My Vegetarian Chili Verde Stew is actually a delicious vegan version of the traditional chili verde stew that’s made with a rich tangy homemade green chile sauce (or salsa verde) that’s filled with tomatillos and mildly spicy Anaheim chiles.
It’s a great filling for burritos and tacos, and just wonderful on its own with some rice and tortillas.
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Mexican main dish
Chili Verde is typically a dish of cooked pork with a tomatillo and green chile pepper sauce. This full flavored Mexican main dish is an easy one to see how vegetarians and vegans would love it as well. A few simple swaps, and you have a delicious stew that anyone can enjoy.
This is a great stew for the cold winter months. It’ll keep you are and cozy inside all while being nice and healthy, filled with veggies, and delicious!
I first published this recipe in 2010. Since then, I’ve made a few changes to it, to make it easier and even tastier than the original recipe.
When I shared this recipe all those years ago, it was to go with my “Cooking Basis” series to show How to Roast a Chili.
How to roast a pepper
There are many ways to roast a pepper. My two favorites are over a flame, like a gas stove or over the flame of a gas grill. My other favorite way to roast them is under the broiler in the oven.
I love the way the broiler gets the peppers nice and cooked all the way through. And it’s really easy to roast them under the broiler.
If you’d like to read about cooking them over a gas burner or grill, take a look at my how to roast a chili pepper instructions.
Broil a pepper
To broil them, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. The peppers often crack open, and their juices will flow out, making a mess of the pan. Clean up with the foil is so much easier.
Place them on the foil lined tray under the pre-heated broiler. Broil for about 10 minutes, using tongs to flip them over halfway through cooking.
Allow the skin of the chili to blacken and char.
What you’re doing by blackening the chili is burning the skin off. The skin is tough and not really tasty anyway. So the more skin you getting off, the better the chili will taste.
After the peppers have cooked, place them in a glass bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow them to cool. While the peppers cool, they are continuing to steam inside the covered bowl, and the flesh will be soft and delicious. And, the skin will be easier to remove because of this sitting and seaming.
Using a sharp knife, cut the flesh of the chili away from the stem. Remove the seeds and the membranes inside. The membranes and the seeds are where the majority if the heat is located.
If you wish to leave a little extra heat in your chili pepper, leave a little more of the membrane and seeds.
What are tomatillos?
Tomatillos are a small bright green fruit (that’s right a fruit rather than a vegetable!) that look like little tomatoes. Also known as a Mexican husk tomato, the tomatillo is part of the nightshade family.
They have a dry, papery husk on the outside, which is easily removed. Under the husk, you’ll notice they are sticky. That stickiness is easily washed off with a quick rinse under warm water.
The husks after being removed from the tomatillo look like little flowers to me
Tomatillos have a bright, acidic, less sweet flavor than tomatoes. The flesh of the tomatillo is denser and less watery than a tomato.
Tomatillos can be found at the store most of the year; but their peak season is generally early summer through fall.
Are tomatillos spicy?
No, tomatillos are not hot. They’re not chile peppers. Though they are often used in salsas and spicy Mexican dishes, they are used for their tart flavor and great texture rather than their heat.
What is hominy?
Hominy is made from dried maize kernels (also called field corn) that have been treated with an alkali solution; it’s a chemical process to make the grain more available for use in cooking and eating.
This alkali solution removes the hull and germ of the corn, which causes the grain to puff up to about twice its normal size. It looks like huge corn kernels or like you crossed popcorn with corn nuts.
It has a nice mild earthy flavor, making it good for savory soups, stews, and casseroles.
Hominy can be either golden (yellow) or white if it’s made with yellow corn or white corn. Either will work in this recipe. I usually find cans of hominy on the Hispanic food aisle of my grocery store; it’s next to the salsa.
Can stew this be made ahead?
This is a great make ahead meal! The stew reheats beautifully, either in the microwave or on the stove top.
To store, allow the stew to cool completely, then place it in a storage container with an air-tight lid. It’ll keep in the fridge for about to 3 days.
Want longer storage? This stew freezes well. Place it in the freezer in a air-tight container for up to 6 months. Defrost it in the fridge overnight the day before you want to eat it, or defrost it in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.
How to make this recipe
Once you roast the chilis and the tomatillos, place them in a blender with the cilantro, spices, and some broth to make a sauce.
Then, cook the carrots and yellow bell peppers. Add in the flour and garlic. Mix in the salsa verde, a little more broth, hominy, and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Simmer that for 20 minutes, and you have a delicious comfort food meal!
How to serve this stew
This stew is a great burrito or taco filling! Serve with some toasted corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, avocados, cilantro, and chopped white onion. Yummy!
Top nachos with a little of this stew for a chili verde nachos plate!
Serve it over rice. Or simply by itself in a bowl garnished with chipped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.
Want to add more protein to the stew? Feel free to add some shredded chicken or pork to this stew to make a meaty stew. It’s yummy with a little added quinoa for more vegan protein.
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Vegetarian Chili Verde Stew Recipe
Vegetarian Chili Verde Stew
- 2 Anaheim chilies
- ¾ pounds tomatillos
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups vegetable broth divided use
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt divided use
- 2 medium carrots peeled and sliced
- 1 yellow or red bell pepper chopped
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 25 ounce can hominy drained and rinsed
- 15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
- Black pepper to taste
- sour cream for garnish optional
- Cilantro leaves optional
- Avocado slices optional
- Preheat broiler to high. Place Anaheim chiles on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet that’s been coasted with cooking spray. Roast chiles under the broiler for about 10 minutes, or until charred. Place the roasted chiles in a glass bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside, until cool enough to handle, about 5-10 minutes. Peel the chiles and remove the seeds, stem, and membranes.
- Arrange the cleaned tomatillos on the same baking sheet or skillet that you just used, and broil 14 minutes or until blackened, turning once.
- Combine the chilies, tomatillos (skins included), ¼ cup cilantro, cumin, and oregano in a blender. Add 1 cup broth, and process until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add chopped onion and ½ teaspoon salt, and cook until the onion begins to brown and caramelize, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add chopped carrot and bell pepper; sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour; sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add the remaining 1 cup broth, tomatillo sauce mixture, hominy, garbanzo beans, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue to heat over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Ladle stew into each bowls, and top each with sour cream, cilantro, and avocado, if desired.