Chili Rellenos are an easy and healthy recipe perfect for a weeknight in the summer! They are simple to throw together, perfectly preportioned, and just-fancy-enough to impress your dinner guests! You can fill them with the vegetarian option I describe below, or you can get creative and stuff with beef, chicken, or tofu! The sky’s the limit… just make sure to take the toothpicks out before you chow down!
Yay for sisters visiting! My oldest sister Bethany was staying for the night after driving from State College, PA. She and my bro-in-law, Ethan, are moving to Asheville! Yay! First, though, we girls decided it would be fun to fly to CA and road trip XC with my Californian surfer sister, Mary. She usually spends a few weeks on the East Coast every year to visit family/friends, and this year Bethany and I decided to join! We leave August 3rd and are staying in some pretty awesome places including Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Arapaho National Forest, and Nashville. You can follow our trip via my Instagram!
Bethany is going to a wedding in MN before flying to CA on Sunday, so I took the opportunity to spoil her with a home cooked dinner and some Durham “night life” (that is, ice cream at The Parlour) 🙂
For dinner, stuffed poblanos, aka “Chiles Rellenos.” I got the idea for these from this month’s issue of Cooking Light, and modified the stuffing a little bit based on taste preference and on what I had in the house. They are slightly spicy (in the words of my sensitive-palated-husband: “those have got some KICK to them!” but less-so if you do a good job removing the seeds (which I apparently did not). I settled on quinoa and lentils for the grains (added the lentils only because I was short on quinoa by a half cup!), subbed black beans for pinto, and used red onion in place of celery. I also added a few more Mexican seasonings like cumin, chili powder, a dash of cayenne, and garlic.
I also didn’t grill them because our grill is out of gas. Which makes it harder to grill things. Surprise, surprise.
Okay, so maybe this recipe is entirely different than the original. But I kept the lime juice and corn kernels! And the overall vegetarian-ness!
I’ve seen a lot of recipes that recommend broiling the peppers and steaming in a covered bowl for a while, and then rubbing the skins off, but I decided to stuff them before roasting because I was worried about them being harder to spoon the filling into after they had wilted down! This meant that I didn’t remove the blistered, wrinkly skins that you see in the picture above… so they aren’t the prettiest little things, but they do taste darn good!
As I mentioned earlier, I did keep these vegetarian, but for the meat-eaters out there, they would definitely be good filled with ground beef, pork, turkey, or chicken. I would also love to try them with some smoked tofu next time! I served them to Bethany and Ben with BBQ chicken quesadillas, using leftover chicken from my Mole Chicken Tacos, so I didn’t feel the need to go on a meat craze. Amen.
Ok. Down to business. Start by making your filling and chopping off the tops of the peppers, discarding the spicy seeds and cores.
If you have extra filling, it also makes a great salad for lunch the next day! Next, rub the peppers with oil and stuff them with the filling. Fasten stems back on with toothpicks. I just about poked myself about twelve times, so ten cuidado!
Roast about 40 minutes or until charred. Cool slightly and serve with some greek yogurt, salad greens, or protein of your choice! Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup dry quinoa
- 1/2 cup dry lentils
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup chunky salsa
- 1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
- 1/2 cup frozen or fresh cut okra
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
- 8 medium-sized poblano peppers
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Rinse quinoa and lentils in a saucepan, then drain well. Add 1 1/4 cups salted water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until al dente. Remove from heat.
- Stir in cilantro, onion, garlic, black beans, and lime juice. Add spices and stir. Allow mixture to cool in the saucepan.
- Pour mixture into a large bowl and stir in the salsa, corn, okra, and cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 375. Rinse peppers and pat dry. Rub the outsides with olive oil.
- Slice stem tops off of each pepper and remove seeds and core from the insides. (Make sure to keep track of which top goes with which pepper!)
- Stuff peppers with filling and secure stems back on top with two toothpicks.
- Layer peppers in a foil-lined pan sprayed with cooking spray. Spray tops of peppers with a little more cooking spray.
- Bake uncovered for 40 minutes until charred. (The peppers will look brown and blistered… you can remove the outer skins but I decided that was too much work so I left them on!)
- Serve with greek yogurt and meat or greens of your choosing! I served them with BBQ chicken quesadillas and scrambled eggs- yum!