So, someone somewhere at some point in time decided to go all crazy and call poblano peppers “pasillas.” I’m not really quite sure why. The problem seems to be most abundant here in California, though I’ve heard reports of this mistake being made elsewhere. So if you’re wondering why I’m calling these things pasillas, that’s why. It’s just the way of things ’round here. Which is odd to say, because helloooo! It’s California! We’re practically an extension of Mexico – at least we were until the 1850s.
Regardless, hello Mexican food! Not the kind wrapped in a giant flour tortilla filled with mostly cheese and beans, but a healthified and more true-to-the-roots Mexican food than most things you find north of the border. Just to clarify, burritos (which I comically realized the other day means “little donkey”) do not exist in Mexico. Not south of Tijuana, at least. They are an American invention – and a tasty one at that. But in Mexico? It’s all about the tacos.
I’ve been pretty obsessed with Mexican food for just about as long as I can remember, just as any good southern Californian should be. While most places are lucky to have one good Mexican food place in town (I mean real lucky), tiny hole-in-the-wall taco shops and more Americanized but still amazingly tasty Mexicali restaurants are abundant in the lower latitudes of the state. The north is not quite so lucky.
But hey now. Let’s not go right ahead and pretend that these stuffed peppers are all authentic and stuff. Because they are not at all. But! They’re rooted in authentic food, with a bit of new ingredients to change it up. Garbanzo beans replace what would most likely be pintos or black beans in traditional fare, and quinoa replaces the rice. But the bell peppers, serrano, and corn? Totally part of the routine. Whether or not they mixed all these ingredients together and shoved them inside a pepper I have no idea. What I DO know is that these are dang tasty, and easy to boot.
While you cook the quinoa (which can also be done ahead of time) you can chop the rest of the veggies and prep the peppers. Stuff the mix inside, drizzle with the best enchilada sauce you can find, arrange in a cast iron skillet, and set ’em on the grill at 350F for about 25 minutes. Ta-da! Easy peasy. The nice thing is that you can forget about them as they cook – no tossing and turning or anything silly like that. Just check the temp every now and then and you’re good. These can easily be made on a weeknight in under an hour, and your family will love you for the little (albeit not totally authentic) taste of Mexico!
Grilled Stuffed Pasilla Peppers
Grilled pasilla (or poblano) peppers stuffed with garbanzo beans, bell peppers, fresh corn, and quinoa. Topped with enchilada sauce and cotija cheese, these vegetarian peppers are sure to please! Skip the cheese and they’re vegan and just as delicious!
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4-5
- Category: Dinner
- 1 lb fresh pasilla (aka poblano) peppers (about 4 large or 5 medium)
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1-15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 ear fresh corn
- 1 serrano pepper
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
- 1/2 cup gated cotija cheese (optional)
- Cook your quinoa (I cook 1 cup of dried quinoa and eat whatever I don’t use for lunch the next day) and let cool for 10 minutes or so.
- Prep your veggies and toss together with 2 cups of the cooked quinoa.
- Cut the pasilla peppers in half, stem and all (the stem gives each piece a nice handle to hold on to). Try to cut strategically so that each half will lay semi-flat so that all the filling doesn’t fall out when you cook them.
- Preheat your BBQ to 350F.
- Pile the filling into the peppers, heaping it up as much as you can without it falling out all over the place. You may have a bit left over. Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp enchilada sauce over each filled pepper half.
- Arrange the peppers in a 12″ cast iron skillet (it’s okay to use a smaller one but you may have to do it in multiple batches) so that they are not in danger of tipping over.
- Place the skillet on the grill and gook for 20-25 minutes, until the peppers are starting to blacken on the edges and are looking wrinkly. Carefully remove the skillet from the grill and set aside to cool for a couple minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese if you like, and serve! These are great with some grilled veggie sausages on the side. Enjoy!