Creamy, healthy White Bean Chili with green chiles and corn is a hearty vegetarian version of the classic, packed with flavor and plant protein! An easy one-pot-meal perfect for chilly nights.
My soul needed this chili like you wouldn't believe! Like my Sweet Potato Chili, it's a hug in a bowl with mega flavor that makes the coziest meal on chilly days. Serve with my fave Skillet Cornbread if you're feelin' fancy pants.
My friend's mom growing up made a mean white chicken chili. It reminds me of high school football and low-rise jeans and getting my first flip phone and ya know, the glory days!
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Onion: The aromatic flavor foundation of our chili! Yellow or white onion works.
- Garlic: I like lots of garlic. You can use more or less depending on your preferences.
- White beans: I use Great Northern beans, but cannelini also work. You could also swap in one can of chickpeas.
- Green chiles: Canned fire-roasted green chiles are a must here. They add so much flavor to white chili! We're not draining them since the liquid is packed with spices.
- Spices: We're using oregano, coriander (dried cilantro, which is also my secret weapon for the best guacamole), and cumin to spice up our chili. If you want more heat, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Broth: Using a rich, flavorful liquid makes a huge difference in whether your chili is delish or not. Chicken or vegetable broth work great. Better Than Bouillon base is my favorite because I can whip up broth whenever I need it and it's much more affordable than cartons of broth.
- Plain Greek yogurt: For richness and creaminess. The higher in fat it is, the better the texture will be. I use whole milk Greek yogurt. You could also use sour cream or 4oz cream cheese.
- Cilantro: Much needed herby goodness to bring everything to life.
- Lime: A bright acidic touch that balances all the flavors.
How to make white bean chili (step by step)
This soup yields four good-sized bowls of soup. If you're feeding a crowd, you can easily double it!
Blend a can of beans with a cup of broth to thicken the chili. Sauté onion in oil for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Add spices and cook for 1 minute.
Add corn, chiles, remaining beans, broth, and the blended.
Bring chili to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
Stir in cilantro, yogurt and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy with all your favorite chili toppings!
Can I make it vegan?
Yes! To make vegan white bean chili, simply use 4oz dairy-free cream cheese instead of yogurt. I wouldn't recommend vegan yogurt here as they're usually thin.
Serve with my Vegan Skillet Cornbread!
Can I make it in the Instant Pot or slow cooker?
Yes! Both methods work great.
- Follow step 1 of the recipe. Add oil to Instant Pot and press SAUTE. Once hot, add onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add cumin, coriander and oregano and cook for 1 minute. Add corn, chiles, remaining 2 cans of beans, remaining 2 cups broth, and the blended bean mixture.
- Cover and seal Instant Pot. Press manual, and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Quick release any remaining steam. Remove the lid and turn the machine off. Proceed with step 4 of the recipe.
Don't miss my Slow Cooker Curried Butternut Chili, too!
- Follow step 1 of the recipe. Add all ingredients to slow cooker except lime juice, cilantro and yogurt. Cook on low for 6 hours.
- Proceed with step 4 of the recipe.
What makes this healthy?
As a dietitian, I go nuts for chili every fall not only because it's a delish and filling hug in a bowl, but also because it's packed with fiber for gut health and is an easy way to get a few servings of vitamin-rich veggies. Talk about a wholesome dinner idea!
Chili is a stellar canvas for heart-healthy toppings like avocado and cilantro, too. Winning!
My favorite way to enjoy this chili is with:
- crushed tortilla chips
- shredded white or regular cheddar cheese
- fluffy cornbread muffins
- jalapeño slices for texture and heat
- extra cilantro
Soup season forever and ever!!Print
Creamy, healthy White Bean Chili is a hearty vegetarian version of the classic, packed with flavor and plant protein! An easy one-pot-meal perfect for chilly nights. Serve with cornbread, tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and/or avocado. This chili is mild; for more heat, you can add a seeded diced jalapeño or ¼ tsp cayenne pepper.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 cups corn (I used frozen)
- 2 (4oz) cans mild green chilis (or try one hot!), not drained
- 3 (15oz) can Great Northern or cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups vegetable broth (I use 3 cups water + 3 tsp Better than Bouillon)
- heaping ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- ½ lime, juiced
- 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (whole milk/full fat is best)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Measure out yogurt and set aside on the counter so it can come to room temperature.
- Place 1 can of drained and rinsed beans in a blender. Add 1 cup of broth and blend until mostly smooth. (You can also mash with a potato masher and do this in a bowl if you don't have a blender.) This helps thicken the chili. Set aside.
- Warm oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add cumin, coriander and oregano and cook for 1 minute. Add corn, chiles, remaining 2 cans of beans, remaining 2 cups broth, and the blended bean mixture.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
- Stir in cilantro, yogurt, lime juice, and soy sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I added ½ tsp salt) and enjoy topped with tortilla chips, cheese, and/or avocado!