Green Chicken Chile with White Beans and Kale

Green Chicken Chili Bowl
Add your favorite chili toppings to this green chicken chili.

This green chicken chile is a wintertime staple in my family. The best part is that I’ve learned how to hide kale in it to give the kids some extra nutrition. When they’re finally old enough to figure it out, it will be too late and we can laugh at them!

In the meantime, give this one a try. I’ve been making this for years and have found the simplest shortcuts to maximize flavor and balance this delicious and super nutritious chile.

Green Chicken Chili Ingredients
The addition of salsa verde, green kale, and a little orange juice make this green chicken chili stand out.

Building the Base of th Green Chicken Chile

I start by building a base, and this is where we start with our trickery. First, saute sweet onions in a little oil until they start to brown but not burn. This take about 10 minutes and will bring out their sweetness.

Once that’s done, dust them with ground cumin and ground garlic and stir those over the heat until fragrant, about another minute or two.

This is where I add my first secret weapon, a jar of salsa verde. I use this Herdez salsa verde, but feel free to use one you prefer. The salsa verde adds tomatillos, salt, and some spices, along with a little liquid. It immediately amps up the flavor. Next I add the canned fire roasted chiles, which build on what we started with the salsa. I like to drain the cans because the liquid in them tastes very bitter. Finally, add the chicken broth.

Adding Kale to Chili
Keep your family’s prying eyes away from this step. Get that fresh kale in the pot and cover it up!

Sneaking Kale into the Green Chicken Chile

Now we add the chopped kale. I usually just buy a bunch for this recipe but 4 cups of the stuff should be plenty. I think you could use more.

You could also skip this step and many people wouldn’t blame you. However, I’ve found that I can hide the kale’s taste and appearance! Here’s how: Once the chopped kale cooks in the base about 30-45 minutes it softens considerably. I then use an immersion blender to blend the base and kale until it’s all smooth. The kale ends up looking like bits of fire roasted chiles floating in the base. Magic!

After Kale Cooked in Chili
Let the chili base cook about 45 minutes to an hour to meld the flavors and soften the kale.
Blending Green Chicken Chili Base
Once you blend the chili base with an immersion blender it will be difficult to spot any kale.

Adding the Chunky Bits to the Green Chicken Chile Base

Once you have your blended base, you can add chopped chicken, white beans, and sweet corn and cook the whole thing for another 30 minutes or so. This will meld the flavors and bring additional body to your concoction. For this version of the recipe I used the chicken breast Costco pulls from its rotisserie chickens as it has a great flavor.

Sometimes I find old grocery store rotisserie chickens, pull the meat from them and add the chicken bones in a tied cheese cloth to the base and cook it a little longer. Then I will add the chicken meat, beans and corn. This really adds to the chicken flavor but also adds steps to the process. I leave it to you.

How to Chase Away Bitterness from the Green Chicken Chile

All these chiles and kale can produce a pretty bitter brew.

By using sweet onions and sweet corn we’ve made an effort to counter it. But I’ve found that the addition of a 1/2 cup of orange juice adds the final bit of sweetness to the chili along with a flavor that people can’t detect. It also fires the final salvo in the fight to mask the flavor of the kale.

I really like orange juice when paired with Mexican style cooking and use it in one of my favorite fajita chicken marinades.

Finished Green Chicken Chili Pot
This recipe makes a large pot of green chicken chili – at least 12-16 servings. Cut it in half unless you want to have leftovers.

Serving the Green Chicken Chile

Once you’ve cooked this, ladle it out into bowls and garnish it with any of your normal chili fixins, including sour cream, shredded cheese, diced jalapenos or serranos, lime wedges, hot sauce, corn bread, etc. My family often eats this with giant “scoops” corn chips.

You can freeze any leftovers and save them for another cold day.

Enjoy and let me know if you tried this and how you changed it to suit your own tastes.

Green Chicken Chili with Goodies
Add cheese, sour cream, corn chips, corn bread, hot sauce or any of your favorite fixin’s to your green chicken chili.


Green Chicken Chili Closeup

Roman's Green Chicken Chile with White Beans and Kale

We get sneaky and hide kale in this green chicken chili, then show you a couple of secrets to maximise flavor and balance this nutritional powerhouse.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 16 servings
Calories 350 kcal


  • Large Stock Pot
  • Immersion Blender or Blender


  • 1 med Yellow or sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground garlic
  • 4 7 oz cans Fire roasted green chiles, mild, drained of juice
  • 1 16 oz jar Salsa Verde
  • 4 cups Fresh green kale, chopped optional
  • 64 oz Chicken Broth This is 2 32 oz boxes
  • ½ cup Orange juice
  • 2 15 oz cans White beans or great northern beans, drained of juice
  • 2 lbs Chopped cooked chicken breast I use the Costco rotisserie chicken for this.
  • 1 lb Frozen corn or drained canned corn


Make the Base

  • In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat and add diced onions. Cook onions, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add ground cumin and ground garlic and cook, stirring often for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add salsa verde, green chiles, kale and chicken broth. Turn up heat to medium high until mixture reaches a boil, then turn down to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes to soften kale.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend the base in the pot until smooth. Remember, you're trying to hide the kale from the kids!

Finishing the Chili

  • Add chopped chicken to the base along with beans and corn.
  • Add ½ cup of orange juice and salt and pepper to taste. The OJ will sweeten the chili and counters the bitterness of the salsa verde, canned chiles, and kale. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
  • Serve in bowls with sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped hot peppers, cornbread and any of your other favorite chili accompaniments.


This is for 12-16 servings of chili. Cut the recipe in half if you want 6-8 servings.
Keyword beans, chicken, chili, kale, soup, spicy, stew

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