The big game is upon us, and what goes better with football than homemade chili? Traditional chili is prepared using ground beef and kidney beans, but with the variety of meats and beans available to us, chili doesn’t have to be traditional.  If you are among those who avoid red meat, or don’t enjoy the texture of ground meat, you may like a chili that contains shredded chicken or turkey.  Traditional chili also contains kidney beans, but you can experiment with many varieties of beans, including black beans, cannellini beans, and black-eyed peas.  Beans provide a healthy dose of protein and fiber, so if you are not a meat-eater, you can prepare a vegetarian chili by omitting the meat from the recipe.

Chili can take a while to cook, but if you like chili but don’t want to spend hours tending to it, you are in luck!  Chili can be made in a slow cooker; add all ingredients in the morning, set to cook, and enjoy it (fuss-free) in the evening. Our favorite chili recipe, developed by our Registered Dietitian, Beth Rosen, MS, RD, CDN, uses a secret ingredient that bumps up the flavor while keeping the spiciness at bay.

Three Bean Chicken Chili

Makes about 12 cups

(get a printable version here)


1 pound boneless, skinless, raw chicken breast

1 can (16 oz) fire-roasted tomatoes

2 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans or black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) butter beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (4 oz) fire-roasted green chiles

2 medium onions, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the minced garlic for the last 30 seconds and remove from the heat.  Place the onions and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Next, add the chicken as the next layer, and then add rest of the ingredients on top.  Give a little mix to blend everything above the chicken. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Use a meat thermometer to test that the chicken has reached at least 165 F before eating.  Shred the chicken using two forks (it should fall apart easily) and stir to incorporate before serving.

Did you guess the secret ingredient?  It’s the fire-roasted tomatoes!  You can find them wherever you purchase canned tomatoes in your market.  They add a delicious roasted flavor without adding spice.  If you like to turn up the heat, increase the cayenne pepper or add jalepeños in your chili.

Bon Appétit from Healthy Newtown!

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