When I was a kid in the early ’80s, my parents used to take my brother and me to a Mexican restaurant in Kansas City called Manny’s. This restaurant helped form my palate as a child, with rich spices, flavorful and savory foods. It’s on my bucket list next time I go home! First, though, I always call ahead and speak with the chef about vegan options. It’s easier for everyone when a restaurant has a heads-up. You’re also guaranteed a much better dish when they’ve had a minute to think.
Fortunately, back then, my dad spoke pretty good Spanish, so we could successfully order! I think now they have English speaking service, but back then…! I’m pretty confident my love for Mexican food comes from these early memories. One of my favorite dishes was the Chili Relleno. I loved them. This recipe isn’t quite that, mainly because Relleno’s are stuffed with gooey cheese, beef, and then deep-fried.
Thankfully, the world of plant-based meats has come a long way, baby. The options are endless these days, and most of them are good. They are also very expensive and can easily be replaced with our good friend, the mushroom! Back in the ’90s, I would have used Texturized Vegetable Protein, or TVP, or in my early vegetarian life. TVP is easy to use, loves to absorb flavor, and is super inexpensive. Today, I would prefer to use the mighty minced fungi.
Happy Summer to all of you! Nos vemos pronto. Cuídate!
- 4–6 poblano peppers slices in half length wise (remove seeds and ribs)
- 2 tbsp of olive oil, or 1/4 cup water if no oil
- 1 (12 oz.) package of plant-based sausage, or (12 oz) of minced cremini mushrooms
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 roasted red pepper, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¾ cup cooked rice, quinoa, or amaranth
- ½ cup of fresh/frozen corn kernels
- 1 (4 oz.) can of diced green chilies
- 1 cup of Queso Blanco, or other vegan cheese of choice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease, or line, a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange halved poblano peppers in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When ready, add oil and when oil is shimmering, add the sausage or mushrooms, onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until sausage is cooked through, use a spoon or spatula to break up sausage as it cooks.
- Add the spices and grain of choice to the pan, and stir well. Next, add red peppers and green chilies, mix well. Finally, add the black beans and corn, stir. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until sauce has reduced a bit. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Spoon mixture into the peppers, drizzle with queso, and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted. Allow peppers to cool slightly before serving. Serve with minced cilantro and salsa.