamole…
Oh man, it was spicy!
I couldn’t eat more than a tiny bit of it.
Fortunately, my hubby and brother-in-law love spicy food!
So just be careful about how many jalapeno seeds you add to your chili.
A little goes a long way…
If you like spicy foods, be sure to try my recipe for Nashville Hot Chicken Chili too!
Tips for Preparing This Healthy Chili Recipe
The only prep work for this simple chili recipe is a little bit of chopping.
I like to chop my onions and peppers small for soup and chili recipes.
These peppers are about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch cubes.
Then the jalapenos get minced up even smaller.
Be sure to rinse and drain the beans.
That liquid is really salty and starchy.
If you have people in your life who don’t like beans, you can blend the beans smooth with the chicken broth!
Then you get all the flavor and healthy benefits without the texture (which is what my daughters dislike).
This also makes your chili nice and thick.
Don’t drain off the liquid from the diced green chiles.
One of my favorite hacks for deliciously cooked chicken can be found at Costco.
Did you know you can buy a 3-pound vacuum-sealed bag of rotisserie chicken breasts?
It makes soup season an absolute breeze.
After adding all the seasonings and broth, go ahead and pour in the cauliflower puree.
Give it all a good stir, set the crockpot to high, and let it cook for 4 hours.
If you want, you can do all the prep work the night, put the crock in your refrigerator without cooking.
Then, just set the slow cooker on low in the morning and let it cook for 8 hours instead.
Dinner will be ready when you are!
Thicken The Chili After Slow Cooking
I’ve ditched using refined wheat products so needed a different way to thicken this healthy chicken chili recipe.
Not only will this trick thicken up the chili, but it also adds some wonderful flavor too!
When the chili is done cooking, place some Neufchatel cheese and unsweetened almond milk in a saucepan.
Set the heat to medium-low and let the cheese melt, stirring occasionally.
Whisk it smooth, then stir the cheese sauce into the chili.
How to Serve White Chicken Chili
This recipe is easy, delicious, and healthy!
Basically my favorite kind of recipe.
You can enjoy this chili straight from the crockpot.
If you want, set out some garnishes like fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, sliced green onions, diced avocado, purple onion, and tortilla strips.
I made this chili for a winter dinner party and created a whole “Top Your Own Chili” bar!
If you follow Trim Healthy Mama, it’s an E-meal recipe.
That means it has healthy carbohydrates thanks to beans and non-starchy vegetables, and it only has 5 grams of fat per serving.
Skip fatty toppings like shredded cheese and avocado to avoid turning this into a crossover (XO).
I love topping my bowl with chopped fresh cilantro and green onions with just a tiny sprinkle of shredded cheese (maybe a Tablespoon).
Be sure to leave a star rating and review after you make the recipe!
This helps other people to find and enjoy it too.
Plus it means the world to us!