Sometimes the heart wants what it wants, and it just so happens that this heart wants chiles rellenos. Are vegan chiles rellenos even possible? Yes they are my friends! At first I was doubtful, I wasn’t sure of this was going to work, but after a couple of tries, the result was truly fantastic! They are crispy, melty, and spicy. Everything a chile relleno should be.
I just want to be crystal clear and honest with you, and tell you that they are not healthy. They are fried in oil, lots of it! However, they are still 100% vegan. A couple of weeks ago I told you that I was trying to drop oil from my diet, and I am still trying (very unsuccessfully). How weird is it that I had an easier time giving up dairy? Like I said before though, sometimes there are special occasions and moments in our lives that call for a special dish and nothing else will do except a chile relleno. However, if you are looking for a healthy option you can try this chile relleno stuffed with quinoa, zucchini, and corn that is topped with a chipotle cream sauce.
The Recipe: Vegan Chiles Rellenos
For this version I have stuffed the chiles with two types of cheeses. I am not a fan of the processed vegan cheeses, but I thought I would go a little bit out of my comfort zone and try to use the Follow Your Heart monterey jack to stuff one of the chiles. The other one is stuffed with my macadamia nut queso fresco. Both of the cheeses worked very well with the dish. The Follow Your Heart cheese is very much like a traditional cheese, you can grate it, slice it, and melt it. However it did not melt during the frying process, so after I removed the chile from the oil I put it in the microwave for a couple of seconds to melt the cheese. The macadamia nut cheese behaves like a queso fresco, you can spread it but not melt it. I think it worked very well in the chiles rellenos. My favorite was the one made with the macadamia nut cheese, but be sure to try both and let me know which one is your favorite. Enjoy!
Once your poblano chiles are roasted and peeled, using a knife, make a vertical cut from the stem to the tip of the chile.
Fill with your favorite vegan cheese, close the chile, and secure with toothpicks. Set aside.
To make the sauce: Place the tomatoes, garlic, and onion in the blender and process until smooth.
Heat a medium sauce pot to medium heat and add the tomato sauce. Simmer for 7 – 10 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
To make the batter: combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Pour in soda water and whisk until combined.
Heat two inches of oil in a high sided pan to 360°F. Dip each chile into the batter, letting excess drip off, then place in oil and fry until golden, about 5 minutes on each side.
Remove the chiles and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Serve the chile on top of a plate of the tomato sauce
This recipe was tested with two vegan cheeses. The first one Follow Your Heart monterey jack. This cheese behaves very much like traditional cheese, you can grate it and stuff it into your chiles. It did not melt during the frying process so after I finished frying the chile I put it in the microwave for a couple of seconds to get it to melt. The second cheese is my macadamia nut queso fresco, which doesn’t melt, but behaves very much like a fresh farmer’s cheese. Both cheeses gave good results.