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Low-Cal Chicken, White Bean and Veggie Chili

My house – it’s small. We technically don’t have a table. We do, but it’s pushed against the wall and there’s a computer on it. Most of my meals are eaten on the cushy memory-gel kitchen mat that my husband bought me for a Christmas present (and then we got in a fight about).

So when we have more than a few people over and we can’t eat outside on our patio, I almost always serve soup/chili/stew. Why? Well you can eat a bowl of chili on the couch and be just as comfortable as if you’re at a table. This is probably why it became the quintessential watching-football-food.  While it’s always great for entertaining, for a weeknight typical chili could use some lightening up – here’s why. Fatty ground beef and all those beans make it nudge the calorie scale a bit higher than I’d like. You have to be choosy; go with white meat when possible, and whenever you up the veggie quotient the calories will fall.

See this is the thing- I’m pregnant. People have told me, “oh just eat whatever you want, you’re gonna get fat anyway” but I most definitely disagree. There’s technically no reason the baby growing in the front should make my butt bigger. The self-control is worse overall so to balance the amount of fried Chick-Filet sandwiches I’ve eaten in the past three months I figure lightened up chili, it is!

Chicken, White Bean and Veggie Chili

Serves six to eight

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 large chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp. oregano
2 tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
10 oz. sliced mushrooms, chopped
1 zucchini, diced
2 (15 oz) cans cannelloni or navy beans, rinsed
2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth
Juice of 1 lime


1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large, heavy soup pot.
2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and cook in hot pan, about six to eight minutes per side until golden brown and barely cooked through.
3. Remove chicken to a cutting board and add onion and garlic. Saute for about five minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with wooden spoon.
4. Add oregano, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder and salt and stir to combine.
5. Add mushrooms and zucchini and stir to combine. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables release their liquid and the liquid reduces (so that when you scrape the bottom of the pan the scraped area stays clean), about 12 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, shred chicken.
7. Add chicken and beans to pot, along with chicken broth. Cover and bring mixture to a boil. Uncover and simmer on low heat until slightly thickened.
8. Turn off the heat and add lime juice. Serve, topped with tortilla chips or shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

6 thoughts on “Low-Cal Chicken, White Bean and Veggie Chili

  1. Hi Becca! Had left over rice and shredded chicken from Monday night burritos. I remembered seeing this recipe and, luckily, had two cans of cannelloni in the pantry. Did not have mushrooms, zucchini or lime. The left over chicken was about one breast worth. So, I kept all the spice quantities the same and lowered the amount of chicken broth. One word – AWESOME! The heat was perfect. It thickened up great. I served over the left over rice with a dollop of sour cream. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Heather – SO SO glad this worked with the alterations! Love your alternative.. perfect for a pantry clean out like I’m doing now. Cans are always the last to go! THanks for your review!!

  2. Hi Court! Mary tried it in the crockpot, I haven’t yet. I looked over the recipe that I believe that you could throw everything in there with the chicken still whole – cook on low for 6-8 hours, then remove the chicken and shred. Add the chicken back and check the seasonings. Then serve, topped with cheese/tortilla chips. Let me know how that works!

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