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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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Apricot Amaranth Granola (oil-free)

School has started and I now have several hours to myself, and I have to tell you it is great. I will be enjoying this as much as I can since it will only last until I can find a job that fits our schedule. I do miss my little guy though. There is only one downside to all of this, waking up at 6:00am. Nobody should have to wake up at 6 am, nobody I say!

This recipe for apricot amaranth granola is completely oil free. It is delicious, satisfying and perfect for breakfast.

This recipe for apricot amaranth granola is completely oil free. It is delicious, satisfying and perfect for breakfast.

Other that, I’m really enjoying taking care of all the boring stuff while the munchkin is at school, this way I don’t have to drag him to the grocery store or put on the TV while I make dinner. It is surprisingly freeing to be able to just play with him when he gets home instead of worrying about dishes, laundry, cooking dinner, or working on the blog.

This recipe for apricot amaranth granola is completely oil free. It is delicious, satisfying and perfect for breakfast.

This recipe for apricot amaranth granola is completely oil free. It is delicious, satisfying and perfect for breakfast.

That being said, I have been cooking up a storm. Just this week I made blueberry pie, hummus, chiles rellenos, ratatouille w/grits, banana ice cream, and granola. I never buy granola, because I could probably eat the whole box in one day. The good news is granola is super easy to make at home without all the additives, preservatives, and oil found in commercial granola.

This recipe for apricot amaranth granola is completely oil free. It is delicious, satisfying and perfect for breakfast.

The Recipe: Apricot Amaranth Granola

Rolled oats. almonds, walnuts, puffed amaranth, hemp seeds, cinnamon, brown sugar, and apricots tossed with apple sauce and peanut butter and toasted until golden brown. Delicious, satisfying and perfect for breakfast. Enjoy!

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Apricot Amaranth Granola

Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 cup Almonds, raw, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts, raw, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Amaranth, popped
  • 1 tbsp, Hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar, brown
  • 1/4 cup Apricots, dried, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Honey*
  • 2 tbsp, Apple sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Almond butter

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. In a large bowl combine oats, almonds, walnuts, amaranth, hemp seeds, cinnamon, brown sugar, and apricots.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the honey, apple sauce, and almond butter.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix by hand.
  5. Place mixture on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or a silpat.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Stir granola after 10 minutes in the oven.

Chef's Notes

For a vegan option you can substitute the honey for maple syrup or agave nectar.