Vegetarian tomatillo chili

As the months get cooler, one of my favorite things to make is chili, especially this vegetarian tomatillo chili. There is something about spices toasting and simmering away that makes your whole home feel cozy and warm.  It just makes me happy

And while my crew loves a good traditional chili, I personally love more of a “white chili” made with tomatillos instead of crushed tomatoes.  It just keeps the chili light and refreshing.  Plus I just have an obsession with tomatillos and try and sneak them into just about anything I can.  

Then to give vegetarian tomatillo chili a big bold, spicy flavor I added in a ton of poblano papers, garlic, cumin, and my very favorite, fennel.  I love how fennel helps create a “meaty” earthy flavor to the chili while keeping it vegetarian.  

My favorite part of this vegetarian tomatillo chili is the fire-roasted corn and swiss chard.  Years ago we used to make a white bean chicken chili by Giada DeLaurentis.  The recipe is years old.  JP and I used to make it when we were first dating.   My favorite part of that recipe was the addition of swiss chard.  It was the first chili or soup I had ever made used chard, and I loved it.  (Now I add swiss chard to so many of my soups, stews, and chilis)

I love serving this hearty chili over a bed of brown rice.  Then I add a generous amount of sliced avocado, a little lime, and of course a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for just a little added heat.

This vegetarian tomatillo chili eats like a cozy hearty meal but won’t with you down.  The best of both worlds.  Good food that makes you FEEL GOOD too.  

For other hearty and healthy soup recipes be sure to check out our hearty winter vegetable soup or roasted cauliflower and chickpea soup.

Vegetarian tomatillo chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • One large white onion, chopped
  • 8-10 large tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 2 poblano peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1tbsp of chili powder
  • 2 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp of cumin
  • 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of fire-roasted corn (I used frozen)
  • 8-10 leaves of swiss chard, rinsed, stems removed and chopped
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tsp of dried red pepper flakes
  • sal/pepper to taste
  • 2 limes
  • Avocado and/or brown rice for garnish
  1. Over medium/low heat, in a large dutch oven (or pot of your choice) add the 2tbsp of olive oil. Once heated, add the chopped onion, tomatillos, and peppers. Stir and allow to cook until onions are translucent (about 3-5 minutes).
  2. Then add the garlic and spices (chili powder, fennel, and cumin). Stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until garlic and spices are toasted (but careful not to burn).
  3. Next add the vegetable/chicken stock, and drained beans. Stir. Season with salt/pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes allowing everything to come together.
  4. Then add in the fire-roasted corn, swiss chard, red pepper flakes (if using), and the juice of one lime. Stir to combine. Taste and season with salt/pepper.
  5. To serve. In a large bowl add about ½ cup of cooked brown rice, ladle in 1-2 cups of chili. Garnish with sliced avocado and lime wedges.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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