Get my newest recipe via email:

Chiles Rellenos with Chickpeas

Green, white and red. Is it a coincidence that the colors of our southern neighbor’s national flag appear frequently in Mexico’s cuisine? How about salsa cruda, the one we dip with tortilla chips, with its red tomato, white onion and green cilantro? These green chiles rellenos with chickpeas certainly follow the idea, with their white crema stripe and red dice garnish. Mexican food’s red white and green makes me a happy bandita. Are you with me?

Chile Rellenos with Chickpeas | Letty's Kitchen

Relleno (ray-yay-no) means filled. If the menu offers chiles rellenos, it’s a given that the chiles are stuffed with something. It could be a slice of cheese or spicy meat, or sautéed vegetables, potatoes or beans–whatever you put inside, it’s chile relleno.

poblano chiles for Chile Rellenos with Chickpeas | Letty's Kitchen

Restaurant cheese rellenos are most often dipped in egg batter, and then fried in a decent amount of oil. I love those rellenos, all oozy with melting cheese, but the calories that come along with the fry part—not so much.

stuffed poblano chiles for Chile Rellenos with Chickpeas | Letty's Kitchen

These rellenos, chiles filled with tender chickpeas, carrots, onions, cumin, and oregano, and melty cheese, are a good-for-you combo, a downright healthy dish. Not what you might expect for stuffed chiles.

Dark green poblano chiles, with their long, triangular shape, are the best choice for this recipe. Hatch/Anaheim chiles are good substitutes, though they won’t hold as much filling. The larger poblanos do have an thicker skin–before being filled they need to be charred and steamed, for a smoky quality and to make them easy to peel.

blistered poblano chile for Chile Rellenos with Chickpeas | Letty's Kitchen

Roast, char and blister–the fastest and (I think) easiest way is on a grill. Stovetop flames and oven broilers also work to blister the skin from the chile. When the chiles are well blistered, place them in a covered pan to steam.

Chile innards hold most of the picante heat, so take out the seeds to keep the temperature down. The smoky, earthy essence sparks, but doesn’t burn. Robbie thinks they need more spice–when I’m not looking, he drizzles hot sauce over the top.

Green, white and red. Chiles rellenos with chickpeas honor the Mexican Flag. And they’re so yummy you’ll be purring, “These are really good.” Because they are.

dia de la bandera, red, white, and green Chile Rellenos with Chickpeas | Letty's Kitchen

Chiles Rellenos with Chickpeas kitchen notes:

  • Mexican crema is sold at Latino markets and many supermarkets. Crema resembles a thin sour cream, which is a decent substitute.
  • Serrano chile’s fresh distinctive taste adds an important flavor layer to the filling. Serranos are the lighter green chiles about the size of your pinky finger.
  • Thank you Barbara Pool Fenzel for your bean-filled chile recipe that inspired this variation. Barbara’s beautiful cookbook, Seasonal Southwest Cooking includes a recipe for pinto bean chiles rellenos.

Thanks for reading. Get the latest recipe posts by email—subscribe here.

Are you following me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest?

PS If you make this recipe and love it, please consider leaving a blog post comment. Your comments help other readers learn more about the recipe.

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase products via my links, it doesn’t cost you anything and I earn a tiny commission, which helps me continue to provide free content here on Letty’s Kitchen. Thank you!!

0 from 0 votes
Chile Rellenos with Chickpeas | Letty's Kitchen
Chiles Rellenos with Chickpeas
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
45 mins

Chiles filled with chickpeas and vegetables--a healtier chile relleno.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4 servings
  • 4 fresh poblano or Anaheim chiles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion , cut in ½-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 serrano chile , seeds and veins mostly removed, minced
  • 1 carrot , cut in ¼-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ cups garbanzo beans (1 (15-ounce can) drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or beer
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ red bell pepper , cut in ¼-inch dice
  • Crema , sour cream or whole milk plain yogurt
  1. Char the chiles until the skins are blistered all over. To loosen the skin and be able to peel it skin away easily, place freshly blistered chiles in a covered bowl or a plastic bag. Set aside and let the chiles “steam” for about 10 minutes. Gently peel away the loosened skin.
  2. Slice a slit down the center of each chile. Cut away the bulk of the seeds near the stem, aiming to keep the stem as intact, mostly for show. Set the prepared chiles aside on a plate.
  3. In a medium skillet heat the olive oil. Add the onion, serrano chile, carrots, and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent. Stir in the chickpeas, cumin and oregano. Using the back of a fork or a potato masher, mash the beans with the broth in the skillet to heat through. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and salt. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Fill the chiles with the bean mixture. (You may have some left depending on the size of the chiles.)
  5. Place them in a casserole dish, seam side down.
  6. Bake about 20 minutes, until the rellenos are heated through.
  7. If you wish, sauté the diced red pepper in a bit of oil. Otherwise leave them raw—they are there for color and garnish.
  8. To serve: Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the crema into the corner of a small plastic sandwich bag. Cut a tiny hole in the corner. Squeeze the bag with gentle pressure to draw the white stripes over the chiles. Sprinkle with diced red pepper.
  9. Serve with tortillas or steamed rice.
Recipe Notes

Mexican crema is sold at Latino markets and many supermarkets. Crema resembles a thin sour cream, which is a decent substitute. Serrano chile’s fresh distinctive taste adds an important flavor layer to the filling. Serranos are the lighter green chiles about the size of your pinky finger.


  • Teri Thomas

    I’m enjoying these personalized Mexican recipes from Mexico so much that I encourage you (and yours) to spend a couple months in southern France during kiting season. Reply · 27 February, 2014

    • Letty

      Good idea! Reply · 27 February, 2014

  • Wow! I love the sound of these. Hopefully, I will love the TASTE of these really soon. Thank you Letty, for yet again, another fabulous recipe. I hope your time in Baja has been wonderful. xo Reply · 27 February, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks for the comment. They definitely are tasty! Reply · 27 February, 2014

  • My mouth is watering reading the recipe and looking that stunning presentation! Thanks, Letty. Reply · 27 February, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Caron. Nice to hear from you. Reply · 27 February, 2014

  • Love this! I am writing a post for this week with stuffed poblanos as well. What a coincidence. Reply · 27 February, 2014

    • Letty

      Looking forward to seeing what your relleno is…. Reply · 27 February, 2014

  • They look delicious! Reply · 1 March, 2014



  • I live in Los Angeles and have eaten many a beautiful rellanos. But I’ve never felt as inspired to make my own as when I see yours. I think its the chickpeas. GREG Reply · 3 March, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Greg. What’s your favorite relleno–besides cheese and of course these chickpeas? I love potato stuffed poblanos too! Reply · 4 March, 2014

  • […] depth of flavor, each chile adding its own layer. Raisin-y smokiness comes from the larger, milder poblano chile that I toasted and blistered on the stove top. It blistered as evenly as on a grill, definitely […] Reply · 10 March, 2014

  • […] at the stove, or at the computer wishing things would work? Not me. Between granola stirrings, I char-roasted poblano chiles, whipped up a batch of green salsa, and steeped hibiscus flowers for this Valentine cocktail. Talk […] Reply · 9 February, 2015

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.