May 28, 2022


I don't know if it's been like this all over or just where I live, but the weather here has been crazy this year. It has felt like winter all spring long. We were going back and forth between the heat and the air conditioning for a couple of weeks. And we've had a ton of rain.

On one of those cold and rainy days, nothing sounded better than chili for dinner. This recipe by Choosing Chia for Vegan White Chili looked amazing (I'll link to it again at the end of the post).  I've loved experimenting with different vegan recipes over the past several months, and this one looked like something my whole family would like.

As a side note: I decided I am not going to make any recipes that start with "THE BEST ____" because probably 75% of the recipes I browsed on Pinterest claimed to be "the best" of whatever. Those words don't even mean anything anymore!

As for the ingredients: cooking oil, onions, garlic, celery, bell pepper, jalapeño, flour, cumin, salt, chili powder, cannellini beans, corn, veggie stock, green chiles, raw cashews, and salt. Not really a short list, but I happened to have everything except for the cannellini beans at home.

Not pictured: flour

I've never been a big fan of cannellini beans, but it had been a very long time since I tried them, so I hoped I'd like them. The reason I never liked them isn't because of the flavor, but rather because the skin on them is really thick. They are essentially white kidney beans, and I never really loved kidney beans for the same reason. The beans I used most are: black beans, red beans, garbanzo beans, and great northern beans.

As I always like to do, I made the recipe exactly as written; and then if I don't like it as written, I'll either change a few things next time or scrap the recipe altogether.

First, I had to sauté the veggies until tender. (The bell pepper I used was orange; those aren't carrots in there.)

Then I added the flour and spices. Without any liquid, it's like a thick paste of spices coating the veggies. I couldn't understand how such a small amount of stock (1 cup) plus the cashew cream could turn it into chili! 

I added the beans, stock, and chiles, and let it cook for 15 minutes. Again, this just didn't look like it was going to be a nice texture:

Meanwhile, I made the cashew cream. I'm so amazed by what raw cashews + water, blended into oblivion, can do! It turns into a very creamy liquid (the thickness depends on the ratio of cashews and water) and actually looks a lot like dairy cream. It's flavorless, but it adds a creamy texture to dishes just like heavy dairy cream would do.

While everything was cooking, I made the cashew cream. It was a much thinner consistency than it was when I made it for a previous recipe (I think it was the nacho "cheese"?). That one had the consistency of sour cream; this time it was like heavy cream.

Once that was done, I added it to the pot with everything else. The chili ended up being the perfect consistency. Per the suggestion on the recipe, I had planned on blending half of the chili to make it creamier/thicker, but it didn't end up needing that. I cooked it for a few minutes longer and then it was time to taste it. Thankfully, I didn't mess anything up this time! ;) 

I'd bought tortilla chips for Jerry and the kids to crush over the chili, but I just ate mine without.

The verdict? The flavor was a bit underwhelming--which is odd, because there are lots of flavorful ingredients. Like the recipe I made last week, it tasted like it needed *something* but I couldn't put my finger on it. It was definitely good enough to eat, but if I was to make it again (and I might) then I would have to add or change the spices.

Side note: On the last recipe, someone commented that the "something missing" may be because there weren't any acidic ingredients to balance it out. I thought that was super interesting! I am not a chef and I don't know anything about acidity in food; but after reading that comment, I found all sorts of info about it. And almost all of the articles I read stated that when you say the dish is "missing something", it's almost always an acid (aside from salt). I would love to test this--making and tasting a dish without the acid, then adding a splash of vinegar or citrus, and tasting it again.

The dominant flavor was actually the cumin, which was interesting because there is only 1/2 tsp in the recipe. I hoped to taste the jalapeño and chiles, but I didn't get any flavors from those.

The main reason I didn't love the chili, though, wasn't the fault of the recipe. It was the cannellini beans. I still don't like the thick skin on them--it feels almost like the beans aren't fully cooked. Jerry agreed with me; he prefers softer beans, too. The kids ate it, but they felt kind of neutral about it. Basically, we all thought it was okay but nothing special.

I'll probably try using this as a base recipe for White Chili and I'll adjust a few things--namely, the spices and the type of beans. I'd use great northern beans next time for sure.

You can find the full recipe here: Choosing Chia's Vegan White Chili.


  1. For your acid? Try a splash of lime juice. Ole!

  2. Sliced pickled jalapenos are also a delicious form of acid to use in your chili. They're my favourite chili topper and always give it that extra "oomph". You can buy them in the same section of the grocery store where you'd find taco sauce, canned chilis, etc.

    Pinterest recipes are frustrating. I've actually stopped using them altogether - I'll browse pinterest for ideas, and when I find something that looks good, I just google the idea and then choose the best-reviewed one to actually make.

  3. I am not much for chilli but perhaps my husband would like this. I really appreciate you sharing the vegan recipes. Have you noticed any changes in the pain you have been experiencing?

    1. YES! I am going to write a post about it--hopefully next weekend. :)


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