Vegetarian Green Chili

One of our donors recently requested this recipe from me, and I realized that I had yet to share a green chili recipe with you all… so here it is! This is a vegetarian version that is very flavorful and not too spicy. Since it is thickened with masa flour, which is made from corn, it’s also gluten-free. You can always add pork to it, but give it a try this way also- you won’t be disappointed!

Vegetarian Green Chili
Yields 2 quarts

By Brandon Foster, Executive Chef, Project Angel Heart

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 yellow onions, julienned
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2.5 pounds frozen roasted mild green chiles, thawed and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
  • 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, ground
  • 2.5 cups cold water, divided
  • 1/2 cup masa flour
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Lime juice, to taste

Place a medium stockpot on the stove over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil. Then add the onions. Saute the onions for 4-5 minutes, until they start to take on some color. Add the garlic and turn the heat down to medium. Stir often so the garlic does not burn. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until it is nice and fragrant. 

Add the green chiles, then add the dried spices. Mix well, then add 2 cups of the water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring often and making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cold water and the masa flour. It should form a mixture that is similar to batter. With the chili on low heat, pour the masa batter in, whisking as you pour. Make sure the masa is well incorporated as the chili comes back to a simmer. 

Taste the chili, then season to your liking with salt, pepper, and little lime juice. Enjoy! 


Chef Brandon FosterBrandon Foster began his life in the kitchen at the Best Western in Frisco, Colorado, almost 18 years ago. His passion for ingredients and drive to learn technique led him down the mountain to Denver, where he worked in two of Denver’s most fondly remembered restaurants, The Fourth Story and Mel’s. He joined the crew at Vesta in 2005 as a line cook and became executive chef in 2010, focusing on getting back to the roots of cooking through charcuterie and seasonal ingredients. Ultimately, Chef Brandon’s career highlights centered on events like Plates for the Peak, Invest in Kids, and James Beard Foundation dinners where he could play a role in helping people in need- a passion that led him to Project Angel Heart in 2016. Outside the kitchen, Chef Brandon enjoys spending time skiing, camping, golfing, and eating with his wife Larissa and their three kids.