This is simple comfort food. It is the epitome of un-fussy deliciousness. Lately, I’ve been struggling with the idea of eating meat. As someone who works in food, not eating meat ever is difficult to maintain. My goal here is always to provide healthier versions of comfort food. Sometimes it includes meat, and sometimes it doesn’t. The truth of the matter is, if I could afford to eat really great quality, humanely raised meat products, I absolutely would. But that’s not sustainable for me. But I see this as a challenge to simply try more interesting ways to cook vegetables, and to focus on ingredients that will nourish me.
Sadly, attaining quality food products isn’t always attainable for everyone, and even more so during these uncertain times. I just want to encourage you, whoever you are, whatever income level you are, to cook for yourself as best you can. I think putting labels on what’s “good” and “bad” alienates so many people. If I’ve learned anything during this time, it’s that we are all doing the best we can with what we have. My goal here remains the same. I want to just encourage you to challenge yourself in the kitchen. If you are able to, try cooking with a new ingredient! If you only have a few pantry items, maybe you can have fun throwing something together or making some amazing substitutions. This is an absolutely judgement free zone. I want you to cook at home more often. That is all. This crisis is finally making cooks out of us.
When I came up with these Cheesy Stuffed Poblano Peppers I wanted to put together a really simple feel-good vegetarian dinner. I realized when I was making this how I put cumin in almost everything. It’s by far my favorite spice, and the lovable thing about it is that it’s found in so many different cuisines–Moroccan, Mexican, and Indian, to name a few. But it’s a true workhorse in the kitchen. It brings out the most beautiful flavors in everything. I also love using poblanos for stuffed peppers rather than the traditional bell pepper. They have a gorgeous flavor and a hint of spiciness. They’re not quite jalapeno spicy, but you’ll get a nice kick, so don’t over-spice your filling.
If you have another type of cheese for topping like Cotija or Feta, by all means try it out! I just wanted that cheesy casserole feel. It’s real feel-good food. Let me know what you think! See the full recipe below.
- 8 poblano peppers
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- half of a yellow onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp hot mexican chili powder or other chili powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp kosher salt (diamond crystal)
- 1½ cups basmati or other long grain rice
- 2¼ cups vegetable broth
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro leaves
- juice of 1 lime
- ⅔ cup salsa verde (I like Herdez brand)
- 1½ cups shredded mexican cheese or crumbled cotija cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a dutch oven or large skillet with a lid, add 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to brown at the edges. Add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, and kosher salt. Cook, stirring continuously for one minute. Add the rice, and cook stirring continuously for two minutes. Add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Add the cilantro and lime and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Halve the peppers, and remove the stems and seeds with a spoon. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over one large baking sheet or two 9x13 baking dishes. Add the peppers, cut side up, and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake these for 10-15 minutes. Remove the peppers to cool for 5 minutes.
- Spoon the rice mixture into each pepper half until each is full and place them back in their baking dishes. Drizzle a spoonful of salsa verde on each pepper. Top each with a sprinkle of cheese. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the peppers are tender. Let cool slightly before serving.