A hearty soup is a perfect staple meal to have around the holidays. It is light, but filling, lasts for days when it’s just you, and feeds the masses when family is in town!
In terms of nutrition, this recipe has home a long way since my family holidays growing up. The original recipe called for cream to make this white bean chicken chili recipe into the thick consistency we desired. I’m not going to lie … all I can remember is heaven about that soup … BUT as my 20s have brought more of a lactose sensitive stomach and a slightly slower metabolism, the cream base is no longer as desirable. Between holiday parties and eating out, I want a light and guilt-free meal that is going to keep me in check this month!
When I was starting college, my mom and I decided to use Fat-Free Half-and-Half to cut the calories while still giving the chili its creamy texture. Well, let’s start with the fact that “fat-free” half and half is an oxymoron in its own right – how can a product that is supposed to be ½ cream and ½ milk be fat-free? This product is created by adding corn syrup, artificial chemicals and thickeners to stimulate the taste and mouth feel of buttermilk. Red flag!
Luckily, I did my research in my early nutrition classes to quickly learn what fat-free foods are truly made of: artificial thickeners, chemicals, and often times, sweeteners, to make up for the reduced fat content. I quickly told my mom to stop using the product and I believe, after years of debate, I’ve finally got it out of her pantry!
Over the next few years we played around with this soup and got rid of the cream component all together. We simply used low sodium chicken broth. The results – cooking on a low temperature, with the lid OFF, allows the soup to thicken up really nicely. By mashing some of the white beans, we are also adding thickness to the soup base and thus turning it more into a chili. We did it!
This recipe is perfect for the Lunch Bunch because it really is better the next day. And better the day after that. And day after that. The longer you let this soup simmer, the creamier and more flavorful it becomes. Prep this recipe in your slow cooker Sunday morning and let it simmer all day long before portioning out for the week – you will be glad you got an early start!
Around the holidays, a lot of us want to transform our favorite recipes into something guilt-free. This absolutely is a wonderful task to take on IF we are not substituting real ingredients for the fake ones. Take this recipe as a lesson that fake ingredients do NOT yield the best product!
It is possible to make some of our favorite holiday treats into lighter versions with REAL ingredient swaps. For instance, use applesauce in place of oil in baked goods or make an almond crust in place of pie dough. Please always feel free to reach out to me if you need any advice! And if you simply don’t have time to get adventurous this holiday, just remember portion control and stick to this healthy soup between the parties.
Grab your guide to prepping and packing lunch here.
- 2-3 fresh carrots
- 1-2 stalks celery
- 1 red pepper
- 1 small onion, yellow
- 1 jalapeño
- 1 rotisserie chicken
- 2 cans great northern white beans
- Chicken stock, low sodium
- Optional add-ins:
- Tortilla chips (corn)
- Corn bread
- 1 rotisserie chicken,
- 2 (15oz) cans great northern white beans
- 4 cups low sodium chicken stock (approx. 1 box)
- 1 red pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 cup onion, minced
- 1 cup fresh carrots, finely diced
- 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
- 3-4 (small) cloves fresh garlic, finely diced
- 1 small jalapeño, minced
- A few dashes salt and pepper
- Lightly coat slow cooker with olive oil
- Dice pepper, onion, carrots, celery, garlic and jalapeño. Add to slow cooker.
- Pull meat from the rotisserie chicken while still warm, trying to discard all fat and skin. Shred the chicken into bite size pieces. Add chicken to slow cooker.
- Pour two cups of chicken stock over soup base. Gently mix.
- Rinse and drain white beans. Mash ½ of the white beans with potato masher to a blended consistency. Add beans (both mashed and whole) to the soup.
- Pour remaining two cups of chicken broth. Gently stir all together and season with salt and pepper
- Cook on low for 4-5 hours with the lid OFF. Or cook on high for 3-4 hours with lid off.
- Top with tortilla chips