As I write this in early January, the excitement of the holidays and indulgent meals has worn off and I’m looking for lighter meals that are still hearty and warming. This creamy vegan white chicken chili is the perfect balance of fresh and filling. Beans, hominy, and plant-based chicken “beef” up the recipe while fresh herbs and lime juice keep it light. You’ll love this recipe because it’s:
- Ready in 30 minutes
- Freezer-friendly for busy weeknights
- Full of plant-based protein and fiber
Apparently there’s some debate as to wether beans belong in chili? I’m 100 percent team beans in every chili I enjoy, and this one is no exception. Here’s what you’ll need:
Green onions and garlic form the flavor base of the soup and give it a lovely pop of green.
Cumin, coriander, and oregano are a perfect trio of spices that give this soup its signature Mexican-inspired chili flavor.
Pinto beans bulk up the soup. You can also use navy beans, cannellini beans, or even chickpeas.
White hominy is a form of corn and adds a lovely bite and helps thicken the soup.
Green chiles add a touch of spice and more beautiful green color. I use mild ones here, but you can certainly use spicy ones if you can handle the heat!
Vegan chicken is the main protein source and adds more heartiness. Make sure to buy unbreaded pieces. Gardein and Morningstar Farms are both popular brands found in well-stocked supermarkets.
Vegetable stock thins out the chili. Give the dish a taste after you’ve added your vegetable stock — it may need more salt depending on how salty your product is.
Vegan sour cream gives the chili a decadent creaminess. Stir it into the chili off-heat, and add more for garnish, if desired.
Cilantro and lime juice added off-heat give the chili a hit of freshness and cut through the creaminess.
Avocado makes everything better — am I wrong? Add it sliced or diced as a garnish, if desired.
How To Make Vegan White Chicken Chili
Thanks to a few canned and frozen ingredients, this chili comes together super quickly!
First, chop your green onions, garlic, and cilantro. Congrats — that’s all the prep work you have to do!
Sautee the green onions in a dutch oven with some avocado oil over medium heat until softened. Then add the garlic and spices and cook another minute.
Add the beans, hominy, and chiles and stir until well combined. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the chicken and cook another few minutes.
Off heat, add the sour cream, lime juice, and cilantro.
Garnish with avocado, sour cream, lime wedges, cilantro, and green onions.
Can You Make This Chili In the Slow Cooker?
Yes! This white chicken chili works great in a slow cooker. Simply add all the ingredients except for the sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6–8 hours or high for 4 hours. Just before serving, stir in the sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice.
Make Ahead Suggestions
Refrigerator: The flavor of this chili only improves over time. I like to make it in my dutch oven the day before and stick the whole pot in the fridge. Then, when I’m ready to serve, I just reheat everything over the stove until it’s hot.
Freezer: This chili is also a great freezer meal for busy weeknights or unexpected company. You could also make a double batch and enjoy half now and freeze half for later. After cooking, let it cool and then transfer to gallon freezer bags (you’ll need 2) or any other airtight container. Label it and keep it in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator the night before, and then reheat on the stove.
Want more deliciously cozy plant-based soups? Make these next:
Vegan White Chicken Chili
For the chili:
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 bunch green onions
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 24-oz can white hominy (drained, but not rinsed)
- 1 15-oz can pinto beans (drained, but not rinsed)
- 1 7-oz can mild green chiles (not drained)
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 13.5-oz package unbreaded vegan chicken pieces (diced)
- 1/2 cup vegan sour cream
- 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1 lime (juiced)
- vegan sour cream
- sliced avocado
- green onions
- lime wedges
- Chop the green onions, separating the white/light green parts (you'll cook these) from the dark green tops (you'll use these for garnish).
- Heat the avocado oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the white/light green onions and cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1–2 more minutes to toast the spices.
- Add the white hominy, pinto beans, and green chiles. Stir to coat in the spices, onions, and garlic.
- Add the vegetable broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. (At this point, if you want a super thick chili, see the note below for an optional step).
- Once boiling, add the vegan chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning, adding more salt to taste depending on the saltiness of your vegetable stock.
- Remove from heat and add the sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice. Stir well to combine.
- Serve hot, garnished with any of the desired toppings.
- Leftovers save well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer in an airtight container (I use gallon ziplock bags) for up to 6 months.