Fall is here and it is gorgeous on the East Coast. We’ve had very mild weather, but the flavors of fall are still beckoning. Pumpkin, cinnamon, squashes, and vibrant fall greens and herbs like kale, chard and cilantro.  I dread the start of winter, but I just cannot get enough of FALL produce!

My mom was in town this week visiting. Yesterday we went to the mall to start our Christmas shopping before she headed back to Chicago. We stopped at the Cheesecake Factory for lunch and I had their white chicken chili. I LOVE this dish. It’s warm, inviting and the perfect amount of heat/spice.  (BTW: Cheesecake Factory has wonderfully healthy dishes in their small dish/tapas section. They have a kale salad, asparagus salad, farro salad, and other selections with vegetables and whole grains. A BIG shout out to the Cheesecake Factory!)  Tonight, I decided to recreate this chili, but of course with my own signature touch and recipe.

I wanted to embrace FALL more, so I based the chili/stoup off of fall flavors like pumpkin and  sweet potatoes.  I added in healthy spices like cumin, turmeric, thyme and Penzey’s Forward spice blend (this is an awesome spice blend to use with tacos, chili, or just add a burst of flavor on vegetables or meat). You can easily make this vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth instead. Here’s the recipe:


2 chicken breasts – diced and seasoned with salt and pepper

1 medium yellow onion

1 large clove of garlic

1 orange or yellow bell pepper

1/2 yellow squash (optional – I add extra so added it in)

1 sweet potato

1 can pumpkin

1 can /box white beans

1 quart/box (about 4 cups) of chicken broth (or use vegetable)

Spices: Cumin, Turmeric,  Forward Spice Blend, Thyme (about 2 teaspoons each – you can adjust later)

Salt and Pepper

Garnishes: chopped cilantro, avocado, yogurt, feta cheese and crumbled tortilla chips

white bean pumpkin chili

How to Make it

1. Do all your prepping: Wash, peel (sweet potatoes) and dice all your vegetables. Set aside in bowls

2. Heat 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil in Dutch oven or heavy bottom pan

3. Add in chicken and brown, then remove before completely cooked – put on a plate and set aside

4. Add in onion & garlic and stir for a few minutes – make sure the garlic does not burn! Then add your spices. Stir around

5. Add in all vegetables and beans,  and stir until coated.  Then add in your liquid and pumpkin. Stir until blended

6. Add your chicken back in, bring to a boil and then reduce to low, covered.

7.  Cook about 15-20 minutes and stir occasionally.  Salt and pepper to your liking when done.

8. In the interim, place garnishes in small separate bowls and set on the table. The kids can help you prep this and crush the tortillas.

9.  Serve hot with garnishes for each person to choose.  Enjoy!