Tomatillo Chili

Tomatillo plants are very easy to grow and typically produce a lot of tomatillos – this I have known for years. But here are points I just recently discovered:

  • tomatillos will continue to ripen well into autumn
  • they keep for a long time in the refrigerator (in fact we still have a large bowlful in our refrigerator that was picked at least a month ago)
  • AND they make a damn good tomatillo chili!

I do love using them for making salsa; my daughter and I froze 12 pints back in October. But the truth is, this vegan tomatillo chili was born out of my desire to enjoy the rest of the harvest in another recipe besides salsa. The flavor is definitely unique, but in a really good way – it’s sweet, tart, and spicy! It’s even fast and easy to prepare 🙂

If you decide to try this recipe, please leave a comment below.

Tomatillo Chili in bowl with tomatillos in husks strewn about the table

Method Overview

  • Briefly sauté veggies
  • Add rest of ingredients to pot and simmer briefly
  • Blend about 2 cups of the chili; return to pot and stir through

A bowlful of tomatillos still in their husks
Tomatillos grow inside a thin husk, and ripen to varying shades of green, yellow, purple.
Tomatillo Chili in bowl with tomatillos in husks strewn about the table
Print Recipe
5 from 14 votes

Tomatillo Chili

Course: main course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: corn-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-fee, plant based, soy-free, vegan
Servings: 8 large servings
Calories: 196kcal


  • large soup pot
  • blender or immersion blender


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 medium-small potatoes, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 pounds tomatillos, diced
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas

Garnishes ideas, optional

  • 6 Tablespoons cashew or almond yogurt
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions


  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of onion. When it begins to gently sizzle, add the remaining onion, peppers, carrots, potatoes, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cumin, coriander, and salt. Cook, while stirring, for about 30 more seconds.
  • Add the broth, tomatillos, chickpeas, and cannellini beans. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are cooked through. Add the peas half-way through this step.
  • Blend about 2 cups of the chili; return to the pot and stir through. If using an immersion blender, whiz for 1 or 2 seconds.
  • When serving – garnish with a dollop of plant-based yogurt, and/or avocado, and/or cilantro, and/or scallions.


  • Some canned beans contain salt. In this instance, you may want to skip adding the Himalayan sea salt.
  • You can control the level of heat to suit your taste by adjusting the amount of jalapeños used.
  • I suggest wearing gloves when dicing jalapeños or any hot peppers. The seeds in particular contain the most heat.
  • As an optional step, broil-roast the tomatillos in the following way before dicing them:
    • Put the tomatillos onto a rimmed baking sheet. Broil, about 6 inches from the heat for about 5 minutes.
    • Remove the sheet from the oven and turn the tomatillos over, then broil for about 4 more minutes.
    • Let the tomatillos cool before dicing them. Reserve the diced tomatillos and their juices for the main recipe.


Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 945mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 4294IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 4mg

Optional Omnivore Variation

In a separate pan, cook ground (or cubed or shredded) beef, chicken, or turkey. You only need about 2 ounces per serving. Add an appropriate amount of the cooked meat to each omnivore’s bowl when serving.

If you enjoy this recipe you may also like my Spicy Tomatillo Salsa and my Vegan Butternut Squash Chili.

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