vegetarian green tomatillo + poblano chili

I’m not a big fan of chili. I didn’t grow up eating it but I gave it a fair chance at one of my favorite burger restaurants and I still didn’t care for it. I’ve heard of white and green chili, which sounds delicious but have never actually come across it, so I attempted to make my own version, at least what I imagined a green chili to taste like.

I love this recipe because of the pureness of the ingredients. The broth is made of tomatillos, onions, cilantro, garlic and poblano peppers. It is thickened by ground pumpkin seeds and earthy hominy is added for texture and substance. I included white beans because I was trying to capture that “chili vibe” but this is truly a heavy stew, beans or no beans. I made this to have as lunch for the week but it would be wonderful topped with grilled shrimp for a dinner presentation.

vegetarian green tomatillo + poblano chili

serves 6


6 poblano peppers

1 pound tomatillos, husks removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 large white onion, halved and sliced

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 bouillon cubes (I use Rapunzel)

3/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 lime

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon dried epazote or oregano

1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds

1 (35-ounce) can hominy*, rinsed and drained

2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained

Queso fresco, for garnishing

Radishes, for garnishing


1. Preheat broiler; line broiler tray with aluminum foil. Place chiles and tomatillos on tray, broil until blistered, about 20 minutes turning halfway through. Remove from broiler; place peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil; set tomatillos aside.

2. In a large saucepot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic, onions, bay leaf, cumin and bouillon cubes; cook and stir until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add 4 cups of water; bring to a boil. Discard bay leaf; transfer liquid and onions to a blender; puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and reserve broth.

3. To blender, add blistered tomatillos, 2 of the poblano peppers (stemmed and seeded), cilantro, lime juice and salt; puree until smooth. Transfer to saucepot over medium heat. Cook stirring occasionally until thick, about 12 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a dry skillet over medium heat, add pumpkin seeds. Cook and stir until fragrant and just beginning to brown. Remove to small food processor or coffee grinder; pulse until seeds are ground to a powder. Add epazote and ground pumpkin seeds to tomatillo mixture; stir. The pumpkin seeds will thicken the broth considerably.

5. Add reserved broth to mixture 1 cup at a time making sure mixture comes to a boil after each addition. Add hominy and beans; reduce to a simmer.

6. Meanwhile, peel, seed and coarsely chop remaining peppers. Add peppers to mixture.

7. To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with crumbled cheese and sliced radishes.

dry hominy (left) and cooked hominy (right)

*What is hominy? Hominy is made by soaking dried corn kernels in a lime solution called lye. This soaking causes the hull and germ to fall off and the kernels puff to twice their size. It is then either dried and sold for cooking, or cooked and sold in cans. Cooked hominy results in large kernels that taste nothing like the super sweet stuff you grill in the summer. It has a firm yet chewy texture and an earthy flavor reminiscent of corn tortillas, which is what they and tamales are made of. 


4 thoughts on “vegetarian green tomatillo + poblano chili

  1. Pingback: baked cheddar + jalapeño hominy | Top of the Apple

  2. I’m not a vegetarian, so I’ve never looked, but can you get vegetable broth boullion cubes? Can you approximate the amount of vegtable stock necessary? I don’t see the boullion mentioned in the recipe directions.

    I cook a lot, and sometimes I forget to write down steps in the process after it becomes second-nature. I have friends who I think might enjoy this recipe, so I want to make sure I understand it before I forward it to them.


    • Hi Luxien! Yes, bouillon cubes exist as vegetarian, my Rapunzel ones are. You use 1 cube per 2 cups of water so if you have vegetable broth instead, use 4 cups where it says add 4 cups of water. Does that make sense?

      • Thanks! I read the recipe again (for about the fourth time) and saw where you mention the boullion in step 2. Guess I must have just been too tired when I read it before.

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