My new brunch “go-to”, Cheesy Chile Rellenos Casserole is a quick and easy vegan version of the classic Mexican dish. Since it’s baked, there’s no deep-frying involved. Skinning and stuffing the peppers isn’t necessary either. The finished casserole can be stored in the refrigerator once cooled and reheated as needed. I like to serve it with skillet potatoes, or refried beans and rice. Garnish with fresh or cooked salsa if desired. Vegan eggless scramble is a nice addition for a breakfast/brunch dish too.
- 6 Poblano or 8 Anaheim chiles, split length-wise with seeds and membrane removed
- 2 medium sweet yellow onions, sliced thin
- 1½ cup vegan shredded cheddar, homemade* or commercial
- 1½ cup vegan shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella, homemade* or commercial
- 2 or 3 slices day-old crusty bread
- 1 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
*Delicious homemade vegan cheeses can be prepared with recipes from my Non-Dairy Evolution cookbook. See my website homepage for more information at: thegentlechef.com
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
Mist a large baking dish with cooking oil spray.
Layer the bottom of the dish with half the onions. Layer the sliced peppers evenly in the dish. Top with the shredded cheddar. Layer the remaining onions and top with the shredded white cheese.
In a food processor, add the sliced bread and seasonings and process into coarse crumbs. Top the casserole with the seasoned crumbs and seal the dish with foil.
Bake for 90 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Vegan Cheesy Chile Rellenos Casserole
In the photo, the tamales were filled with Tex-Mex seasoned shredded beaf brisket from my Crafting Seitan cookbook (available through Amazon). Vegan carnitas (from the same cookbook) would be delicious too. Other filling suggestions might be refried beans, or chopped and cooked mixed vegetables, with shredded vegan cheese; Tex-Mex seasoned textured vegetable protein or soy curls. Yields about 20 tamales.
Ingredients for the Masa Dough
- 4 cups masa harina (do not use regular cornmeal)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 3 cups broth (vegan beef, vegan chicken, or vegetable broth)
- 1 cup refined coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil
- package dried corn husks
- Fillings of your choice (about 4 cups of filling for one batch of masa dough)
Immerse the corn husks in a large container of very hot water and let stand for a few hours to soften (you will need about ½ the package).
Prepare desired fillings and set aside.
To make the masa dough, add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Add the broth and oils and mix well to create a smooth thickened batter.
Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out.
Assemble the tamales: Lay a corn husk, glossy side up, on the counter with the wide end at the top. Scoop about ¼ cup of masa on to the top center of the corn husk. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and spread the masa using your fingers into a thin layer, about ¼-inch thick (be sure to only spread the dough along the top half of the corn husk to allow plenty of room to fold the bottom husk up when finished filling). Working with the sticky masa takes a little practice, so be patient.
Place about 2 generous tablespoons of desired filling in a line down the center of the dough. Avoid using too much.
Fold in one long side of the husk over the filling. Fold in the other long side, overlapping the first (like folding a brochure). Fold the bottom of the husk up.
Add water to the bottom of your conventional steamer or instant pot (electric pressure cooker). Use 2 cups for the pressure cooker; or a few inches for a steamer pot. In either case, don’t fill above the steamer rack. Lay a few extra corn husks on the bottom rack to keep the tamales from falling through and any boiling water from directly touching them.
Place the tamales standing upright, with their open end up, just tightly enough to keep them standing. If using a steamer pot, lay a few soaked corn husks over the top of the tamales before closing the lid.
Conventional Steamer Pot
Bring the water to a boil (in Mexico it is a common practice to place a coin at the bottom of the steamer and when the coin started to tap in the pot you know the water was boiling.) Set a timer for 50 minutes.
Cook on Manual/High for 25 minutes. Allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, and then quick release.
Store leftover tamales in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
To freeze, allow the cooked tamales to cool, then place them in a freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheat the tamales in a conventional steamer; or wrap chilled or frozen tamales in a few dampened paper towels and microwave until warmed through. The wet paper towels will help them “steam” as they are reheated.
Crumbly Mexican Soy Chorizo with Vegan Eggz Scramble
- 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder (mild)
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (spicy hot), or more to taste
- 5 oz pressed extra-firm tofu, finely crumbled
- ½ cup Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
- 6 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Combine the seasoning blend ingredients in a bowl with the dry TVP granules. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mash and finely crumble the tofu with a fork. Set aside.
Whisk together the liquid ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a brief boil. Add the seasoned TVP granules, cover and set aside to rehydrate for 10 minutes.
Fold in the crumbled tofu until blended through evenly. Refrigerate in an airtight container to allow the tofu to absorb color and seasonings and to blend the flavors. Store up to 1 week in the refrigerator or in the freezer for longer storage. Crumble and brown the mixture in a well-oiled skillet and use in recipes as desired.
Crumbly Mexican Soy Chorizo