New Mexico-Style Vegetarian Green Chili

New Mexico-Style Vegetarian Green Chili

This New Mexico-style vegetarian green chili is packed with flavor and will have even meat-lovers going in for seconds! Get the recipe now.

Creating the perfect vegetarian green chili took some research

Out of all the 100+ posts on The Healthy Toast, this recipe was by far the most researched and thought about.

One of my best friends, and Man of Honor at my wedding, has a phenomenal family recipe for traditional New Mexico pork green chili.

A couple months back we were sitting in his backyard, eating bowls of the pork green chili and started talking about making a vegetarian version.

While this may seem simple – just nix the meat — we wanted to keep that depth of flavor that you get from the pork. And I’m happy to report that we were successful!

New Mexico-style vegetarian green chili with refried beans and tortillas

What is green chili?

But before I jump into how we accomplished our mission, I want to give a brief introduction to green chili for anyone who isn’t familiar.

When you hear “chili” my guess is that most of you think of a combination of meat, beans, possibly vegetables, sometimes beer, and always chili powder. Something that can be made in a slow cooker and is often served over French fries or hot dogs.

Well this is not that kind of chili. It’s also not that gravy-consistency green sauce that you might find at taco chains or more American-style Mexican restaurants.

Traditional green chili is more thin than other chilis and does not contain any chili powder or beans.

For those of you from the Southwest, you are probably familiar with the dispute over Colorado Green Chili vs New Mexico Green Chili.

From what I’ve been able to find, the only real difference is what type of chili you use: in New Mexico it’s the hatch green chili and in Colorado it’s the Pueblo chili. Both of these chilis are usually found around the end of August and beginning of September.

We found ours at a local Farmer’s Market where they were roasting the chilis on the spot.

Chopping hatch green chilis

What you need

  • Olive oil
  • Spices: smoked paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, thyme or Mexican oregaono
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Roasted hatch green chilis
  • Vegetable broth or better than bouillon
  • Corn starch
  • Lime juice
  • Tortillas and refried beans for serving

Tips for getting the best flavor out of your vegetarian green chili

First things first: you don’t make green chili in a slow cooker. The key is to slowly build and deepen the flavors by adding them in gradually.

Secondly, please, please don’t used canned chilis! You can used frozen hatch green chilis, but just not the canned version.

In addition to the tips above, there are a few key additional pieces to building just the right flavor for green chili:

  1. Roasted green hatch or Pueblo chilis. I bought medium heat chilis and this was still on the spicy side.
  2. Keep the skins on! Some recipes will say to peel your chilis, but the charred skins really give a good smoky flavor.
  3. Use better than bouillon to make your veggie stock (or use a homemade stock).
  4. Good-quality smoked paprika.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, build your flavors in steps – do not just throw everything in a pot and expect the same depth of flavor.

What to serve with this chili

To keep these traditional, I recommend serving your green chili over a bed of refried beans (I used my healthier refried beans recipe) and scoop up using home-style tortillas rather than a spoon.

For crunch, you could use tortilla chips instead.

And let me tell you, after the first bite we were all in heaven. Seriously, this chili is so full of flavor that you won’t believe there isn’t any meat!

You can bet that I’ll be buying a bunch of roasted hatch green chilis to freeze so that I can enjoy this chili all year long!

New Mexico-style vegetarian green chili with refried beans and tortillas

More green chili recipes

New Mexico-Style Vegetarian Green Chili with refried beans and tortillas

New Mexico-Style Vegetarian Green Chili

While traditional green chili relies on pork for that delicious, smoky flavor, this vegetarian option is just as delicious and will have even meat-lovers going in for seconds!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Green Chili, Vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Kelli


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil not extra-virgin or use canola oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme or Mexican oregano
  • 1 14.5- oz can diced tomatoes not drained
  • ~8-oz roasted hatch green chilis diced and seeded
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 tsp better than bouillon vegetable base
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Refried beans and tortillas for serving*


  • Place oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add paprika and diced onion. Cook until onions start to soften and paprika is fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Next, add in garlic and cook ~30 seconds. Add coriander, cumin, and diced tomatoes. Cook 1-2 minutes or until spices are fragrant.
  • Add roasted chilis and stir. Finally stir in water followed by bouillon base. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cook for ~45 minutes or until broth has slightly reduced down.
  • While chili is cooking, combine 2 Tbsp warm water with 1 Tbsp cornstarch. Add slurry to simmering chili at final 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. To serve, place a spoonful of refried beans in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle green chili over beans and serve with homestyle tortillas. Drizzle with lime juice and enjoy!


Recipe for healthier homemade refried beans in post
New Mexico Style Vegetarian Green Chili Pinterest image

Add a comment


  • Amy AvatarAmy9 months ago

    Dude, where’s the protein? That’s not chile, that’s sauce.

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast5 months ago

      Hi Amy! This recipe is inspired by my friend’s family’s traditional green chile recipe, which is typically served with fresh tortillas and refried beans, which would provide some protein.

  • Robin AvatarRobin11 months ago

    I keep coming back to this recipe. I love it! Thanks for sharing.

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast5 months ago

      I’m so glad to hear that Robin! This one is a regular in our rotation too!

  • Wayne Francis AvatarWayne Francis2 years ago

    OOPS, sorry Kelli, feel free to edit

  • Wayne Francis AvatarWayne Francis2 years ago

    Megan, I had a 12 oz mixture of annaheim and poblano chilles which I roasted per instructions. Since it’s heading toward summer time in the south I opted for burritos instead os stew. I deleted water and added an additional 10 oz can of diced tomatos with jalapenos and about half cup vegetable stock. After following process I added a can of black beans and simmered until desired texture for burrito filling, about 25 minutes. I allowed mixture to set and cool a bit for savory flavor. After wrapping in flour tortillas I topped with green salsa and vegan cheese, baked at 350 for twenty minutes and served garnished with a dalop of vegan sour cream and chopped cilantro. Thank you so much for providing ingredients and instructuions. By far, best tasting flavor, aroma and texture ever.

  • Megan AvatarMegan2 years ago

    Thank you for fixing that, you’re the best! Will be making this week! 🙂

  • Megan AvatarMegan2 years ago

    I have made this recipe along with the refried beans a few times now and it is always delicious. Really reminds me of green chili we get down in Santa Fe! However, it looks like the link to the refried beans is no longer there a way to fix that please? 🙂 This is such a great winter meal and I’ve been craving it all week!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast2 years ago

      I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the recipe! And oh no! I’ll check and fix that, thanks for letting me know!

  • Bryan AvatarBryan2 years ago

    Your idea to use beans on the side seems just right. I’ve been seeking a version of Colorado Green substituting pintos for the pork, but this just might be the answer!

    I’ll go flexitarian, and still use my chicken stock – oh, and start with the onions in bacon grease – but featuring the refrito style beans along with the stewed chiles will be dope.

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast2 years ago

      I hope you like it Bryan! I took several tries and collaboration with a friend who’s family has been making New Mexico green chili for generations. I like the flexitarian take on it – let me know how it turns out!

  • About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

    Here you’ll find realistic healthy recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your busy lifestyle in mind.

    Whether you’re a busy professional or new mom, the goal of The Healthy Toast is to provide you with the recipes and nutrition info you need to live your healthiest life, even when life gets crazy. As I’m a firm believer in a whole-foods, non-diet approach, I hope my website shows that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. 

    Nutrition Tips

    11 Healthy Postpartum Freezer Meals
    What is the MIND diet?
    MIND Diet Cookbook for Beginners
    Tips for an Organized and Functional Kitchen
    The Healthy Toast
    Data and Cookie Consent
    In order to provide a more personal user experience, we and our partners use technology such as cookies to store and/or access device information.
    By clicking “Accept” you consent to these technologies which will allow us and
    our partners
    to process non-sensitive data such as IP address, unique ID, and browsing data for the purposes of serving personalized ads and content, ad and content measurement, audience insights, and to develop and improve products.
    Your choices on this site will be applied only for this site. You can change your settings at any time, including withdrawing your consent, by going to the
    Privacy Policy
    page of this site.
    Manage Settings