This creamy, flavorful, southwest chicken chili is loaded with veggies and protein. The creaminess comes from pureed corn, so no dairy is needed. Warm, comforting, tasty… everything a chili should be.
Warm up with this healthy white chicken chili. This recipe originated from my mom, but I’ve made quite a few tweaks to it over the years to make it gluten free and a little bit cleaner.
Why This Recipe Works
- DAIRY FREE - this southwest chili gets it's creamy base from pureed corn!
- GLUTEN FREE - the base of the chili is thickened with arrowroot starch - no flours here!
- HEARTY & FILLING - tons of veggies like celery, peppers, onions, and leeks and packed with plant-based and animal protein.
- GREAT FOR LEFTOVERS - double the batch and freeze some for later. Or it's perfect for leftovers throughout the week.
Don't be overwhelmed by the list of ingredients... I know it's a lot, but SO worth it 🙂
extra-virgin olive oil
frozen sweet corn
Anaheim pepper - these are mild in spice, but if you like a little extra kick, you could replace this with a jalapeño pepper.
Arrowroot starch - used to thicken the base of the chili, but you could easily use tapioca starch/flour or corn starch (all options keep it gluten free).
Chicken broth - either chicken or vegetable broth will work. You can use stock, or bone broth too. I like using bone broth.
Frozen sweet corn - canned corn would work too.
Beans - I like the combination of black beans and pinto beans, but you could use all black or all pinto.
How to Make
COOK VEGGIES AND SPICES: Add all of the chopped veggies and olive oil to a large stock pot or dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until veggies begin to soften; about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add in all the spices and arrowroot starch. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly (this helps to bring out the flavor of the spices).
ADD BROTH: Add the broth to veggies/spices and bring to a simmer.
ADD PUREED CORN TO CHILI BASE: Puree corn and water in a high speed blender and then mix in with the chili.
ADD REMAINING INGREDIENTS: Toss in the cooked/shredded chicken, beans, and corn.
LET SIMMER AND ENJOY! Stir and let all ingredients simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes. And then enjoy this healthy white chicken chili!
Southwest Chicken Chili FAQs
This makes enough for 6-8 servings. However, I always double this recipe as it is way too good not have leftovers for freezing.
Absolutely! Omit the chicken, and add additional veggies and beans. Also, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Fridge - store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezer - place chili in an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Simmer - after all ingredients have been added, allow chili to simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow all the flavors to stand out (can simmer even longer if needed).
Toppings - top with cilantro, avocado, chopped onion, radishes, cheese, and/or sour cream (non-dairy if needed).
Spice - this chili is pretty mild as I’m not a huge fan of spicy foods. If you want some extra heat in your chili, add some chopped jalapeños with the veggies, or just sprinkle some on the top of your chili.
More Recipes I Think You'll Like
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Eat Clean.Be Healthy!
Southwest Chicken Chili
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 large leeks, white part only, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. dried oregano
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. arrowroot starch
- 4 cups chicken broth (I like using chicken bone broth)
- ½ cup water
- 4 cups frozen corn, thawed
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1.5 lbs. cooked and shredded chicken breasts (or pulled chicken from 1 rotisserie chicken)
- Add all of the chopped veggies, garlic, and olive oil to a large stock pot or dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until veggies begin to soften; about 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and add in all the spices and arrowroot starch. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly (this helps to bring out the flavor of the spices).
- Add broth to veggies/spices and bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, puree the water with 1 ½ cups of the corn in a blender. Add this to the other ingredients in the stock pot/dutch oven.
- Add the beans, shredded chicken, and remaining corn. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
- The arrowroot starch is used to help thicken the base of the chili. You can use tapioca starch/flour or corn starch in it's place. Or you can omit all together. If you skip the starch, you'll have more of a soup than a chili, but it will still be delicious!
- There's no magic amount of chicken needed in this chili; anywhere around 1 ½ lbs. I have found works well.
- You can use one rotisserie chicken from the store as well - use both light and dark meat.
- If you're new to leeks, here are some tips:
- Before cutting, rinse each leek.
- Cut each leek where the white starts to turn green (you'll only want the bottom/base of each leek) and discard the green tops.
- Cut the root off of each leek and then cut down the middle lengthwise (so you have two long half-moon shapes). Then slice the short way into ¼" slices.
- You can discard the outside layer of the leek if it’s too tough to cut. And if you notice some dirt inside each layer of the leek you can rinse the sliced leeks. Simply place in a strainer and lightly rinse with water.
- I typically use frozen corn, but you could use canned corn too.
- You can simmer for longer than 30 minutes, but I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes to let all the flavors mix together.
- Recipe states 6 servings, but if they are on the smaller side you can get 8 servings.
The problem with corn is that it’s not clean. Corn is generally GMO and filled with toxins.
* purée the other vegetables will also thicken the soup
Thanks for the comment, Nancy! You are correct that some may not consider corn clean. I do recommend organic corn though to ensure it is not GMO and to also avoid pesticides/herbicides. And I love the idea of pureeing the other veggies to thicken the soup. Alternatively, you could just leave out the corn and have more of a soup than a chili/chowder.