Southwestern Style Chicken Chili

Gluten Free Chili

 It’s been a busy few weeks with lots on my “to do” list and a work trip to Tulsa.  More than anything over the past two weeks what I missed was cooking. Not only eating healthy, which always makes me feel great- but the actual act of cooking itself.  Some people run or go to yoga to de-stress, but for me, getting in the kitchen is the most calming thing I can do.  I feel like I’m in the “zone” and my brain stops running through the outstanding errands or the e-mails I still need to send.  Obviously there are times that I drop stuff, cause injury to myself or mess up, but most of the time I just breathe and get lost in the task at hand.

For my triumphant return to kitchen after a week away, it was only appropriate that Tyler requested some homemade chili for Superbowl Sunday.  I’ve never been a huge chili fan, but it holds a sweet spot in my heart as one of the first (and few) dishes that my husband ever made for me.  I remember how confused I was when he proudly served me his chill over a pile of spaghetti.  I thought it was a joke, since growing in New York I never heard of Cincinnati style chili, let alone tried it.  Of course I dug in to show my appreciation for his efforts and was surprised that it was actually a pretty fun and tasty way to eat chili.

While I like the spaghetti idea, I am not a fan of the chili packet that attempts to use salt to disguise the fact that it doesn’t really have a lot of flavor, so I’ve been slowly refining a chili recipe of my own.  I was inspired by delicious southwest ingredients like black beans, corn and cilantro.  It took me a few tries over the past few winter months to get it right, but I’m finally happy with the results.  This gluten free chili supper is hearty but still healthy since it is loaded with lean protein and veggies, but prepared without the sodium filled store bought seasoning mix.  You can serve this up with a side of cornbread, baked potatoes or try it Cincinnati style, over some gluten free spaghetti.  This recipe also freezes really well so I’m glad I made a big pot and already stashed away the leftovers so Tyler has something good to eat during my next road trip.

Enjoy this warm chili and check back this week for more gluten free suppers, I’ve got shrimp scampi and sweet potato gnocchi on the menu!

Ingredients: Serves about 6

  • About 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons of salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (any color but green)
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey (preferably organic)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 15 ounce can unsalted plain tomato sauce
  • 1 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup low or no sodium chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of frozen sweet corn, defrosted 
  • 1.5 cups of black beans (previously cooked or canned)

Seasoning Mix:

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • If you like spicy chili, add cayenne pepper here to taste
Topping Suggestions:
  • Handful of organic cilantro
  • Chopped Scallions
  • Shredded Cheese (I like Monterey jack here)
  • Sour Cream



  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large dutch oven
  • Add diced onion and peppers, season with 1 teaspoon of salt and a few turns of cracked black pepper
  • Cook on medium heat until softened and the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes
  • Scoop out the cooked onion/pepper mixture and set aside
  • Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan
  • Add the ground meat, season with a teaspoon of salt and a few turns of cracked black pepper and cook on medium-high heat until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes
  • Return the cooked onion/pepper mixture to the pan
  • Toss in minced garlic, seasoning mix, and bay leaves. Stir to combine.
  • Pour in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and chicken stock
  • Bring the chili to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook partially covered for at least 45 minutes
  • Add in the black beans and defrosted corn and cook for another 15 minutes
  • Top with shredded cheese, scallions, cilantro and sour cream to serve

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1 Comments to “Southwestern Style Chicken Chili”

  1. Nancy Drake says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I love your site, and since it’s going to get chilly here this evening and down to the 40s overnight, I may try your chili recipe. It sounds great. I have one that uses chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces and browned instead of the ground meat, and I use black beans, cannellini, and red kidney beans to make it colorful. (I never got into the Cincinnati way of doing things either.)

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