When life gives you tomatillos … make this vegetarian chili verde! This vegetarian green chili is hearty, spicy, and a little tangy. Most of all, it is brimming with flavor. You’ve got to try this one!

two bowls of Vegetarian Chili Verde with White Beans (and optional chicken for the meat-eaters). They are on a wooden cutting board with the pot in the background.

Table of Contents

The Story Behind the Recipe

Okay, so I absolutely adore this vegetarian green chili 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.

Readers say …
“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!”

– Sara

Recipe Testing Notes

Initially, 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).

From there, I just kind of winged this recipe for vegetarian chili verde the first time I tried making 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!

A top view of a bowl of vegetarian chili verde with a swirl of sour cream and fresh cilantro.

Vegetarian Chili Verde Ingredients

  • Tomatillos – Use fresh tomatillos with the husks removed.
  • Jalapeño peppers – These can be a tricky ingredient because their heat level can really vary! The recipe includes a step of tasting them after they’ve roasted and making a decision about how much to use based on that.
  • Olive oil – To sauté everything and make the roux.
  • Onion & garlic – Chili musts!
  • Oregano & ground coriander – These herbs are perfect in white bean chilis.
  • Salt & pepper – Adjust to your tastes.
  • Flour – For the roux. This creamy roux base gives you a thick, luxurious vegetarian chili verde.
  • White beans – I like small white navy beans. Cannellini beans will work, too.
  • Vegetable broth – I tend to call for low-sodium veggie broth because it allows you to better control the salt content of your soup. But if you only have plain ol’ veg broth, it’s cool – just start out with a little less salt to start with then adjust to taste at the end of the process. You can grab it at your store or make veggie broth in your slow cooker (it’s easy!)
  • Diced green chiles – Just a standard can.
  • Lime juice – To brighten all of the amazing flavors.
  • Lime wedges, fresh cilantro, & sour cream, vegan sour cream, or Greek yogurt for topping

Substitutions & Adaptations

  • One dish two ways: Top the meat-eaters’ portions with shredded, cooked chicken. One reader commented that they topped a serving with leftover pulled pork and enjoyed it.
  • Gluten-free option: This chili verde is roux based, which gives it a creamy, velvety texture. However, if you like, you can leave out the roux by eliminating the flour and reducing the olive oil to 1 tablespoon. The chili verde may be a bit thinner as a result. You can play around the the amount of broth, using less to begin with for a thicker chili, then adjusting at the end.
  • Jalapeno peppers: Sub in a couple of poblano peppers instead of the jalapeños for a guaranteed milder chili. You can leave out the canned green chiles if you go this route.
  • Beans: Feel free to use any white bean you like. I’ve even thrown in a can of chickpeas on occasion!

How to Make Vegetarian Green Chili

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.

A side by side image of roasting jalapeños and tomatillos for vegetarian green chili.

(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 (affiliate link) 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!

A white bowl on a green plate. The bowl is full of vegetarian chili verde with a swirl of sour cream and some fresh cilantro.

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.

Tips for Success

  • One reader suggests peeling the tomatillos after roasting. “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.” Thanks, Fran, for the tip!
  • Another reader suggested deglazing the roasting pan with a bit of the veggie broth to get every last flavorful bits into the soup, and she’s right, this adds more flavor! I amended the recipe to include that step. Thank you, Erica!

How to Serve Vegetarian Green Chili

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.)

More Vegetarian Chili Recipes

I love chili! Here are some of my favorite vegetarian chili recipes:

The moral of the story: Got tomatillos? Make this!

Two bowls of vegetarian chili verde on a wooden cutting board.
4.34 from 3 votes

Vegetarian Chili Verde

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Author: Kare
Yield: 4
A thick and hearty vegetarian chili verde with white beans plus a good kick of heat. And, of course, the zingy tang of fresh-roasted tomatillos.


  • 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 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)
  • 4 ounces mild diced green chiles (one 4 ounce can)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice


  • Lime wedges (for squeezing over the top)
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt


  • 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. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the veggie broth if you want to deglaze your roasting pan, otherwise, pour it all in (see "optional" step below).
  • 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.
  • Optional: Add a little veggie broth to the roasting pan, stirring and scraping to work up all of the flavorful bits that were left behind. Add that to the soup. This adds even more flavor to the soup!
  • 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.
  • 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.


One dish two ways (meat option):

Top meat-eaters’ servings with 1/3 cup cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken is easy!) or cooked shredded pulled pork.

Vegan chili verde:

This recipe as written is already vegan. Top with cashew sour cream
Recipe update 3/23/2024: I added the optional step of deglazing the roasting pan with a bit of vegetable broth to scrap up every bit of flavor. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1g, Calories: 519kcal, Carbohydrates: 75g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Sodium: 1580mg, Potassium: 1172mg, Fiber: 18g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 247IU, Vitamin C: 36mg, Calcium: 159mg, Iron: 7mg

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