White Chili with Jalapeños, Spinach, Cheddar and Optional Chicken Sausage Recipe

We are in the thick of chili season, plus with big chili-serving gatherings such as Super Bowl parties and other game days ahead, you’ll need some ideas for feeding a hungry crowd that may include people with various dietary needs. White chili is a fun variation on the usual bowl of red. This gluten-free vegetarian recipe relies on tart tomatillos and white beans for a pale but still vibrant chili, notes local chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell, who contributed this recipe to Real Food. Spinach adds a lovely swirl of green, and everyone will love the melty Cheddar cheese topping—those who eat dairy, of course. For those who would like to include meat in the mix, chicken sausage can be available on the side to add to individual servings. And if you are making the most of the outdoors, a pot of chili is the perfect warming meal after skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating or even a walk in the neighborhood.

White Chili with Jalapeños, Spinach, Cheddar, and Optional Chicken Sausage

Makes 6 servings

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 large jalapeños, chopped
2 15-ounce cans white beans, with juices
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup canned chopped tomatillos or mild green salsa
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 ounces spicy chicken sausage per person, precooked and chopped
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1. In a large pot, heat oil 1 minute then add onion, garlic, red pepper, and jalapeños. SauteÌ over medium heat until vegetables are softened and onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, tomatillos or salsa, paprika, cumin, and oregano. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer about 10 minutes.

2. Warm chicken sausage for each serving of meaty chili.

3. Just before serving, stir spinach into chili until wilted. Add salt to taste. Stir chicken sausage into each meat eater’s bowl. Serve topped with a sprinkling of Cheddar.

Nutrition Info (Per Serving)
• White Chili With Jalapeños, Spinach & Cheddar: Calories 284 (84 From Fat); Fat 10g (Sat. 4g); Chol 20mg; Sodium 743mg; Carb 36g; Fiber 9g; Protein 16g

• With Optional Chicken Sausage: Calories 391 (145 From Fat); Fat 16g (Sat. 6g); Chol 53mg; Sodium 1101mg; Carb 37g; Fiber 9g; Protein 26g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.