Jennifer's Recipe: White Chickpea Chili


Photo: How Sweet Eats

We are all probably familiar with some different kinds of zones. There are school zones, residential zones, commercial zones, industrial zones, work zones, and no parking zones. I am wondering if you have ever heard of Blue Zones? These are five spots around the world where the oldest and healthiest people live. They are longevity hotspots. Their way of life has been studied to determine why they live such long and healthy lives. The study has revealed that people living in these Blue Zones mostly eat plant-based foods, and exercise regularly, drink moderate amounts of alcohol, get enough sleep, and have good family, social, and spiritual networks.

However, I think that I have figured out the true secret to their healthy long lives. All five of the Blue Zones are in mild and temperate climates! It is usually warm and sunny. They are all near oceans as well. Sounds perfect. If you live anywhere in the Midwest right now, you are experiencing extremely frigid weather. That is about as opposite to the Blue Zones as you can get. No wonder they live so long, they don't have to deal with this crazy cold and snow! It can be extremely hard to live where the windchill factor is 30 below or more! My family in Montana and the Dakotas have even crazier temperatures.

Well sadly, I am not thinking of moving to one of the Blue Zones soon, but I can try some of their lifestyles. Eating habits seem like a good place to begin. Beans and legumes are the cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world. Let's start in the kitchen by making White Chickpea Chili. This meatless soup includes beans and legumes which is a double bonus! Its flavor is creamy and comforting, especially on these frigid days and nights. You can tailor it to your spice level. I like to start it early in the day and get it up to the simmering point. I put it in the fridge until I am getting ready for dinner, then I simmer it for 15-20 minutes. That makes it so convenient to get it started early in the day. Serve it with a salad and/or bread and you have a great meal.

The people of Sardinia Italy, Okinawa Japan, the Nicoya Peninsula Costa Rica, Ikaria Greece, and Loma Linda California seem to hold the secret to living a longer and healthier life. I may not always have a mild and temperate climate to live in, but I sure can try to emulate some of their other lifestyles. Who knows, maybe living in a severe cold climate is making us all hardier than we know!

Stay warm and enjoy some homemade soup today.


White Chickpea Chili


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion or other onion with a pinch of sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or any salt you have
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 (4 ounces) mild diced green chilis
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 (14 ounces) can cannellini beans - drained and rinsed
  • 2 (14 ounces) cans chickpeas - drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth1 cup corn - frozen, canned or fresh
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Optional toppings - sour cream, tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, crackers, cheddar cheese


Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Stir in the onions. Cook until soft about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the green chilis, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in the beans, broth, and corn. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Stir in the heavy cream and sour cream, mixing until well incorporated. Taste and season additionally as needed. If your broth is not overly flavorful, you may need to add a little more salt.

Serve in bowls immediately with any toppings of your choice.

Serves - 6-8 servings depending on the size of a serving


  • If you want more kick, choose chilis that are not mild. Aldi's brand has more kick.
  • I have cut back the cumin from the original recipe, feel free to experiment with more.
  • Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans.
  • I use a low-sodium chicken bouillon and water for my broth. 
  • Sometimes I add another 1/4-1/2 cup cream to the recipe. 
  • Sour cream or yogurt both work well. Sometimes I use some of both.
  • This recipe can be cut in half. You will have 1/2 can of the beans to use in another recipe. 
  • Recipe Source - Adapted from How Sweet Eats
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