Cooking Together

‘Cooking Together’: Low-Fat, Gluten-Free Stuffed Chile Relleno

Low fat, gluten free, stuffed Chile Relleno                            

By Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff 

I love Chile rellenos, but I cannot digest the fat they are usually cooked with. And they are often filled with cheese, which my husband cannot tolerate. So, he created this quick to prepare, low fat and cheese-free version. The recipe does contain eggs and uses a lot of vegetables in stuffing the chiles. 

In the traditional method of preparing Chile relleno, first the poblano peppers are roasted and then stuffed with meat, cheese or beans, or all three. Next, the stuffed peppers are dipped into an egg and flour batter and fried in lots of oil, producing a substantial entrée.  The version presented here takes less time to make, uses less fat and still makes a satisfying dish that can be called a large plate. 

This dish can be embellished with more vegetables and cooked grains. The prominent and nutritious ingredients in the present recipe are the eggs and chiles. Eggs are so complete and efficient in their protein status that they are often used to compare protein profile of other foods. One egg contains 75 calories and provides 7 grams of protein, and many important vitamins and minerals, such as iron. A large poblano pepper contains 2 grams of protein and is a rich source of vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Research shows that these peppers may help in fighting cancer and inflammation.  


2 large or 3 medium-size poblano peppers (Anaheim peppers can be substituted)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup scallions (with most of their greens) or shallots, minced

½ cup thin strips of red or yellow bell pepper

1 cup tomatoes cut into small pieces 

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

1 to 2 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper (seeds removed), optional 

½ cup carrots cut into small cubes

½ cup zucchini, cut into small cubes

½ cup corn kernels from fresh corn or frozen and thawed

½ cup fresh (or frozen and thawed) peas or green beans cut into very small pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder  

6 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste 

First, roast the peppers by holding them directly over a gas burner set on a medium range.  Holding each pepper by tongs, roast it while turning so that skin of the pepper is charred all over.  You can do two peppers at a time if you can coordinate turning them. When the paper-like membrane is all charred, the peppers are roasted. Wrap the roasted peppers with a kitchen towel for a few minutes, to steam and cool. Set them aside while attending the next step.  

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the scallion or shallot and bell pepper. Stir fry them for a few minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and sauté the ingredients together with a wooden spoon, while mashing the tomatoes. Add the cilantro and jalapeno pepper and stir fry for an additional minute or so. Then add the rest of the vegetables from the ingredients list. Add salt and chili powder. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook the vegetables together for five minutes, checking to see if they are not too dry. Set them aside. 

In a large bowl, mix the eggs with a wire whisk. Make sure that the egg white and yellow are complexly mixed.  Add the salt and pepper to taste. Also, add a few spoonsful of water if needed to make a smooth scrambled egg mixture.  

Next, return to poblanos. Remove their skins by peeling them off under cool running water using your fingers – they come off easily. Wipe off the charred bits of the peppers with paper towels. Then, carefully, using a small knife, put a long vertical slash in the middle of each pepper, going from near the tip to the top next to the stem. Then, using a small spoon, remove all the seeds. Carefully, spoon enough stuffing into each pepper so that they are full, but not falling apart. Set the stuffed pepper on a platter. 

Photos by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff.

Next, lightly oil a non-stick pan and pour the scrambled egg mixture in gently. Place the stuffed peppers in the middle as shown in photo and place a well-fitting lid on top so as to gently steam and cook the eggs. Turn the burner to a low to moderate flame and cook the egg and pepper mixture covered for 10 to 15 minutes, as you would for a stove-top frittata. Check after 10 minutes or so, to see how the eggs are setting. The goal is to cook the eggs just enough to firm up but also be able to take out off the pan with the peppers without breaking. Do not overcook. With a spatula, carefully remove the eggs and pepper combo and place onto a serving platter. If the eggs and/or peppers break in this transfer process, don’t worry. 

Serve one large pepper with half the eggs to one person. This would be considered a large plate and will make a good dinner with a salad or soup. Or, you can make four small servings by cutting each of the pepper into half (through the horizontal center) and dividing the cooked eggs into four portions. Serve these small plates with a salad. 


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