Chicken with Creamy Green Chile, Tomatillo, and Avocado Sauce

March 14, 2012 · 37 comments

in chicken/poultry,dairy-free,healthy,mexican/tex-mex,quick and easy


I’m pretty excited to share this dish with you for many reasons, the most obvious being that it tastes great and all three of us cleaned our plates. Second, it’s incredibly easy and quick. Third, with spring and summer approaching, it’s a great dish for grilling—and eating. It’s creamy but still light and healthy.

When I saw this sauce, it reminded me of a pasta dish I’d made back in the day and really enjoyed. I love the tartness of tomatillos, and I was on board with the addition of the avocado and half and half for creaminess. I used the recipe as I saw it on Our Life in Food (a blog you should visit if you haven’t already because I guarantee if you like the food here, you’ll like it there. We have very similar tastes!). Carrie used half and half, and I did the same since I had some leftover from bolognese. The original recipe uses water, so you could go that route, or a light sour cream or Greek yogurt would work equally well.

As you know, I really don’t like cilantro. (Except in Chipotle’s rice. I have no idea why.) I can handle it in very small doses, so I added about 1 Tbsp. cilantro to this, though the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup. Obviously you can leave it out altogether if you hate cilantro. This sauce is not very spicy, so if you want it to be, you should add a second jalapeno.

We  had this with a black bean/corn/tomato salad thing. The whole meal felt light and fresh, and perfect for an unseasonably warm day (80 degrees in March. In Chicago!).  You could easily grill everything rather than broil it, too.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen March 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm

This looks amazing!! I am so ready for grill season. I will let you know when (not if) I try this.


Ben March 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Wow what a combination. It’s making me hungry.


Joanne March 15, 2012 at 5:42 am

Mmm I’m seeing many many many future uses for that sauce…it sounds so refreshing! I’m thinking to garnish some tacos or mixed into a burrito instead of sour cream. Major yum.


Lynn BB March 15, 2012 at 5:59 am

Do you roast the tomatillos with the other vegetables?


elly March 15, 2012 at 7:08 am

Yes! Thanks for noticing; I fixed it. I need an editor. :)


Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are} March 15, 2012 at 7:43 am

Oh. Yum.
This looks like something we would LOVE. It’s the perfect amount of time for me too – quick!
Beautiful photo too!


katie March 15, 2012 at 8:52 am

I am not a huge cilantro fan either and my husband hates it. I can sneak it in some things, but he generally complains about it. This recipe looks great, can’t wait to try it.


Nicole, RD March 15, 2012 at 9:06 am

I think we have very similar tastes, too…so I will have to check out that blog. This looks fantastic and I love that it can be made on the grill. I am ITCHING to fire that puppy up!


Carrie March 15, 2012 at 9:57 am

So glad that you enjoyed this meal, Elly! I had been saving it forever for grilling season, but I finally just decided that I needed to make it indoors. But I can’t wait to try it grilled!

And oops, somehow I completely missed that the original recipe was from Food & Wine cookbook….I hate when I do that. Need to go fix that!


Erin March 15, 2012 at 11:17 am

Loving all of the peppers in this.


Asiya March 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm

This looks so yummy! Is there anything I can substitute for the tomatillos? I have never seen them in Toronto.


elly March 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Hi Asiya. There really isn’t a great sub for tomatillos. Some will tell you to use green tomatoes but they don’t really taste the same in my opinion (plus, I have an easier time finding tomatillos than green tomatoes). Check to see if you can find canned tomatillos, which in my opinion are fine (I’ve used them in a few soup recipes). You could try using tomatoes, but it will taste different (and change the color I’m sure). If you go that route, I’d add a little extra lime or lemon juice to compensate since tomatillos are more tart than regular tomatoes.


Asiya March 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Thx….I don’t think we even get canned tomatillos here..Shame b/c I’ve seen quite a few recipes I want to try but have them in it. Will have to give it a try with tomatoes. Thx for you reply!


Asiya March 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Asiya, if you are anywhere near Kensington Market you can for sure get Tomatillos there – check the Mexican grocers or the produce stores. I’ve seen them at some grocery stores as well, maybe Fresh co?

I’m vegan but I’d love this on tofu. I’m wondering if I could sub soymilk for the half and half, or do you think that would be too runny?


elly March 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I think it would be totally fine. All of the vegetables make this pretty thick and the original recipe calls for water, so I’m sure soy milk would work great.

Krissy@DaintyChef March 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm

This looks awesome, I can’t wait to grill this up soon! I can only handle cilantro in small doses as well.


Elpiniki March 17, 2012 at 9:55 am

Looks like an amazing chicken dish!!


Cara March 18, 2012 at 8:47 am

mmm, this sauce sounds dangerously good!


cassie March 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

this sauce sounds amazing. just right up my alley!


Katerina March 20, 2012 at 5:52 am

Quick and tasty, these two words sound like music in my ears! The sauce has a beautiful color! Great chicken dish especially now that spring is on its way!


Jessica March 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm

This sounds so, so, so good! Hope I can find tomatillos somewhere here!


Platanos, Mangoes and Me! March 22, 2012 at 9:28 am

I would clean up my plate too.


Josie March 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Ah, this is so full of my favorite things – I can’t wait to make this! And you know I love cilantro, so I’ll be adding a huge handful :)


Jess May 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Made this for dinner early today before work so I could take it with me, I love how quickly I was able to whip it up! I’m not kidding when I say that I was thinking about eating this, which I poured over chicken, all day! When I was finally able to enjoy it, I was not disappointed! This stuff is to die for, I could definitely pour it over ANYTHING! I used greek yogurt instead of half & half, and I also don’t like cilantro so I stuck with what you used. I do like my food spicy, though, so I’ll add another jalapeno next time.
Needless to say, the ingredients in this recipe will now be on my weekly shopping list. Thank you for a healthy AND delicious recipe! :)


elly May 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm

I’m glad you liked it, Jess! We had it twice in 2 weeks which is pretty much unheard of in this house. :) And I agree, the sauce can go on pretty much anything, or even just as a dip for tortilla chips.


Nicci July 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I made this tonight. It was fabulous! Thank you!


elly July 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Glad you liked it, Nicci!


Jessica @ Sunny Side Up April 30, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Loved, loved, loved this!! It is so fresh testing I just wanted to eat it with a spoon right out of the food processor. I used mine as a pasta sauce of sorts (over penne with grilled chicken and black bean salsa on top) and it was amazing, but I think I’d also love it over rice or just right over the plain chicken or with a spoon. And I loved how quickly it came together. Total winner!


elly May 1, 2013 at 9:02 am

So glad you liked it! This is one of our favorite things, for sure. We’ve used it in a few applications and it’s just so easy, good, and healthy!


Susan January 9, 2014 at 11:05 am

I was excited to see this recipe since I had left over ingredients from Pork Chili verde I made last night. I didn’t have poblano peppers, so I just used a can of green chiles in place of the poblano. I haven’t served it yet, but have made the sauce to smother our chicken breasts at lunch time and took several bites. :) It is going to be awesome! Love the flavor. Now to find a nice, fast side dish. Thanks for the recipe!


elly January 9, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Love this sauce! Glad you did too.


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