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Vegan Chiles en Nogada

These vegan chiles en nogada will transport you to the city of Puebla in the fall. This dish is one of the stars of Mexican cuisine, because it perfectly embodies why Mexican cuisine was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. It is painstakingly laborious, but don’t worry I have adapted it so you can make it at home in less than an hour. A roasted poblano chile is stuffed with a picadillo of pork (lentils in this version), sautéed in onion, garlic, and tomato puree with almonds, apples, olives, plantain, pear, capers, and raisins. It is bathed in a walnut cream sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.

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The earliest versions of this dish can be found in cookbooks as early as 1817, and there are several theories or legends as to where it originated. Some say that the Agustinian Recollects of the Convent of St. Monica  created the dish in honor of the emperor Agustin Iturbide who was in town and had played an important role in the recently won war for Mexican independence. The dish was meant to symbolize the three colors of the Mexican flag green, white, and red.

Another version says that three soldiers of Agustin’s regiment were returning home to Puebla after the war was won, and their girlfriends wanted to prepare a special dish for them. They each found an ingredient that represented the colors of the Mexican flag and said a prayer to our Lady of the Rosary and St. Paschal Baylon, thus chiles en nogada were born.

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Regardless of their true origin, chiles en nogada today is a very popular dish only available in the fall, since it uses completely seasonal ingredients found in Puebla. Chiles in nogada season is highly anticipated in Mexico as it is a reflection of our national pride and the celebration of Mexico’s independence which is celebrated on September 16. Mexican cuisine is deeply integrated into the history, culture, and the community identity of the Mexican people, and this dish is only one example of the beauty and richness of it all.

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The Recipe: Vegan Chiles en Nogada

You can add peach to the picadillo, but I prefer to leave it out. Traditionally the walnuts are peeled, but this takes insanely long, so instead I have just soaked them the night before. Instead of lentils you could use beefless crumbles, TVP or jackfruit. ¡Enjoy!

 

Vegan Chiles en Nogada, roasted poblano chile is stuffed with an aromatic picadillo, covered in walnut cream sauce and pomegranate seeds.
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Vegan Chiles en Nogada

Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 Servings
Author Dora S.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups lentils dry
  • ½ Onion, large
  • 2 Garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
  • 2 Large tomatoes, (see note)
  • 4 Poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeds removed

Lentil picadillo:

  • ¼ cup Water
  • ½ Onion, minced (1 cup)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Pear, diced
  • ¼ cup Apple, diced
  • ¾ cup Peeled, diced green plantain
  • ¼ cup Slivered almonds
  • 2 ½ tbsp. Raisins
  • 8 Manzanilla olives, quartered
  • 1 tbsp. Chopped capers
  • 1/4 tsp. Clove, ground
  • 1/8 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground black pepper

Sauce:

  • 1 cup Walnuts, soaked in water the night before, drained
  • 1 cup Almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup Baguette or bolillo, cut crust off, cut bread into cubes
  • 1 tsp. Sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp. White wine
  • Salt to taste

Garnish:

  • 1 Pomegranate, cut, peeled, and seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup Chopped parsley

Preparation

  1. Fill a medium pot with water and add lentils, ½ of an onion, and 2 smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, place the two tomatoes and the poblano peppers on a sheet tray. Turn your oven broiler to high and place sheet tray on the top rack of the oven. Let them cook for a couple of minutes on each side until the tomato and the chiles begin to soften and have black spots all over. Remove from heat. Place the tomates and chiles in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the lentils, reserve 1 cup of the lentil cooking liquid, and using a potato masher, mash them to break them up.
  4. Peel the poblano peppers, make 1 cut lengthwise with a knife, and remove the seeds. Set aside.
  5. Remove half of the skin off of the tomatoes, and using a blender process them into a puree. Set aside.
  6. Set a large pot to medium heat, add ¼ cup of water, and add onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes until onion begins to soften and look translucent.
  7. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
  8. Add cooked lentils, mix well, and pour in tomato puree. Let cook for 3-4 minutes or until the puree begins to bubble and change to a darker red color.
  9. Add clove, cinnamon, black pepper, plantain, apple, pear, almonds, olives, capers, and raisins. Stir mixture.
  10. Add 1 cup of the liquid you reserved from the lentils, and simmer for 20 min or until the plantain is cooke through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  11. While the picadillo is cooking, soak the cut bread in the cup of almond milk for 5 minutes.

  12. In a blender, place the soaked bread and milk, previously soaked and drained walnuts, sugar, and white wine, blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt. It should have the consistency of a cream sauce. If it is too thick, add more almond milk. Set aside.

  13. Stuff the chiles rellenos with the lentil picadillo. Place the chiles seam side down on a plate. Pour walnut sauce over them, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.

Chef's Notes

To save time you can buy pre-cooked lentils, and substitute the tomatoes with 1 cup of pureed roasted diced tomatoes (canned). Do not heat up the walnut sauce. Instead of lentils you could use TVP, beefless crumbles or jackfruit.

 

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Vegan Rajas con Crema Tacos

Rajas con crema is one of those true Mexican comfort dishes. Poblano peppers are roasted over an open flame, peeled, cut into strips, then sauted with onion, garlic, and corn. A thick, slightly sour “crema” is poured over the whole thing. It is spicy, creamy, and incredibly satisfying. Of course, the best way to eat this is in a taco. These vegan rajas con crema tacos will even impress your omnivore friends.

Vegan Rajas con Crema Tacos is one of those true Mexican comfort dishes. Poblano peppers are roasted over an open flame, peeled, cut into strips, then sauted with onion, garlic, and corn. A thick, slightly sour "crema" is poured over the whole thing. It is spicy, creamy, and incredibly satisfying

There’s something about the smell of roasting poblano peppers that evokes so many food memories and recipes. Before going to culinary school my dad had me work at his restaurant for 6 months. Let’s just say the cooks weren’t too happy to have me around. I peeled a lot of potatoes and cracked a lot of eggs. I’ll never forget the time they had me roast and peel tray after tray of poblano peppers. They of course could do it without even thinking, no gloves, quickly, one after the other. I think it took me about 3 hours to get them done, and by the end I was almost crying (or maybe I was crying) because my hands were burning. I’m sure they had a kick out of that.

Vegan Rajas con Crema Tacos is one of those true Mexican comfort dishes. Poblano peppers are roasted over an open flame, peeled, cut into strips, then sauted with onion, garlic, and corn. A thick, slightly sour "crema" is poured over the whole thing. It is spicy, creamy, and incredibly satisfying

Vegan Rajas con Crema Tacos is one of those true Mexican comfort dishes. Poblano peppers are roasted over an open flame, peeled, cut into strips, then sauted with onion, garlic, and corn. A thick, slightly sour "crema" is poured over the whole thing. It is spicy, creamy, and incredibly satisfying

Poblano chiles are readily available almost anywhere in the United States. I am even able to find them here in Hawaii! They are very versatile and can be used in soups, tacos, pasta, enchiladas, stews, and they can even be stuffed and fried. They are relatively mild on the heat scale depending on where you live. Roasting and peeling them is not complicated, as you can see in this video. This is a perfect summer dish for using up all of the sweet, tender corn at your farmer’s market. If you are staying away from nuts, you can omit the “crema” and serve with a salsa instead.

Vegan Rajas con Crema Tacos is one of those true Mexican comfort dishes. Poblano peppers are roasted over an open flame, peeled, cut into strips, then sauted with onion, garlic, and corn. A thick, slightly sour "crema" is poured over the whole thing. It is spicy, creamy, and incredibly satisfying

The heat here in Hawaii is starting to rise and ice cream, paletas, and aguas frescas have been on my mind lately. What recipes would you like to see?

https://youtu.be/f_ZuEDjgu9k

 

The Recipe: Vegan Rajas con Crema Tacos

This recipe is pretty straight forward. You can skip the roasting of the poblano peppers if you’re in a hurry, but they will not be as tender as if you had roasted them. The crema can me made without oil by substituting it with unsweetened almond milk. I use the almonds with the peel on because I prefer the flavor, but if you are looking for a really white crema, you can use blanched almonds instead. Enjoy!

Vegan Rajas con Crema Tacos is one of those true Mexican comfort dishes. Poblano peppers are roasted over an open flame, peeled, cut into strips, then sauted with onion, garlic, and corn. A thick, slightly sour "crema" is poured over the whole thing. It is spicy, creamy, and incredibly satisfying
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Vegan Rajas con Crema Tacos

Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 5 Poblano peppers,roasted, peeled, seeded, cut into strips
  • 1/4 Water
  • 1 Onion, white, large, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 ears Corn, kernels sliced off
  • ½ cup Vegetable stock or broth

Crema:

  • ½ cup Almonds, raw
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • ¾ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice fresh

Preparation

To make the filling:

  1. Heat a large sauté pan to medium heat, add water. Add the onion and sweat for 2-3 minutes or until it is tender and translucent.

  2. Add corn, garlic, and ½ cup of vegetable stock, cover and let steam until corn is tender, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Add the poblano peppers and let cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Almond Crema:

  1. Place the almonds, garlic, water,almond milk, and lemon juice in the blender and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the almond crema over the cooled filling and mix well.

  2. Serve with warm corn tortillas.

Chef's Notes

To save time you can skip the roasting and peeling of the poblanos, but they will not be as tender or flavorful.
* You can substitute the oil in the crema with unsweetened almond milk with the same results.

Here are some other delicious taco recipes you can try as well:

25 Vegan Tacos for 5 de Mayo

Chickpea and Spinach Tacos

Spicy Zucchini Black Bean Tacos

Carrot and Sweet Potato Tinga Tacos

Potato and Chorizo Tacos

 

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Espagueti Verde Recipe – Vegan

I thought we could start off this new chapter of Dora’s Table with this vegan poblano cream sauce pasta, which is a modification of an espagueti verde recipe. My family usually makes it for Christmas, along with turkey, tamales, pozole, and buñuelos. This of course, is the dairy free version.

Where have I been in the last month? Where do I even begin? First of all, welcome to the new Dora’s Table. We have made a full transition to vegan Mexican recipes. However, you will still be able to find some of the vegan recipes published in the last 3 years that are not necessarily Mexican. Be patient with me while I’m figuring out all the kinks of running a self-hosted blog. All feedback and comments are appreciated.

This vegan espagueti verde recipe is creamy, spicy and rich. It is perfect for those craving a decadent sauce without all the added fat.

In other news, we have moved back to CA! It has been a crazy month, you can’t even imagine. We are all settled in now and I’m ready to get back to blogging. Our little baby Karina is growing like crazy and Dylan is pretty happy about kindergarten, and so is this mama. We love it here. We always did. I’m also getting excited about cooking all over again with the wide array of ingredients available here. It’s funny how quickly you can take things for granted. They are so many farms in CA and fresh produce is readily available. This differs greatly with the rest of the country.  Read more