Slow Cooker Chicken, White Bean & Pumpkin Chili | Food & Nutrition


Photo: Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD

Pumpkin may have a treasured spot on the dessert table and in your favorite muffin recipe or coffee beverage, but it also has a place on the dinner table. This vibrant orange squash adds rich creaminess to this chili and a punch of nutrition.

Years ago, my family would rent a timeshare every year in the North Carolina mountains and all of my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandma would vacation together for a week of hiking, a little skiing, good food, movies, and board games. Each family would take turns cooking dinner for the huge group. Although I was only a tween, I loved helping cook and prepare the big meal when it was my family’s turn. One year, we made a white chicken chili recipe that we got from a friend and everyone raved about it!

About two decades later, I don’t have that family friend’s recipe, but I decided to create my own and load it up with flavor! This chili cooks in the slow cooker which also makes it very easy to put together and allows you to forget about it until it’s dinner time.

This Slow Cooker Chicken, White Bean & Pumpkin Chili is gluten-free and could be made vegan by replacing the chicken with an additional can of beans and the chicken broth with vegetable broth. There are several ways to make this chili fit your dietary and taste preferences. If you love the flavor of diced green chilies, grab the larger can at the grocery store.

If you want to lower the carbs a bit, you can eliminate one can of beans and replace it with more chicken. Of course, the toppings you serve can amp up the flavor and nutrition even more. And let’s face it, adding a variety of toppings is just plain fun!

This recipe works great if you want to double it, but don’t triple it like I did or you might find all of the ingredients won’t fit in your slow cooker. And then you will have to cook some of it on the stove top and the rest in your slow cooker. I learned this lesson the hard way so you don’t have to!

While my 3 year-old isn’t always fond of soup or stew recipes that have lots of ingredients all mixed together, this is one recipe she really enjoys! Of course, she especially likes it when she gets to crumble a few tortilla chips in her chili and place a big dollop of Greek yogurt on top! My 11-month old devoured it too.

Whether you are looking for a new slow cooker recipe, some time-saving recipes or a freezable recipe, this Slow Cooker Chicken, White Bean & Pumpkin Chili hits all the marks! I like to serve it with a quick green salad or some veggie sticks and dip — nice and simple.

Packed with protein and fiber, this flavorful chili will fill you up with good-for-you ingredients!

Slow Cooker Chicken, White Bean & Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients

  • ½ large sweet onion, chopped (or 1 whole small onion, chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • 2½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 chicken breasts (about 1 to 1¼ pounds)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 15-ounce cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

Optional Toppings

  • Cilantro
  • Low-fat plain yogurt or sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large nonstick pan, saute onion in oil until translucent and slightly brown on edges. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder  and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add onion and garlic mixture to slow cooker along with chicken breasts, chicken broth, salt, pepper, oregano, green chilies, pumpkin and beans.
  3. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  4. Before serving, remove the chicken and chop into bite-size pieces and return to the chili or roughly shred with 2 forks in the slow cooker. Serve warm with your favorite toppings!

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Jennifer Hunt
Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD, is a nutrition communications dietitian whose joy and passion is to empower women to live healthy, vibrant lives. She loves sharing real-life strategies to choosing nourishing foods, making delicious, easy recipes and loving the woman in the mirror. Read her blog, Healthy Inspiration, and connect with her on Facebook.





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