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Salmon Fillet White Bean Chili Recipe

Updated on November 2, 2012
Salmon fillet white bean chili goes great with homemade cornbread.
Salmon fillet white bean chili goes great with homemade cornbread. | Source

How to Make Salmon Chili

Fresh fish is harder to come by where this author currently resides in Central Oregon. I should qualify that statement and say that if I was a fisherman, I could have an abundance of fish but unfortunately, I don't fish.

Consequently, when the stores have fresh Alaskan salmon, we buy it every week and freeze it for the long draught ahead where we won't be able to purchase it any longer until the next season.

That being said, I always have a lot of salmon and we cook it at least once per week. It keeps the freezer recycled and it's good for us at the same time.

One day I had thawed out a lovely fillet of salmon but was in the mood for chili as the weather had finally cooled down. Stew, soup or chili just sounded like a good choice.

I began brainstorming about white beans and salmon. Just because it was fish didn't mean it couldn't be made into a regular chili dish, right?

Lo and behold it can--I did find a couple of recipes on line though surprisingly, there aren't that many for chili made with fresh salmon fillets.

Here's my version and what I came up with. It turned out to be spectacular.

I paired it with a light beer--Michelob Ultra--cornbread and a green salad.

3.3 stars from 6 ratings of Salmon Chili Recipe

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients for Salmon Chili

  • 1 8 oz piece of skinned and chunked fresh wild caught Alaskan salmon
  • 1 medium diced sweet onion
  • 1 medium diced red pepper (seeded)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dried oregano, (optional)
  • 2 cans (or 3 cups fresh romas) petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 cans low sodium, rinsed & drained white beans (cannelini or white kidney)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Dash kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Low fat sour cream or yogurt, (optional)
  • Chopped green onions, (optional)
  • Shredded white cheddar cheese, (optional)
  • Cooking spray or olive oil for sauteeing
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories 350
Calories from Fat72
% Daily Value *
Fat 8 g12%
Saturated fat 2 g10%
Carbohydrates 38 g13%
Fiber 9 g36%
Protein 36 g72%
Cholesterol 63 mg21%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


  1. Remove white bones from salmon if any remain, wash briefly, pat dry. Remove skin from salmon and cut into 3/4-inch chunks. Set aside.
  2. Spray large skillet or dutch oven with cooking spray or use a bit of olive oil. Add garlic, onions and red peppers and sweat a bit until starting to wilt.
  3. Add spices. Add broth, diced tomatoes, drained white beans and vinegar. Heat over medium heat until flavors blend and simmer, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Add chunks of salmon atop the bean mixture. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Test the salmon to be sure it is cooked through. It should be light, delicate and melt-in-your mouth tender.
  6. Spoon up into bowls. Top with the optional ingredients if desired such as plain yogurt, white cheddar cheese or green onions.

Step by Step Tutorial on Making Salmon Chili

Step 1: Remove skin from 1 fresh fillet of salmon. (See video for easy technique)

Chunked fresh salmon fillet after removing skin.
Chunked fresh salmon fillet after removing skin. | Source

Easy Way to Remove Skin from Salmon Fillet

Step 2: Sweat or sauté chopped onion and red pepper in cooking spray or a small amount of olive oil until just becoming limp and shiny.

Sweat or sauté the red peppers and onions until they begin to wilt.
Sweat or sauté the red peppers and onions until they begin to wilt. | Source

Step 3: Add spices.

Add spices to mixture.
Add spices to mixture. | Source

Step 4: Add vegetable or chicken broth. Vegetable broth gives the chili a more red or orange color.

Add vegetable or chicken broth.
Add vegetable or chicken broth. | Source

Step 5: Add diced tomatoes and their juice and rinsed, drained white beans. You can also soak and make the beans from scratch rather than using canned. You can also used fresh diced roma tomatoes in their juice (about 3 or so cups).

Add in diced tomatoes and white beans.
Add in diced tomatoes and white beans. | Source

Step 6: After simmering chili for 5-10 minutes to blend flavors and while at a nice slow simmer, add chunks of fresh salmon fillet to the top of the chili mixture. Turn off heat and cover with a lid.

Add fresh salmon chunks gently to top of chili.
Add fresh salmon chunks gently to top of chili. | Source

Step 7: Allow chili to stand for 10 minutes. Check salmon and make sure it is cooked through. If not, let sit for another 5 minutes. It's very important not to boil the salmon as it will make it tougher.

Turn off heat, cover pan and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Salmon should be cooked through.
Turn off heat, cover pan and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Salmon should be cooked through. | Source

Step 8: Hopefully you remembered to whip up your cornbread and it was in the oven baking while you made your salmon chili. Slice and enjoy with your chili. Add a tossed green salad and serve with beer for a great meal any day of the week.

Meanwhile, bake cornbread.
Meanwhile, bake cornbread. | Source

Have you ever had fish chili before?

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