Healthy Chili Relleno

I am proud to be Mexican and I never want to forget my roots, but the food I was raised on wasn’t always 100% healthy. My grandma would make refried beans with lard, Mexican rice made with white rice, and lots of cheese or crema with everything.

In order to stay true to my roots I have learned to modify some of the not-so-healthy meals. I’ve experimented and substituted healthier foods in my recipes: plain nonfat greek yogurt instead of crema and quinoa for my Mexican rice. I have the best of both worlds!


I love chili rellenos, I mean who doesn’t? But, the amount of cheese in one poblano pepper is way more than you need in one sitting. Anyone can make a chili relleno, but to make it healthy and taste bomb is pretty awesome.

Healthy Chili Relleno

1 small butternut squash, roasted
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/4 cup broth
4 poblano peppers
1 serrano pepper
1 cup corn
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped onion
Handful of shredded Pepper Jack cheese (per pepper)

Directions: Peel the butternut squash then cut into small bite sized cubes. In a large bowl combine squash, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. On an oiled baking sheet bake at 400*F for 30 mins tossing halfway through. Once roasted, set aside.

Bring 1 1/4 cup broth (homemade or low sodium) to a boil and combine with 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa. Lower the heat, cover, and allow to cook for 15-20mins or until the water is evaporated and you are left with fluffy quinoa.

Spray each poblano pepper with a small amount of olive oil and then broil  for 4-5 minutes on each side (watch closely they will burn quickly). Once the skin is slightly burnt and blistered transfer to a plastic bag, tie it, and allow them to sweat for 10 mins or so. Take the peppers out and allow them to cool before peeling off the transparent skin. Then cut one slit down the pepper and remove the seeds from inside (the more seeds you leave the spicier it will be).

Combine all ingredients (except cheese) into a large bowl, toss, and then fill peppers with mixture. Top with a handful of cheese and bake for 5 min at 350*F until cheese melts. Serves 4.

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Maria @ Island Living Midwest

I can so relate to your grandma story. I am Puerto Rican and my grandma loved using lard. As an young adult and after I would always say “abuela, we need to talk about substitutions”. lol. How she made it to 88 and still kicking, I don’t know. And these chiles rellenos look so yummy.


Yes!! I seriously don’t understand how my grandma is so strong and healthy with all the lard she has used over the years! These chili rellenos are amazing, even without all the extra stuff! xoxo


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