I love chili rellenos, how about you? Cheesy and tender, they are my go-to meal at most Mexican restaurants because it is usually gluten free. Not an everyday meal of course, but a nice, not too unhealthy treat from time to time. I try to search out restaurants that serve authentic chili rellenos, not the omelet wrapped canned peppers with a wedge of cheese, broiled with some canned enchilada sauce. Not good eats. Cactus restaurants, here in the Seattle area, are my favorite places to get really great chili rellenos. I love when they are stuffed with yummy goodness besides just cheese.
I created this particular dish several years ago for a personal chef client who loved Mexican flavors. I wanted to bump up the nutrition by adding in quinoa. This makes the meal really filling and satisfying. I’ve made this a few different ways, adding in shredded chicken, black beans, roasted corn and more. This is a great easy base recipe though with the goodness of quinoa.
The Ranchero sauce is super easy and a great recipe to make when you make your huevos rancheros, chilaquiles or as a simple sauce to serve with brown rice and black beans, or served over some grilled carne asada. Yum.
I will show you two variations. The first is the easiest, healthiest option. The peppers are simply baked, but absolutely delicious. I will also show the technique for making authentic chile rellenos, fried. Again, not an everyday meal, but not that bad. Frying the peppers is a bit more work but my boyfriend and I agree, it is the best way to eat them.
Either way, these are amazing! Give them a try and let me know what you think! Both recipes are gluten free and vegetarian.
Healthified Chili Rellenos, Mesa de Vida
1 recipe Ranchero sauce, below
4 Poblano peppers, broiled until blackened, skin removed *not an optional step*
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup shredded jack cheese (my preference, you can use cheddar or cotija if you wish)
1/2 tsp chili powder (I use ground Anaheim chilis)
1/2 tsp dried ground cumin
1 pinch Kosher/sea salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pour the Ranchero sauce into a baking dish. Combine the quinoa, cheese, seasonings and cilantro. Stuff into the peppers. Place in the sauce and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Enjoy!
Heat a saucepan with 2″ of oil over medium heat.
After stuffing the peppers secure them closed with toothpicks. Roll the peppers in cornstarch.
Separate 2 eggs. Whisk the egg whites until thick and foamy. Lightly beat the egg yolks. When your oil is hot, then gently fold the egg yolks into the whites. Dip the peppers that were dredged in cornstarch into the egg batter. Gently lay into the oil. Fry until golden brown on one side, flip and cook until golden brown on the other side. Place on a paper towel or paper bag to soak up excess oil. Serve in a bed of Ranchero sauce, remove toothpicks and enjoy!
2 tsp healthy oil/fat of your choice
1 onion, minced
1 red or green bell pepper, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder (I use dried Anaheim chilis)
1 pinch Kosher/sea salt
2 Tb lime juice, fresh
15 oz tomato sauce, no salt, no sugar
Heat a saucepan over medium heat, when hot add oil, swirl to coat. Add the vegetables and seasonings. Saute for 8 minutes, until tender. Add lime juice, stir and cook 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and turn heat down to medium low. Simmer 10 minutes for the flavors to blend. Enjoy!
I shared a Chili Rellenos Casserole awhile back, this is another great, easy recipe!
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