Stuffed Poblanos for the Man Who Won’t Eat Bell Peppers

The other day I was admiring all of the beautiful poblano, bell, Cubano, Anaheim and spicy peppers one can find at the Farmers’ Market.


Sadly, my husband has an aversion to bell peppers. He’ll pick out every little piece that I try to hide in sauces or salads. So, stuffed bell peppers are completely out of the realm of possibility in my kitchen. 

My husband is not allergic to bell peppers; he just doesn’t like the flavor. On the other hand, I can’t eat super hot peppers. Although I like the flavor, they trigger a coughing fit in me unless I slowly work my way up to a higher level of tolerance.

I’ve found that green poblano peppers are a good compromise, and they substitute well for bell peppers in most recipes. Poblanos have a different flavor from bell peppers, but are still tasty and usually mild. So, I picked up a few. 


I’ve always wanted to make stuffed poblanos, so I began to research recipes for inspiration. I looked through my refrigerator and started assembling some ingredients for my experiment. 

I carved the top of the poblano out, like you would on a Jack-O-Lantern and cleaned out the pith and seeds.


I lightly smashed the black beans with a fork.


Of course, this was a good opportunity to use some of the Roma tomatoes from my garden. I cut them open and removed the seeds and juices, then chopped them.


I’ve recently seen recipes that call for Cotija cheese, a crumbly Mexican cheese. When I saw it in the grocery store, I picked it up to see what the fuss was all about. It’s very salty and reminds me of Feta. However, Cotija is dry and not stored in a brine like most Feta. I thought it would be perfect in this recipe.


I added a little yogurt to give the mixture some moistness. 


I tossed in a little leftover Mexican rice, but plain brown rice or quinoa will do. In fact, I think you could just leave it out all together. I added a chopped shallot, just because I had one. A regular onion would work too. Now it was time to spice it up with some cilantro, cumin and chili powder, to keep with the Mexican theme.


It was time to stir up the mixture and stuff my peppers.



I replaced the tops and used toothpicks to secure them.


Then I roasted them in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, turning over halfway through. I lost track of the time and cooked them a little longer than I had intended. I think 30 minutes would be plenty. I’m still experimenting.


They’re not the most attractive dish, I admit. The tops fell off when I flipped them over, and I cooked them a little too long. However, they were tasty and a nice change of pace. 

So, what did my husband think? He refused to even taste them! He said he doesn’t like stuffed peppers, regardless of what pepper I use. His loss. I enjoyed the second one for dinner the next night too!

Although I want to work on this recipe a little more, I believe it will be a keeper. I might leave out the rice next time, for a lower-carb, grain-free version. This was quick to make using my leftover rice, but would take longer if had cooked rice specifically for this recipe. I also plan to add some lime juice and chopped avocado to see how that works out. I might increase the spices too. Although I used all of the stuffing mixture, these were a little over-stuffed. I’d like to try it with 3 peppers or just decrease the amount of stuffing.

These stuffed peppers are vegetarian and gluten-free, for those of you with special diets.

If you want to give this recipe a trial run, here’s my first version, with notes for changes. I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions for improvement! Getting other perspectives and is very helpful!

STUFFED POBLANO PEPPERS (vegetarian) ©FoodFitnessFaith

Yields 2 servings (1 pepper each)

           “Double or triple this recipe if you’re having guests. These don’t freeze well, but you can reheat any that are left over, up to 3 days later.” ~ Bobbi

*** Easy!

$$$ Cheap! 

Prep Time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes cook time

Tools: metal baking sheet, knife and cutting board, medium to large bowl


2 large poblano peppers


1/2 cup cooked brown rice or other grain (optional)

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup chopped tomato (or salsa)

1/4 cup chopped onion (leave out if using salsa)

1/2 an avocado, chopped (try this addition next time)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1/2 cup plain yogurt (regular or Greek)

1/2 cup crumbled Feta or Cojita cheese

1 teaspoon ground cumin 

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste


Preheat oven to 400 °F. Spray or rub oil onto a metal baking sheet.

1. Cook some rice if you aren’t using leftovers.

2. Cut the cap of the poblanos off around the stem, rather than straight across, so there’s a lip around the edge to hold the stuffing, but a large enough opening to add stuffing. Save the top for closing off the pepper later. (Like the top of a jack-o-lantern.)  Clean out the seeds and white pith inside. Set aside.

3. Rinse and drain beans and place in a large bowl. Smash coarsely with a fork, so there are some smashed beans and some whole ones.

4. Add all remaining stuffing ingredients and stir to blend well.

5. Use a spoon and stuff the peppers, packing it down with the back of the spoon as you go. 

6. Replace the top of the peppers and secure with toothpicks.

7. Place the peppers on the baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Turn them over and cook another 15 minutes. (Double-check the timing.)

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™