Saturday, March 20, 2021

Zero Point Chicken Chili

While you may think of chili as a fall/winter dish (and we are clearly coming out of those seasons), this easy and delicious chili should definitely be on your “anytime of year” list.

Developed by the terrific chef and cookbook author, Virginia Willis, as part of her healthy eating plan, as the title indicates, it has zero Weight-Watcher points. But if you’re thinking a WW dish may not be very tasty, forget it - this dish is full of flavor and spice, thanks to the chili powder, cumin, and  chipotle in adobo pepper (which adds a nice smoky essence). You can ramp the spice up or down, depending on personal preference.

Virginia’s original recipe calls for 99% fat free ground chicken. I used dark meat ground chicken so mine was probably (most definitely) not zero points, but the flavor was fabulous! I served it over white rice, with a salad on the side, and a glass of red wine (‘cause that’s what was open).

It takes a little prep time to properly cook the beans, but after that the recipe sails along quite nicely. This makes a pretty large quantity so I cut the recipe in half and it worked just as well (I used a 4qt saucepan so if you make the full recipe, adjust your pan size accordingly).

BTW: Virginia has a brand-new little book just published that may be of interest to you: Fresh Start, My Real Life Guide to Healthy Eating and Weight Loss. I downloaded it via Kindle and it’s chock-full of healthy, tasty recipes.

Today, Saturday, March 20 is the first day of Spring (hallelujah!). If the weather cooperates where you live, try to get outside. And think of this quote from Anne Bradstreet as you wander: “if we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.”

Zero Point Chicken Chili (Virginia Willis)


  • 2 C dried black beans
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 TB chili powder
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 chipotle en adobo
  • 3 C vegetable stock (more if needed)
  • 2 lbs 99% fat free ground chicken
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Soak the beans overnight or quick soak the beans. Place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Set aside for one hour. Drain.
  2. Combine soaked beans, onions, garlic, spices, tomato, and chipotle. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper (yes, salt your beans!). Cook until beans are tender, about 1 hour or more, depending on the age of the beans.
  3. Once the beans are tender, add the chicken and stir to combine. Cook until chicken is white and no trace of pink remains, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve.

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