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Try our comforting chili verde with jackfruit – made with fresh roasted peppers of all kinds, tomatillos, jackfruit chicken, cilantro, pinto beans, and more.
It all starts with roasted peppers
If you’re making chili verde for the first time, don’t be intimidated by the volume of peppers required to make this delicious, savory, and comforting soup. The flavor and heat intensity can all be controlled by what kinds of peppers you roast and whether you include the seeds or the membrane of the peppers in your chili.
I absolutely love roasted peppers, it’s the secret to chili verde with jackfruit. All you need to do is slice your peppers in half and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, then broil at 500 degrees until the peppers are nice and brown. Alternatively, if it’s not too cold or hot outside to grill, this is an excellent way to get more flavor out of the peppers.
The freshness is unparalleled
I’ve made versions of this with canned salsa and can tell you, the difference is noticeable. I strongly recommend sticking it out if your grocery store sells a variety of peppers to roast. If you are having a hard time finding peppers, you can always substitute for store-bought salsa instead. If you haven’t tried the salsa verde by Hatch Valley, you’re missing out big time. You can find it at most popular grocery stores and also Costco!
Between the tartness of the tomatillos and the freshness of the cilantro, you just can’t achieve that kind of flavor with anything shelf-stable. If you’re really aiming to go next level, you can also make your own pinto beans, definitely not a requirement for this recipe, but if you’re looking to go the extra mile, check out my recipe for oil-free refried beans which uses an instant pot to make beans from scratch super fast. Just skip the refrying part and there you have it.
My Chili Verde with Jackfruit actually won a cooking contest
Ok one more silly paragraph before getting into the ingredients and preparation for this recipe. My office holds an annual chili cookoff on Halloween and we surprisingly have a lot of vegans and vegetarians in our division. Thus the need for an entire vegan division of the cookoff.
Well, this recipe won the division and I was the proud recipient of a $25 Amazon gift card. That’s how you know chili verde with jackfruit is worth making.
What ingredients do I need to make chili verde with jackfruit?
If your local grocery store doesn’t sell a myriad of peppers, you’ll probably find there are no tomatillos either. If you have a Mexican grocery store nearby, I recommend checking there to see what they’ve got.
Tomatillos: To make fresh salsa verde for the chili verde, you’ll need about one pound of fresh tomatillos. Tomatillos look like unripe tomatoes and have a husk on the outside. For whatever reason, the husk intimidated me for a long time, but fear not! It’s just part of the fruit. Don’t forget to peel and wash the tomatillos before roasting in the oven – the husk can leave a sticky residue.
A variety of green chiles: Some stores will have more options than others, but ballpark you’ll want around 10 green chiles. For this recipe, I used 3 serrano peppers, 4 jalapenos, and 3 poblano peppers. If hatch green chiles are in season, definitely pick up a few of those!
Yellow onion & garlic: The base of the chili includes a sautéed onion and a few garlic cloves. You’ll also need more garlic for the salsa verde.
Jackfruit: I switched 100% to using Native Forest young jackfruit in brine about a year ago and haven’t looked back. This stuff is amazing and breaks apart without any additional boiling time. You’ll need 1 can of your favorite jackfruit that breaks apart by hand. If you’re using a brand like Aroy-D that is a little tougher, you can drain the can, add the pieces to the pot, fish out the pieces 30 minutes later with a slotted spoon, and fork the pieces apart.
Fresh cilantro: Aside from the peppers, fresh cilantro really makes chili verde with jackfruit come to life. I absolutely love the freshness cilantro brings to this recipe. And apologies in advance for those who have that gene, this recipe is not for you.
Evoo & bay leaves: Just a few minor detail ingredients – extra virgin olive oil & bay leaves. While bay leaves aren’t 100% required to make this dish amazing, if you have them, add them. You’ll need olive oil for sautéing the onion and garlic. If you’re oil-free this can easily be substituted for a splash of no chicken broth.
No chicken broth: This is where the flavor of the chicken comes from for the jackfruit! If you only have vegetable broth on hand, that will also work, but it never hurts to have a jar of vegan chicken bouillon lying around. You’ll need 4 cups of broth to make the chili verde.
Pinto beans: Chili verde is very low cal. To add some fiber, protein, and extra calories, you’ll need two cans of your favorite pinto beans. You can also make them from scratch – one of the few reasons I whip out my instant pot. Hah.
Salt & pepper: You might not need any with how salty and flavorful the peppers are, but just in case, a little salt and pepper goes a long way.
Tortilla strips: These are super optional so don’t think you need them to make this recipe. I always like to add a little something crunchy on top of my soups (plus it looks great photography-wise). I get these strips in the produce section of my local grocery store.
How to make green chili with jackfruit
Making green chili with jackfruit is relatively simple though it requires a few kitchen tools. First, you’ll need a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for roasting the tomatillos and green chili peppers. Next, you’ll need some of the usual kitchen things – a knife, a cutting board, a strainer, and a measuring cup. And lastly, you’ll need a large pot for cooking the chili verde and a blender. If you don’t own a blender, you can use a food processor or finely mince the roasted chiles and tomatillos with a knife.
Start by preheating your broiler to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, carefully remove the stems from the chiles and slice them in half. If you’d like your chile verde to be on the mild side, remove the seeds and membrane of the peppers before roasting. Next, wash and peel the tomatillos. Place the chiles and tomatillos on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat with the skin of the peppers facing up. Roast the chiles for 10 or so minutes or until the skin of the chiles is nice and charred. This will vary from oven to oven so watch them carefully and try not to burn them.
While the chiles and tomatillos roast, start prepping the rest of the ingredients. Start by draining two cans of pinto beans, rinsing them, and setting them aside. Then, drain a can of jackfruit and break each piece apart until they resemble chicken shreds. If your jackfruit is too tough to do this, simply hold off and add them to the chili in whole pieces, then fish them out with a slotted spoon after 30 minutes and break apart with a fork. Then, toss back in the chili. Lastly, make your no chicken broth by whisking together water and bouillon.
Check the chiles at this point to see how they are fairing, if they appear nice and brown, remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool. Chop a yellow onion, mince a few garlic cloves, and then add them to a large dutch oven or pot with some olive oil. Use a silicone spatula to sauté the onion and garlic until translucent for about five minutes.
Next, add the pinto beans, jackfruit, and bay leaves and stir to combine. Let the mixture continue to heat for about five minutes. Meanwhile, break out a blender. At this point, the tomatillos and chiles should be cool enough to handle. Add them to the blender along with a cup of no chicken broth, a few garlic cloves, and a bunch of cilantro. Then, blend until smooth.
Once you have your tomatillo salsa, add that to the pot along with the rest of the no chicken broth. Next, stir the soup and cover for about 20 minutes. Feel free to serve the chili verde with jackfruit with additional cilantro, or tortilla strips.
Substitution ideas and more
Make it oil-free: Chili verde with jackfruit is super easy to make oil-free. Simply use a splash of no chicken broth to sauté the onions and garlic instead of olive oil.
Use mock chicken instead of jackfruit: I know a few folks that don’t like the flavor of jackfruit. If you are one of those peeps, consider substituting mock meat like my homemade chicken seitan pieces or perhaps buying a store-bought brand. I would recommend prepping it separately and adding it at the very end as boiling seitan can change the texture and make it very chewy.
Add more heat: If the soup is too mild throw some hot green salsa or continue adding blended green chilis until you reach a nice heat level.
Take away heat: Taking away heat is really easy. All you need to do is remove the membrane and seeds from the chiles before you roast them in the oven.
Want more recipes?
If you liked our chili verde with jackfruit recipe, you might like some of my other soup recipes like
- Pumpkin lentil soup
- Vegan Cajun gumbo
- Jackfruit and wild rice soup
- Cheesy red lentil soup
- Black bean lentil soup
- Vegan tortilla soup
In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make chili verde with jackfruit! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s recipe jam is Why You No Love Me by John Mayer.
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing what you make!
Chili Verde with Jackfruit
- baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- cutting board
- measuring cups and spoons
- large pot or dutch oven
- 1 lb tomatillos
- 10-12 assorted green peppers – I used 4 jalapeños, 3 serranos, and 3 poblanos
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 can jackfruit in brine or water
- 2 cans pinto beans
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tsp no chicken bouillon, (plus 4 cups water)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- tortilla strips, (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste, (optional)
- Preheat broiler to 500 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Remove stems from peppers and slice in half and line across the baking sheet skin side up. Peel and wash the tomatillos and add them to the sheet as well. Broil the peppers and tomatillos for 10-15 minutes until the peppers are charred.1 lb tomatillos, 10-12 assorted green peppers – I used 4 jalapeños, 3 serranos, and 3 poblanos
- While the peppers and tomatillos roast, drain and rinse two cans of pinto beans and set aside. Then, drain the jackfruit and break it apart with your hands until it resembles shredded chicken and set aside. Then, prep 4 cups of no-chicken broth and set aside.1 can jackfruit in brine or water, 4 tsp no chicken bouillon
- Check the peppers and tomatillos – remove from the oven once nice and browned and let cool. Next, coarsely chop an onion plus mince 3 garlic cloves and add to a pot with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Sauté the garlic and onion for 5 minutes until translucent.6 cloves garlic, 1 yellow onion, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Meanwhile, add the roasted peppers and tomatillo to a blender with a bunch of cilantro (reserve a few leaves for serving), a cup of no-chicken broth, and 3 garlic cloves. Then blend the ingredients until it resembles salsa.1 lb tomatillos, 10-12 assorted green peppers – I used 4 jalapeños, 3 serranos, and 3 poblanos, 4 tsp no chicken bouillon, 2 bay leaves, 6 cloves garlic
- Return to your pot. Add the jackfruit, beans, and bay leaves and let simmer for five minutes. Then, add the tomatillo salsa and the rest of the no-chicken broth. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.1 can jackfruit in brine or water, 2 cans pinto beans
- Add salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve with tortilla strips and more fresh cilantro.