These baked poblano chiles rellenos are a healthier take on the classic Mexican dish! With a creamy filling, and baked instead of fried, this recipe will satisfy your Mexican craving without slowing you down!

Overhead image of stuffed poblano peppers on white plates set on a gray background with salsa in a bowl off to the side

If you’ve had chiles rellenos before, you probably know they aren’t the healthiest choice on a cantina’s menu. Often stuffed with cheese and meat, then fried, they’re certainly categorized as comfort food.

This lighter version packs roasted poblano chiles with a mixture of lean turkey (or chicken), black beans, crunchy jicama, spices, and a touch of cashew cream. Then a sprinkle of shredded cheese, a quick broil, and a dose of roasted salsa verde creates a satisfying meal you can feel good about.

Close up image of a stuffed chile relleno on a white plate with a fork scooping up filling

How to make poblano chiles rellenos

This healthier version of chiles rellenos is easy to make, ready in 30 minutes, and it sure to satisfy! Here is how to make them:

  1. roast poblanos under broiler.
  2. transfer roasted poblanos to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and steam.
  3. cook turkey, onion, and spices until turkey is browned.
  4. Add jicama, beans and serrano to turkey mixture and briefly cook.
  5. Remove turkey mixture from heat and add lime juice, cilantro and cashew cream.
  6. peel poblanos, halve lengthwise and remove seeds.
  7. Stuff poblanos with turkey mixture.
  8. Top poblanos with cheese and broil until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
Overhead image of chiles relleno ingredients arranged on a gray table

Using cashew cream (and alternatives)

Let’s take a moment to thank cashew cream for everything that it is. I’m serious, if you haven’t had it before, well…I’VE BEEN THERE. And I was blind. And I can see clearly now.

Instead of sour cream or cottage cheese, I use cashew cream in these chiles rellenos. Why? It adds a wonderful nutty flavor and is a healthier option. However, you can definitely use sour cream or cottage cheese if you prefer.

Since the Chiles Rellenos don’t use all of the cashew cream from this recipe, check out this list for a few more ways to cook with it in your kitchen.

Image of stuffed poblano chiles on white place with a platter of chiles in the background and some salsa off to the side

How to make vegetarian poblano chiles rellenos

Just a simple swap can easily turn these turkey- and veggie-stuffed chiles into a satisfying vegetarian entrée.

To make these poblano chiles rellenos vegetarian, swap out the ground turkey for extra firm tofu or additional black beans and some added cooked rice.

If you opt for the tofu route, be sure to press the tofu between a few layers of paper towels for 15 minutes or so before using. This will draw out excess moisture and ensure you have a creamy, not soggy, filling.

If you’d rather just add additional beans I recommend using 1 whole can (14.5 ounces) black beans, increasing the jicama to 1 cup, and adding 1 cup cooked brown rice.

image of stuffed poblano peppers on white plates set on a gray background with salsa in a bowl off to the side

What to serve poblano chiles rellenos with

Revamp the leftovers

Got leftovers? Scoop the filling out of the poblanos and cut the poblanos into 1-inch pieces. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-low, add relleno filling and diced poblanos. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Scoop reheated filling and poblanos into street taco corn or flour tortillas. Top with shredded cheese, salsa verde and cashew cream (or sour cream or Greek yogurt).

image of stuffed poblano peppers on white plates set on a gray background with salsa in a bowl off to the side

Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make these baked Poblano Chiles Rellenos.

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can click the button on any of the photos, or the red button on the side bar or below the recipe. Happy cooking!

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image of stuffed poblano peppers on white plates set on a gray background with salsa in a bowl off to the side

Healthy Chiles Rellenos

  • Author: Lauren Grant of Zestful Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 stuffed poblanos 1x
  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Oven/Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

A lighter and healthier version of a Mexican classic. Broiled instead of fried, these rellenos are filled with a creamy turkey and veggie filling and finished with a melted cheesy top.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 poblano chiles
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces lean ground turkey breast
  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup diced jicama
  • ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon seeded and minced serrano or jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup cashew cream (or sour cream or large-curd cottage cheese)
  • ½ cup shredded Chihuahua cheese or Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions

Heat broiler to high with rack set 6 inches from element.

Roast poblanos until charred on all sides, about 8 minutes, rotating every few minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add turkey, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Cook until turkey is browned, about 5 minutes.

Add jicama, black beans, and serrano and cook another 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in lime juice, cilantro, and ½ cup cashew cream.

Peel skin from chiles and cut a slit, lengthwise, down one side of each chile and remove seeds.

Heat broiler to high, with rack set 6 inches from element.

Stuff chiles with turkey mixture, top with cheese and broil until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown, 1–2 minutes.

Serve chiles rellenos with additional cashew cream and salsa verde.


Notes

Sour cream or large-curd cottage cheese can be swapped for the cashew cream.

Keywords: Baked chiles rellenos, Poblano chile rellenos

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This post was originally posted on January 26, 2017.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. Can totally understand that feeling of being lost especially at the beginning of the year. Guess we just hang in there and things start to fall back in place. I absolutely love to eat stuffed deep fried poblanos! So I am feeling excited about this healthier version. The filling sounds delicious and your pics are drool-worthy!

    1. Thanks Jenny! Sometimes you just need the deep fried version, but this way we can enjoy the flavors more often! 🙂

  2. This cashew cream is a whole new concept to me, but MAN does it look like a great one. These look so good and packed with flavor… definitely need to give them a shot!

    1. Thanks Karly! It was for me too, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make the effort to whip it up, but it really takes no effort at all. So glad I tried it, it’s wonderful is so many different recipes!

  3. What an awesome recipe! I am trying really hard to eat better this year and the ground turkey and peppers is a perfect dinner for me. Thank you!!!

  4. We made these last night and… oh my god they were absolutely delicious. Seriously. So. Good. Will be one of our go-to recipes from now on!