Chile Verde With White Beans
on Jan 17, 2022, Updated Jul 08, 2022
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With white beans and corn, this vegan chile verde is a spicy stew that’s a blend of tomatillos, poblano peppers, jalapenos, cilantro and lime. Most of the cooking happens under the broiler in the oven.
As my fingers type, I am wearing a hat and scarf, but I’m not outside. Even though I’m at the comfort of my desk, I am feeling the chill inside. We never crank up the heat at our house. Instead we bundle up, and I make lots of soup. Don’t ask me why, but it’s become a game to see if we can get to Thanksgiving without switching on the heat.
When it comes to these edible pots of warmth, the heartier and spicier the better. Give me pastes like harissa and spices like red pepper flakes, and I am good to go. But for this chile verde, it’s different because the heat comes from a combination of poblano peppers and jalapenos.
And the most important part of cooking this stew happens on a sheet pan under the broiler in the oven and not on the stovetop like most soups. The final result is broth with incredible smoky flavor.
What Is Chile Verde?
Traditionally chile verde is a Mexican stew where chunks of pork are simmered in a spicy tomatillo sauce. In some variations you see it made with chicken. But in this version, I go vegan and add white beans for the protein.
Because I use beans instead of pork or chicken, I change the order of the steps to make a typical chile verde recipe. Since there is no protein to sear, I get right to making the stew and add the beans along with corn to simmer toward the end of cooking, so everything is warmed through.
This is what you need for the recipe:
- Tomatillos look like green tomatoes with a husk, but they aren’t really tomatoes. Their flavor is bright and more acidic. Peel off the husk and rinse the tomatillos with water to get rid of any stickiness on the skin. For this recipe, halve the tomatillos horizontally.
- Poblano peppers have dark green skin and are considered mild when it comes to heat. They are known for their smoky flavor.
- Jalapenos have a mild to medium level of heat. I think of them as a notch above poblanos in terms of spiciness.
- Garlic: I also roast garlic cloves on the sheet pan with the tomatillos, poblanos and jalapenos.
- Lime juice: I squeeze the juice of a lime into the blender when I puree the tomatillos and chile peppers.
- Cilantro: There is lots of cilantro pureed into the broth. I garnish the soup with cilantro too.
- Vegetable broth: Use low sodium vegetable broth, so you can control the salt and other seasonings.
- Onions: Yellow onions are a great all-purpose onion because they aren’t too strong, and they are a little bit sweet.
- Olive oil: I sauté the chopped onions in olive oil in the saucepan before pouring in the green chile verde from the blender.
- Dried spices: The soup is seasoned with a mix of cumin, oregano, kosher salt and black pepper.
- White beans: I prefer navy beans because they are smaller than other varieties of white beans. And their size is similar to the corn. You can also use great northern beans.
- Corn: To bulk up this vegetarian soup with more than just beans, I include a can of sweet corn kernels.
- Tortilla chips: For something crunchy to finish, I sprinkle each bowl of soup with crumbled tortilla chips. It’s even better if they are chips flavored with a hint of lime.
How To Make Chile Verde with Beans
- Preheat the broiler on high.
- Arrange the tomatillos, poblano peppers, jalapenos and garlic cloves on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan. Put the poblanos and jalapenos on the pan where they will be closest to the heat source.
- Broil the poblano peppers, jalapenos and garlic cloves. Turn the peppers and jalapenos every few minutes, so they are blistered on all sides. The tomatillos should turn out lightly charred. If anything on the pan looks too dark, you can cover it loosely with a sheet of foil. As mentioned, this is the step where most of the cooking happens.
- Place the poblano peppers and jalapenos in a bowl and cover. Wait 10 minutes before peeling the peppers and removing the stems and seeds. The condensation that forms makes it easier to peel the skin.
- Puree the poblano peppers, jalapenos, tomatillos (including the juices on the foil), garlic cloves (squeezed out of their skins), lime juice, cilantro and 1 cup vegetable broth until smooth.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté the chopped onions.
- Stir in the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Continue sautéing until fragrant.
- Pour in the pureed tomatillos and peppers, the remaining vegetable broth, white beans and corn. Simmer for 10 minutes until the stew thickens slightly.
- Divide the soup into bowls and top with cilantro and crushed tortilla chips before serving.
Like It Extra Spicy?
If you have a high tolerance for heat, when you peel and prep the roasted jalapenos, you can leave some of the seeds and ribs. They puree in the blender and leave behind an added kick.
Serving The Stew
You can enjoy chile verde paired with corn chips or warm tortillas. If you want something more filling, you can make veggie quesadillas or even tacos. In that case, you could think of the soup as a side dish and serve it in a cup or mug instead of in a full bowl.
Leftovers & Freezing
The soup can be stored in the fridge in a container up to 5 days. To have it last up to a month, go ahead and freeze it. As always, I suggest freezing the soup in portions, so leftovers are easier to thaw and serve.
More Spicy Soup Recipes
Chile Verde With White Beans
- 1 pound tomatillos husks removed, rinsed and halved horizontally
- 2 poblano peppers
- 2 jalapenos
- 4 garlic cloves in their skins
- Juice of 1 lime
- Generous handful of cilantro including stems plus cilantro leaves for serving
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-15 ounce can corn drained and rinsed
- 1-15.5 ounce can navy beans drained and rinsed
- Crumbled tortilla chips for serving
- Preheat the broiler on high.
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Arrange the tomatillos, cut side down, the poblano peppers, jalapenos and garlic cloves on the sheet pan. It is best to position the peppers and jalapenos on the pan where they will be closest to the broiler-heating element. Broil for 10-12 minutes turning the peppers and jalapenos every few minutes, so they are blistered on all sides. The tomatillos should be lightly charred. If the tomatillos or garlic start to look too dark, cover them loosely with a sheet of foil.
- Place the poblanos and jalapenos in a bowl and cover. Wait 10 minutes, then peel the peppers and jalapenos. Trim the top stem and remove the seeds and ribs. Place them in a blender.
- Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into the blender. Add the tomatillos (including the juices on the foil), lime juice, cilantro and 1 cup vegetable broth. Puree until smooth.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Sauté the onions until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and continue cooking until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the pureed tomatillos and peppers, the remaining vegetable broth, corn and beans. Stir it all together and simmer for 10 minutes until everything is warmed and the stew has thickened slightly.
- Divide the soup into bowls and top with cilantro and crumbled tortilla chips before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.