I was leery but intrigued when I first spotted Giada’s chicken chili recipe, about a decade ago. Her chosen blend of spices was new to me, but seemed to receive rave reviews. I ended up making several changes to her recipe, but stayed true to the concept. My dairy-free white chicken chili is made without cheese, has a mild-to-medium heat, and uses chopped chicken. And it is delicious!
A lot of time has passed since I first shared this recipe, which I’ve made many times since. So I’m giving this post a big update and a new home in our recipe section.
Dairy-Free White Chicken Chili that’s Healthy and Tomato-Free
I’ve already included several options in this recipe, but have a few more tips.
- Up the Veg – This makes a chicken-heavy chili. Feel free to cut the chicken down to 3/4-pound, 1/2-pound, or even make it vegetarian if you wish. You can easily double the beans, add some more veggies, or just thicken the broth a bit more and enjoy it with less of the chunky add-ins.
- Save it for Tomorrow – This dairy-free white chicken chili is delicious fresh, but it becomes even more special when refrigerated overnight. So don’t be afraid to make it ahead, or to make a batch big enough for leftovers.
- Swap the Greens – I liked Giada’s use of Swiss chard, which is an under-appreciated vegetables. But you can substitute kale, or a bag of baby spinach leaves if good chard isn’t readilty available.
- Serve Bread on the Side – We usually enjoy this dairy-free white chicken chili over rice. But if you opt to simply dish it up in bowls, I recommend serving it with some dairy-free rolls. You’ll want to soak up all of the delicious thick broth.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free White Chicken Chili
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and soy-free.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small chunks*
- 1½ teaspoons non-GMO cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- ⅛ teaspoon + ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- ½ large onion, diced or 1 leek, sliced ¼-inch thick and quartered
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons flour (can use gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large bunch swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped (see post above for options)
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups cooked white or brown rice, for serving (optional)
- Place the chicken in a medium-sized bowl, and stir in the starch and ⅛ teaspoon salt, until no dry patches remain.
- Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion or leek and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for just 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the chicken, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and fennel. Saute until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. If the chicken threatens to stick, just add a dash or two of the broth.
- Stir in the flour until coated. Slowly add the broth, while stirring, to keep it smooth. Add the beans, chard, and corn. The chard will look boisterous, but don’t worry, it cooks down significantly.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow it to simmer for 30 to 60 minutes. The liquid will reduce in half and thicken a fair bit. Taste test it as it is cooking, and season to taste with additional salt, as needed. You can also add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper if you want more spice.
- Serve over rice, if desired.