Healthy Chicken Stew

Chicken stew is faster and leaner than beef stew, but you can still get that hearty flavor and texture.  This is my standard chicken stew, and it serves about 6 adults.

Leaving the chicken breasts in the skin and bones while cooking adds richness and flavor.  You can substitute any savory herbs in this recipe for the basil and thyme, which give it a somewhat sweet flavor… other good ones would be parsley, sage, rosemary, etc.  You can also substitute the kidney beans for any beans you like.  I like kidney, because it adds color, but garbanzo would work well too.  This is great served over brown rice.

Total Time: 45 Minutes

Serves 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen brand)
  • 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil, torn into pieces (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
  • 1 6-ounce jar of tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried  thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh leaves, leaves rinsed and scraped off stems)
  • 2 chicken breasts with rib meat, bone-in and skin on
  • 1 15-ounce can of  organic kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I like Glen Eden brand)
  • 3 cups cooked long grain brown rice (or any other whole grain if desired – quinoa, barley, wheat-berry, etc)
Chicken Stew in a tomato base with Vegetables and Kidney Beans.


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy 5 1/2 quart pot over medium heat.  Add the celery, carrots, onion.  Saute until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste (I pick up a pinch of kosher salt and through it in, and sprinkle on fresh cracked pepper).
  2. Stir in the undrained tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, bay leaf and thyme.  If you are using fresh basil, add it now.  Add the chicken breasts; press to submerge.
  3. Bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the breasts over once and stirring occasionally.  This will take about 25 minutes.
  4. Transfer chicken breasts with tongs to a work surface and cool slightly (about 5 minutes).  Locate and discard the bay leaf.  Add the kidney beans to the pot.  If you are using dried basil, add it now – if you crush it in your hands a little it will bring out more flavor (via the natural oils).  Simmer for about 10 more minutes to blend the flavors.
  5. Discard the skin and bones from the chicken breasts.  Cut the chicken into bite size pieces, being careful to remove all the little bones.  Return the chicken meat to the stew and bring to a simmer.
  6. Ladle the stew into serving bowls, over brown rice or other whole grain if desired.

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 217, Carbs: 21g, Fat: 7g, Protein 17g.
  • You can decrease carbs by decreasing the amount of tomatoes (adjust broth accordingly to achieve stew thickness).
  • The chicken skin only adds about 1g fat per serving, but adds so much flavor.

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