When life gives you tomatillos … make this vegetarian chili verde!
Okay, so I absolutely adore this recipe. For one, I’m just really stinkin’ proud of it. I received a pound of tomatillos in my CSA box (yeah, I know a lot of my recipes lately start with my CSA box). And I was totally going to whip up some salsa verde and that was going to be that.
But then my mind turned to other options. And because I’m a chili fiend, it wasn’t long before I decided to try my hand at chile verde, which I had never made before.
I just kind of winged this recipe the first time I made it, so I was sort of shocked when I freaking absolutely positively loved it. Because usually recipe creation doesn’t go that way. It’s trial and error and less of this and more of that and what-was-I-thinking. But this one was just pure deliciousness the very first time. I’ve made it more than once, of course, just to be sure – and yep, it’s, like, a really great recipe. I know I’m totally bragging and it’s obnoxious and I’m sorry but I’m proud, like, run-on-sentence and totally talk like a Valley Girl proud!
So here’s the scoop. I took a cue from Giada’s vegetarian chili verde recipe by starting with a roux-thickened soup, though the similarities to her recipe pretty much stop there. Hers is packed full of veggies and looks pretty dang phenomenal, but mine is simpler (it started out that way primarily because I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store – and then it stayed that way because I loved it).
It takes a two-pronged approach to make, but it comes together so easily, promise. While the base of the soup – olive oil, veggie broth, onion, garlic, spices – bubbles away, the tomatillos and peppers roast up in the oven.
(Don’t be like me – use parchment paper or foil for easier clean-up!)
So, see all that roasty goodness up there? Peel the peppers then add everything to the soup pot, juices and all, and puree it all together with an immersion blender.
Hold up! Can we just talk about immersion blenders for a moment? If you don’t have one in your life, allow me to be pushy for a moment and say this: YOU NEED ONE! For everything from soups to sauces to super-smooth pizza sauce (there’s always one person who’s opposed to chunks!) – these things are one of the best bangs for your buck, small-appliance-wise. When you can just whip that soup into submission right in the pot, the clean-up – and therefore life – is so much easier. And then you can focus on the eating!
Anyway! After pureeing the dickens out of it all, now it’s just a matter of adding some hearty white beans and then topping with a couple little extras, if you like. You can also add some shredded chicken to all or half if the meat-inclined are interested. Because we’re all about multivorous living around here.
Multivorous. Mull-tiv-ver-us. That’s totally a word, isn’t it?
Top with a generous squeeze of lime and lots of cilantro, if you’re up for it. And a squeeze of Greek yogurt or sour cream to cool a bit of the heat, if you desire. (I got these new squeeze bottles and felt all fancy squeezing the sour cream on in a spiral, even though they’re a mess. Food art: not my forte.)
The moral of the story: Got tomatillos? Make this!
Spicy Chili Verde with White Beans & Optional Chicken
- 1 pound tomatillos
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced) (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- A couple turns freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth*
- 4 cups cooked small white beans (or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained and rinsed)
- 1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chiles
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- Lime wedges (for squeezing over the top)
- Cilantro leaves
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
If adding chicken to half:
- 1 cup cooked (shredded chicken)
If adding chicken to all:
- 2 cups cooked (shredded chicken)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse off any dirt. Place tomatillos and jalapeno peppers on a rimmed baking sheet. If you want to minimize the risk of the tomatillos exploding, score them by giving each a quick shallow slice with a knife - though I've never done this. Which is probably one of many reasons why I need to clean my oven.
- Bake, turning tomatillos and peppers over once about 15 minutes in, until they're soft and blackened in spots, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- While the tomatillos and the peppers are roasting, assemble the base of the soup. To a large saucepan or medium soup pot over medium heat, add the olive oil. When heated, add the onion and oregano. Saute until soft and fragrant but not browned. Add garlic, coriander, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, for one more minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for three minutes. Slowly pour in the vegetable broth, stirring while you pour.
- Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Peel jalapenos and taste the flesh. If they're very mild, you may want to add both peppers to the soup, seeds and all. On the other hand, if they're particularly hot, you may want to discard the seeds entirely and only one pepper, or even half of one pepper. Jalapenos can vary greatly in heat, so I've learned tasting and then adding cautiously is the way to go. Add the tomatillos and juices from the pan to the soup as well.
- Remove soup from heat and, using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches, puree the soup. Return to medium-low heat. Add the beans and the can of diced green chilies and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
- If adding chicken to half, set a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and transfer about 3 cups of the chili to the pan. Add cooked shredded chicken and stir. Bring to a simmer then serve. If adding chicken to all, add it to the main pot now.
- Bring to a simmer to heat the chilies and white beans. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with cilantro leaves, additional lime wedges for squeezing over the top, and sour cream or Greek yogurt if desired.
- Leftovers keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
Sounds amazing! My husband and I love tomatillos. We started growing them in our garden and even with four plants, feel like we never get enough! We will definitely be trying this recipe. Can I ask why you peel the peppers? I’ve never done that before. Also, I’ve just bought (and am now returning) some squeeze bottles that leaked- I would love to know what kind you have!
I’m so jealous you have tomatillos in your garden! They’re a definite for us next year – I hope they grow well in the Pacific Northwest. I peel the peppers because the skins can sometimes be bitter, and I don’t want to throw off the flavor of the soup. What a bummer about your squeeze bottles! How annoying. I bought some at my local grocery store. I haven’t seen the same ones online. They’re Martha Stewart brand, a little curvy with a blue top. They were actually in the baking section, for using to frost cookies and cakes!
Looks great! How much flour?
Hi Kate, it’s 1/4 cup. So sorry about that – I accidentally left it out of the list of ingredients. The recipe is fixed now!
This looks delicious. In step 4 you mention adding flour, but there is no mention of flour in the ingredient list or any place else I can see.
Kevin, thank you so so much for mentioning this. I had mistakenly left the flour out of the list of ingredients. I’ve fixed that! Thanks again.
This looks delicious. I want to crumble a bunch of chips right on top of that bowl. Yum!
You should definitely be like totally proud of this amazing recipe! (Did I get the Valley Girl thing right?)
I can’t wait to make a big bowl of this soon! Our house is all about multivorous living too – and I love that term! Thanks for another wonderful recipe Kare.
Fantastic recipe! I had some leftover homemade salsa verde that I wanted to use, and this was the perfect recipe to do so. So easy and yet so delicious! I didn’t add chicken, but I bet that’d be equally delicious.
Thanks for the great recipe!
You can consider that i definitely will be making this delicious chili for my vegetarian household.. thanks for the great recipe and idea!
This looks delicious!! My 2nd round of tomatillos is about ready to be harvested, and I know what I’ll be making! Do you think I can use 100% whole wheat flour, or will that throw off the roux?
Thank you for this recipe! I harvested about 10 pounds of tomatillos at the end of the season. There is only so much salsa I could eat, and salsa doesn’t really freeze that well, so I googled for a vegetarian tomatillo chili recipe. This was a great find. It is so delicious.
I will mention just a minor adjustment I made. At the step where you use the immersion blender, which I don’t have, I just put the roasted tomatillos and jalapenos in a food processor and added them to the base of the soup. This basically meant the diced onion didn’t get blended, but I was ok with that.
Thanks again, I’m looking forward to eating this through the winter!
I think roasting straight on the pan is a great idea; after removing the tomatillos, onions and peppers, deglaze the pan with some water or stock, scraping up all the delicious bits (aka “fond”). This will give even more depth of flavor to your chili verde. Mmmm!
Is using flour mandatory in this recipe? Aiming for gluten-free
It is a roux-based recipe (the roux is made with oil and flour), and that helps make it luxuriously thick. However, you could probably leave out the flour (reduce the oil to 1 tablespoon while you’re at it) and still end up with a tasty (though less thick) soup. If you give it a try, please report back how it works!
Thanks For getting back to me Kare! I ended up putting extra Cannellini beans in a chopper and added that to the base of the soup rather than the flour. It definitely helped hickey the chili but I think gay next time I will also take your advice and use less oil!! At any rate, the chili was delectable!
Yay, I’m so glad it turned out! Thanks so much for reporting back. 🙂
I made this without chicken and it was honestly amazing! It’s seriously one of my favorite things now. Thank you so much!!!
Made this for dinner tonight, fantastic! I am vegetarian, hubby is not. He had some pulled pork leftover in the freezer so I added that to his portion. Served up with some corn bread. We both lickef our bowls clean! Definitely keeping this recipe.
This recipe was great. I did make a few modifications. I blended one whole bunch of cilantro with the soup and then added jackfruit instead of chicken. I crumbled tortilla chips on top. I thought it was really great! I’ll definitely make more.
Hi Kare! I LOVE your blog!!! THANK YOU for all your ideas for my “multivore” kitchen. Any ideas on how to convert this recipe for a slow cooker? Would you still roast tomatillos and jalapenos before adding to slow cooker? Would you still need the flour? When would you add it in?
Hi Kira! Thanks so much! 🙂 I have not yet tried this one in the slow cooker. But now I must! I would still roast the tomatillos and jalapeños in the oven, yes. I would omit the flour and perhaps add only 2-3 cups of broth. I think the result will still be pretty good! When I try this in the slow cooker I’ll come back and update. 🙂
What is the calorie count for this recipe?
This is our all time favorite recipe! We make it at least 3-4 times a month! Every one we have cooked this for has loved it as well. Thank you!
Hi Sara! Thanks so much for your review! I’m so glad you like the recipe and I’m honored it has made it into your regular rotation. 🙂
Kudos and gratitude coming your way! Made this dish (minus the chicken) for the Chili Cook Off at my church and won!! It was delicious and a big hit. I only changed one thing- almond flour instead of regular. I don’t do white flour. Didn’t seem to bother the recipe! Thanks again
Oh that’s awesome! Congrats on winning the chili cook off!
Sounds delish. I’m making tonight for my two vegetarian daughter and 1 carnivorous son.
Oh, thank you for this! And for so many of your other recipes. My husband was recently diagnosed with gout, and is starting to actually take it seriously. I’m a devoted carnivore (partially due to multiple food allergies), but he has always flirted with being vegetarian. Now he almost has to be. I am so grateful for recipes that can flex either way.
I made this recipe for the first time this afternoon. It’s very good and it is also very true that jalapenos vary widely in terms of spiciness. The one and a half jalapenos that I had in the fridge roasted nicely but despite adding them and all of their seeds to the soup it didn’t turn out very spicy, so I was disappointed. I also ended up adding TWO additional cans of rinsed white kidney beans–beyond the two cans the recipe calls for–and liked the ‘substance’ they contributed. I did not use chicken or any other protein, but perhaps a little bacon next time? Thanks Kare for another great recipe!
I have made this twice now and love it. Next time, however, I’m going to remember to do something the recipe doesn’t call for, and that’s peel the tomatillos. I fished a lot of tomatillo skins out of the chili after using the immersion blender! I know they don’t hurt anything, but it’s also pretty easy to get rid of them when the roasted tomatillos have cooled. I’m also going to rough chop the peppers and the tomatillos just to cut down on the blending. Thanks for a great recipe!
Oooh, great ideas. Thank you for sharing!