Most of the time I don’t have the forethought to plan recipes related to holidays that aren’t Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I happened to make this for dinner a few days ago and I knew it would be perfect to post on Cinco de Mayo. And in fact, this dish is sort of a celebration for me because it signifies that I’ve finally graduated from the realm of the picky eaters! Chile peppers were my last big food phobia and I’m very happy to say this recipe has put all my fears to rest. And, even crazier, as I was shoveling a stuffed poblano into my mouth my main thought was that I wanted it to be spicier. Five years ago, I wouldn’t even touch bell peppers, so eating a dish with not one, but two kinds of chile peppers in it would have been crazy talk.
This recipe is like a healthier version of chile rellenos. It uses poblano chiles that don’t need to be charred or peeled or anything fussy like that. They’re hollowed out and stuffed with a mixture of black beans and cheese and then placed into a spicy tomato sauce, topped with more cheese and baked until tender and melty and perfect.
Even with all the cheese these are surprisingly low in fat. I try to have at least one meal a week that doesn’t have meat and this is the kind of recipe where I didn’t miss it one bit. I had thought about making a Mexican rice to go on the side, but Brandon and I were stuffed afterward. (Though we did have two servings…we couldn’t resist going back for seconds!)
Even if you’re not that into spicy food, I would still recommend this recipe because it’s pretty mild. But if you do like spicy food it’s really easy to customize the recipe to your own tastes. The tomato sauce has a jalapeno in it, so you can either remove all the seeds to keep it milder or keep them in for a spicier sauce. Next time I’m definitely using the whole thing. I will also try adding some red pepper and maybe some other spices to the filling.
My only real issue with this dish is that it takes a whole hour to cook. It smells so good that you don’t want to wait, but it’s totally worth it. The actual time preparing the recipe is less than 30 minutes and takes very little effort. Half of the work is done by your blender or food processor. And I hate having to buy special ingredients that I don’t ever use again (which happens a lot with regional food) so I love that other than the chiles, I had most of the other ingredients in my pantry already. This recipe is definitely going into my regular rotation and it just proves that giving up all my stupid eating (or rather, not eating) habits was the best thing I ever did.
Dinner, Vegetarian | Servings: 4
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 1 hour | Total time: 1 hour 30 min
- 1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes in puree
- 1 jalapeno, minced (remove ribs and seeds for a milder sauce)
- 2 small onions, chopped, divided
- 3 garlic cloves (2 whole, 1 minced)
- 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1 can (19 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained*
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. pepper, or to taste**
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise (stems left intact), ribs and seeds removed
*Be sure to check the size of the can. I could only find 15 oz. cans of black beans, so I wound up using two. I love black beans and didn’t mind having more, though I had some extra leftover that I couldn’t fit into the overstuffed poblanos.
**If you like things really spicy, I’d recommend adding in some of your favorite spices like cayenne pepper, chipotle, etc.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).
- In a blender or food processor, puree tomatoes, minced jalapeno, half the onions, and 2 whole garlic cloves. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt; taste and add more if necessary. Pour sauce into a 9×13 in. baking dish. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine beans, remaining onions, minced garlic, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, cumin, cilantro and 3/4 cup water. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper (or more to taste).
- Stuff poblano halves with even amounts of the bean mixture. Nestle them side-by-side in the baking dish, over the sauce. Sprinkle the poblanos with remaining 1/2 cup cheese (I used more than that, you can’t go wrong with more cheese).
- Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until poblanos are tender. Uncover and continue to cook until sauce is thickened slightly and cheese is browned, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Serving size: 1 poblano
Calories: 327 calories