Comfort Foods: Low-fat White Chicken Chili

I think I must have been a bear in another life because as soon as the weather starts to get crisp and cool, my body goes into hibernation mode, no longer craving the refreshing, light summer fruits and veggies. No, instead I start wanting “heavier” foods – the kind that stick to your bones, like mac & cheese. Ever tried a delicious low-fat version of that (if you have, please email me your recipe!)? It’s good to have once in a while, but it’s not a healthy every day choice, for sure.

A favorite dish of mine is this White Chicken Chili that I adapted from an American Heart Association cookbook about ten years ago. I look forward to making it each fall, and it actually even won an office chili-cook off one year! Low in fat and calories, but hearty in flavor, the only people not enjoying this are… vegetarians! Sorry! It’s also great because you can make a pot of it and enjoy it for several meals.


Vegetable oil spray

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken, cut into cubes

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)

2 c low-sodium chicken broth

4-oz can chopped green chili peppers

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground white pepper

2 15-oz cans of northern white beans, rinsed and drained

2 small whole-wheat tortillas

chili powder


1 small lime

½ c shredded low-fat cheese (Mexican blend or cheddar) (optional)

1 tsp reduced-fat sour cream (optional)

Cooking Instructions

Lightly spray a stew pot (at least 2 qt size) with vegetable oil.

Add chicken, onion and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until chicken is just tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in broth, chili peppers, cumin and white pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, uncovered.

Place half of the drained beans in
a bowl and mash them good. Stir these and the rest of the beans into the chicken mixture. Simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in juice of half the lime. Set other half aside.

Slice tortillas into thin strips and place evenly on cookie sheet. Sprinkle each side lightly with salt and chili powder. Brown in oven at 400 degrees.

Serve ¾ up chili in bowl, top with extra lime juice, tortilla strips, cheese and sour-cream.

And, in the words of Julia (though she would balk at this dish that contains no butter or fat) – bon apetít!

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