This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.
This Chile Relleno Recipe is a healthy take on the traditional Mexican classic. We roast the poblano chilies (rather than fry them in egg white mixture) and stuff them with black beans & cheese, and bake them in an incredible rancheros sauce. Vegan-Adaptable! Video.
My husband Brian loves a good Chile Relleno. The problem is I love them too, but they don’t look quite as good on me. 😉 Typically, they are battered and fried, oozing with cheese, and often greasy and heavy, dripping with fat and calories. This lightened-up Chile Relleno recipe calls for roasting, not frying, with the addition of cholesterol-lowering black beans instead of using all cheese. They are also made without flour- so gluten-free. So not an authentic Chile Rellenos, but just as delicious!
I’ve even included a vegan version if you want to eliminate the dairy, which surprisingly got a huge thumbs up from my husband. The nice thing is you can make some vegan and some vegetarian with cheese based on your
What I love MOST about this recipe is the sheet-pan roasting method, where the peppers and the Salsa Ranchero Sauce ingredients are roasted. It saves a huge step. It is so easy and much quicker than traditional Chiles Rellenos while being much lighter and super delicious!
Roasted Chile Relleno! | 45-second video
Chili Relleno Ingredients
- Poblano peppers- Use the largest poblano chiles you can find. Poblano Peppers (vs hatch chilies or Anaheim peppers) are the easiest to work with- they are sturdier!
- Tomatoes- Roma tomatoes or vine-ripened
- Garlic cloves and Onion – add depth of flavor
- Jalapeño peppers
- olive oil
- Black beans, drained and rinsed -seasoned (see notes) or Cuban Style are nice
- Melty Cheese: Monterey jack cheese, cheddar cheese or Mexican queso fresco (or 1 cup vegan Herbed Tofu Ricotta )
- Spices cumin, coriander, chili powder, dried oregano & salt and pepper
- Tomato paste
- Fresh Cilantro leaves
- Serve with sour cream, lime, and hot sauce!
How to make roasted Chili Rellenos
Roast the poblano peppers and the ranchero sauce ingredients on one or two baking sheets. Use parchment (not foil, unlike the pictures).
While this is roasting, make the filling. In a medium bowl, mix the black beans, spices and cheese. You can also use vegan ricotta instead of cheese for a tasty vegan version!
Once the poblano chilies are roasted, slit them vertically and stuff with the filling mixture.
Blend the rancheros sauce ingredients in a blender.
You can also bake in individual baking dishes or mini cast iron skillets.
Then Bake! This vegan version is made with black beans and herbed tofu ricotta – it’s really flavorful!
Or bake them all together in a large cast iron skillet until golden and melty.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, reheat in a 350F oven, or freeze in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
- VEGAN: If cooking for mixed households where some folks are vegan and some are vegetarian- you can use our vegan ricotta instead of cheese. Bake in separate baking dishes.
- MEAT: You can easily add browned, seasoned ground meat to some while keeping others vegan or vegetarian. If adding meat, this Mexican Turkey chorizo is nice, as well as cooked shredded Chicken Carnitas.
- CHILES: Purchase the biggest Poblano Chilies you can find. The peppers in the photos were abnormally large poblanos (like 8 inches long!). One pepper was one serving. If you only have smaller ones available (like 4-inch ones), get double the amount; you may need to serve 2 as a serving. Poblano Peppers (vs Pasilla or Anaheim peppers) are the easiest to work with- they are sturdier! They will most likely take 30 minutes to roast, while the others roast much quicker, so if using Pasillas or Anaheims – check after 10-15 minutes, or they may get too soft to handle and hard to stuff.
- GRILL: You can also blacken the peppers on a gas grill or on a stovetop gas burner (easiest), rotating with tongs until charred on all sides, then wrap up in a paper bag, or foil for 8-10 minutes to allow them to steam and soften before seeding and peeling under cool running water.
- TIME SAVORS: Two products that come in handy at home- that I try to always keep in my pantry: Tomato Paste in a tube– because we rarely use the whole can in one sittting. And seasoned Black Beans- a faster way to add more flavor to meals- already have onion, garlic and green chilies in with them.
Chili Relleno FAQs
Q: What is a Chile Relleno?
A: A Chile Relleno is a traditional Mexican dish made from whole poblano chilies that are stuffed with cheese, battered in an egg batter, and fried until golden brown. They are typically served with Ranchero Sauce.
Q: Can I make a healthier version of Chile Rellenos?
A: Yes, absolutely! In fact, this recipe provides a healthier take on Chile Rellenos. Instead of frying the chilies, they are roasted, and black beans are added to the filling for a lighter and more nutritious option. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients to suit your dietary preferences!
Q: Are Chile Rellenos gluten-free?
A: Yes, these Chili Rellenos are made without flour so that individuals can enjoy them following a gluten-free diet.
Q: Can I make a vegan version of Chile Rellenos?
A: Yes, you can! Use this vegan ricotta cheese instead of dairy cheese. Depending on your preferences, you can also adapt the recipe to make some vegan and some vegetarian Chile Rellenos.
Q: How do I blacken the chilies?
A: To blacken the poblano chilies for the recipe, you can either char them on a gas grill or on a stovetop gas burner by simply rotate the chilies with tongs until they are charred on all sides. Then, wrap them up in a paper bag or foil for 8-10 minutes to allow them to steam and soften. After that, you can slit, and remove the seeds.
Q: How should I store leftover Chile Rellenos?
A: Leftover Chile Rellenos can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat them, simply place them in a 350°F oven until warmed through. If you have more leftovers than you can consume within 4 days, they freeze well.
What to Serve with Chile Relleno!
When serving chili relleno, you can pair it with a variety of delicious side dishes. Here are some options:
- Mexican Slaw: A refreshing and crunchy slaw with a zesty dressing perfectly complements the chili relleno flavors. You can find a recipe for Mexican slaw here.
- Mexican Rice: Serve chili relleno alongside a flavorful Mexican rice dish. The combination of the spicy chili relleno and the savory rice is irresistible. You can find a recipe for Mexican rice here.
- Mexican Pinto Beans: A classic side dish in Mexican cuisine, pinto beans are the perfect accompaniment to chili relleno. Their creamy texture and rich flavor complement the dish beautifully. You can find a recipe for Mexican pinto beans here.
- Guacamole: Add some creamy and tangy guacamole to your chili relleno plate. The coolness of the guacamole contrasts nicely with the spiciness of the dish. You can find recipes for guacamole here with three different variations.
- Hibiscus Margaritas with Ginger and Lime: For a refreshing and unique beverage, try serving hibiscus margaritas with ginger and lime. The floral notes of the hibiscus and the zing of ginger will perfectly complement the chili relleno’s flavors. You can find a recipe for hibiscus margaritas here.
- Mexican Papaya Salad: If you’re looking for a light and refreshing side dish, a Mexican papaya salad is a great choice. The sweetness of the papaya and the tanginess of the dressing balance out the savory flavors of the chili relleno. You can find a recipe for Mexican papaya salad here.
Feel free to mix and match these side dishes to create a complete and satisfying meal with your chili relleno. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this lightened up, healthy version of Chili Relleno! Let us know what you think in the comments below. Have a beautiful weekend! xoPrint
A healthy, lightened-up version of Chile Rellenomade by roasting (instead of frying) the poblano peppers. Stuff with savory black beans and bake in the easy Rancheros Sauce. Vegan-adaptable.
- 4–6 extra-large poblano peppers, leave whole with stems on. (see notes)
- 6 ripe, medium tomatoes, (roma, or vine-ripened) halved
- 6 fat garlic cloves- whole
- one large onion, sliced into 1/2 inch wedges or slices
- 2 small jalapeños- halved lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Black bean FILLING:
- 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed -seasoned (see notes -Cuban Style are nice)
- 6 ounces grated Monterey jack cheese, cheddar, or Mexican queso fresco (or 1 cup vegan Herbed Tofu Ricotta )
Rancheros Sauce Additions
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional, but good)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
- 1/4–1/2 cup water or broth ( to the desired consistency)
- Please READ DIRECTIONS ALL THE WAY THROUGH
- Preheat the oven to 450F
- ROAST Poblanos and Sauce ingredients: Line two sheet pans with parchment. Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange them on the sheet pan along with sliced onions and whole garlic cloves, halved jalapeños. On the second sheet pan add the whole poblano peppers. (You can also char the peppers on a gas burner, see notes) Drizzle all with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and check after 10-15 minutes. Turn the poblanos. (If your oven runs hot, turn it down to 425 if needed.) When the garlic and poblano peppers are just tender, remove them (pasilla peppers will cook much faster than poblanos- please see notes) Otherwise, continue roasting with the tomatoes and onions for another 15-20 minutes until the peppers and onions are tender and the tomatoes are caramelized and juicy -take out of the oven (leave the oven on) and let these all cool.
- Make the filling: In a medium bowl, mix the canned beans (drained, rinsed) with the cheese. OR If going vegan, mix the beans with 1 cup of vegan herbed tofu ricotta. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. If using plain black beans, add a teaspoon of cumin and chili powder. Taste, adjusting salt, pepper and spices.
- Take ⅓ of the roasted onions, chop them up, and add them to the bean filling mixture and stir.
- Blend up the Roasted Ranchos Sauce: Place the remaining onions into a blender along with the tomatoes, pan juices, jalapeño, garlic, and Rancheros Sauce additions: cumin, coriander, chili powder, oregano, salt, tomato paste and fresh cilantro, adding a little splash of water (or broth if needed) to thin it out, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- STUFF POBLANOS: Carefully cut a slit in the poblano peppers from stem to pointy end and using your fingers, gently remove seeds while rinsing them under cold running water. If the thin skins slip off, let them, but don’t worry about actively peeling them, especially poblanos – their skins are quite thin -leaving some of the skin on is perfectly fine.
- In a 9 x 13 inch greased baking dish (or oven-proof skillet) pour a little of the roasted tomato ranchero sauce to coat the bottom (use half the sauce). Place the peppers over top of the sauce, slit side up, then spoon the black bean filling into each one. Pour the rest of the flavorful ranchero sauce over the top. At this point, you could add more shredded cheese to the top, is you want.
- Cover with foil and bake 20-25 minutes in a 425F oven- or until the filling is warm and melty, then uncover and bake 5 more minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves, toasted pumpkin seeds and sour cream if you like.
When roasting, ff you have an electric oven, or your oven runs hot, lower heat to 425F or just keep a close eye, removing things as they become tender.
PEPPERS: Get the biggest Poblano Chilies you can find. The peppers you see in the photos were abnormally large poblanos (like 8 inches long!). One pepper was one serving. If you only have smaller ones available ( like 4-inch ones) get double the amount, you may need to serve 2 as a serving. Poblanos (vs Pasilla peppers) are easiest to work with- they are sturdier! They will most likely take 30 minutes to roast while pasillas roast much quicker, so be sure to check pasillas after 10-15 minutes or they may get too soft to handle, and hard to stuff.
You can also blacken either of the peppers on a gas grill or on a stovetop gas burner (easiest), rotating with tongs until charred on all sides, then wrap up in a paper bag, or foil for 8-10 minutes to allow them to steam and soften before seeding and peeling under cool running water.
MEAT: If cooking for mixed households you can bake these individual baking dishes or even in mini cast iron skillets like you see here – which is especially nice if cooking for both vegans and meat-eaters. You can easily add browned, seasoned ground meat to some while keeping others vegan or vegetarian. If adding meat, this Mexican Turkey chorizo is nice, as well as cooked shredded Chicken Carnitas.
Make ahead: Feel free to make these ahead, assemble and refrigerate for up to 3 days before baking. ( Let them come to room temp before baking).
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 302
- Sugar: 7.9 g
- Sodium: 890 mg
- Fat: 11.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 37.9 g
- Fiber: 14.2 g
- Protein: 16.6 g
- Cholesterol: 24.5 mg
Keywords: chili relleno recipe, chili relleno chilies rellenos, healthy chili relleno, Chile relleno recipe, vegan chilies rellenos, baked chilies rellenos, chilies rellenos healthy