Vegan White Bean Chile Relleno

After one bite of the chile-relleno from Nick’s, we were ready to move next door. This baked chile-rellenos was the best we’d ever had. We’d eaten dozens of deep-fried versions before. This dish was so good we had to post a plant-based version!

Our 10-ingredient is also equally satisfying (cue cartwheels). A creamy white bean vegetable stuffing nestled in smoky enchilada peppers, topped with a red sauce, and a cashew cream laced with garlic. You want it. Let’s cook dinner!

What is Chile Relleno

Chile Relleno translates to Spanish as “stuffed chile.” There are many variations, but the dish is often stuffed either with cheese or meat and then battered and fried.

Both the dish and peppers are believed to have originated from Puebla in Mexico. Popular peppers include New Mexico, Pasilla, and even Jalapeno.

This is a vegan version of the original, baked instead.

How to Make Vegan Chile Releno

The vegan chile-relleno begins with broiling the poblano chilies until they are blistered and soft.

Next, you’ll need to make the vegetable filling. The sweet and aromatic base is made of sauteed onions and garlic, while white beans and corn provide additional sweetness and fiber.

The red enchilada paste provides the main flavoring for the filling. It also adds some liquid to soften the poblanos. The addition of smoked paprika or cayenne pepper is optional but will intensify the smoky and spicy notes. Baby spinach is the final filling to give it a brighter color and increase your greens intake.

To mimic the creamy texture of the classic dish, we make a quick Cashew Cream Sauce using cashews, garlic, and salt. Some are added to the filling, and others on top. IIt’scheesy all over!



3 medium poblano peppers

Olive oil, plus more to coat peppers

Half a large yellow onion diced (one onion yields approximately 141 g or 1 1/4 cups chopped)

Two cloves garlic, minced

Half a teaspoon of sea salt

If your enchilada isn’t very flavorful, add 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika.

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1 (15 oz.) Cannellini beans or 1 1/2 cups of homemade white beans.

White corn, 1 cup frozen

1 cup red enchilada sauce (DIVIDED // we like Siete or homemade)

1 cup packed baby spinach (or bunched spinach, chopped)


1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup water (for mixing)

Peeled one clove of garlic

1/4 teaspoon sea salt


SOAK CASHEWS – Add the cashews to a heatproof dish and cover them with hot water. Cover with at least 1-2″ of water. While you work on the peppers, let them soak.

PEPPERS: Pre-heat your oven on high broil. Place a rack in the upper part of your oven. Leave just enough space for your baking tray to fit.

Trim the stems of your poblano and brush lightly with oil. Place them on a cookie sheet. Broil them on high for 2-3 mins on each side or until they are lightly blistered. Cover the skin with parchment paper, a plate, or another surface to soften it. Turn off the broil function and heat up to 400 degrees F.

Filling: Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions start to appear translucent. Add the optional smoked cayenne, optional paprika, and 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Stir, and cook another minute. Add the corn, beans, 1/4 cup enchilada (adjust as needed if you are changing the batch size), and baby spinach. Cook for 4-5 mins, stirring every so often. Turn off the stove and put aside.

CASHEW SAUCE: In a high-speed blender, add the soaked cashews. Add water, garlic, and 1/4 tsp of sea salt. Blend until creamy and smooth.

Add approximately 1/3 cup of cashew cream (adjust as necessary if you are changing the batch size). Stir well to distribute evenly.

Peel off the skin of the peppers once they are cool enough to touch. You don’t have to remove all of it, only any parts that easily come off. Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers by cutting a lengthwise slit with a paring blade.

Add 1/4 cup enchilada (adjust the amount if you are changing the batch size) at the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking dish. On top of the sauce, place the peppers with stems. Divide the filling equally between the peppers and fold over the sides. Pour 1/2 cup enchilada (adjust as needed if you are changing the batch size) on top of the peppers, and drizzle generously with the cashew cream. Any extra cream sauce can be reserved for serving. Bake the dish for 20-25 minutes until the sauce bubbles and the chiles soften.

Serve with cashew cream (optional) and serve warm. This dish pairs well with any rice, whether it’s white or brown or Spanish or Mexican style.

Keep leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to five days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or oven.

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