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paleo chili relleno

This may be the most delicious paleo dish I’ve ever created. A Mexican food staple, chili rellenos are typically filled with a cheesy meat mixture, battered, and then fried. They are topped with an assortment of sauces that can range from a cooked red salsa to a queso cream sauce. They are delicious but can be terrible for you.

I miss the tasty Mexican dish so decided to attempt a paleo version. It turned out SO well.

I chose to make my chili rellenos with poblano peppers. Although Hatch chilies are celebrated as making the best chili rellenos, poblanos are in season MUCH longer and are easier to work with.

Why eat peppers? Peppers have some great health benefits. Peppers, hot or mild, contain an impressive amount Vitamin A (good for eyesight and immune system), C (may reduce risk of cancer), and B6 (vital for brain and immune chemical reactions). Peppers also contain a compound called capsaicin that has been shown to promote weight loss, reduce appetite, and help relieve pain. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. Poblanos are mild but do have some spice.

I stuff my peppers with simple browned ground meat seasoned with some Mexican spices. I chose beef for this recipe but have also made it with ground chicken, turkey, and bison. All versions are tasty.

I served the stuffed peppers on top of a cooked Mexican red sauce. The sauce is ridiculously tasty and will have you wanting to pour it over everything.

The only ingredient that may be hard to find is Mexican oregano. If you can’t find it, don’t fret; regular oregano works just fine.

I recommend you enjoy this Paleo Chili Relleno with a Fed and Fit Skinny Margarita.

¡Buen apetito!

paleo chili relleno

serves 4


4 large fresh poblano peppers

1 lb ground beef

3 large tomatoes

½ cup chopped onion

6 cloves garlic minced

2 T cumin

1 T chili powder

2 T Mexican oregano

2 t sea salt

2 t extra virgin olive oil

Cilantro for garnish


Preparing the chilies:

Set your oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the poblano peppers on the foil and place under broiler until blistered and slightly blackened. This will take approximately 10 minutes – turn them over every 3 minutes to be sure they are evenly charred.

Note: if you have an open grill or gas stove, you can char the peppers there.

Once they peppers are evenly blistered and charred, remove from oven and let cool.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

Once the peppers are cool to the touch, remove their skin. It should come off easily due to the charring process. Be careful not to tare the peppers while you remove the skin.

Cut a 3” slit in each pepper and scrape out the inner membrane and seeds with a large spoon.

Set back on the aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.

Ground meat:

In a medium sized frying pan over medium heat, sauté olive oil, half of the onions, and half of the garlic until they are slightly browned.

Add the ground meat and stir until almost cooked through.

Add 1 T of cumin, 1 T of the Mexican oregano, ½ T chili powder, and 1 t sea salt.

Turn the heat up to high and stir regularly until the meat is nicely browned.

Turn heat off and set aside.

Red Sauce:

In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, sauté olive oil, half of the onions, and half of the garlic until they are slightly browned.

Add 1 T of cumin, 1 T of the Mexican oregano, ½ T chili powder, and 1 t sea salt.

Sauté the dried herbs and spices with the onions/garlic for approximately 2 minutes. This heat applied directly to the herbs and spices will release more of their flavor and add a smoky quality to the sauce.

Roughly chop your tomatoes and add them to the pan.

Cook until the tomatoes break down and the ingredients are evenly combined. This will take approximately 10 minutes over medium heat.

Pour the sauce into a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until the sauce is smooth. You may add water until you get the consistency you desire.

Set aside.


Spoon an even amount of ground meat in each pepper.

Bake the now stuffed peppers at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Spoon the red sauce onto a plate and place the stuffed pepper on top.

Top with cilantro and enjoy!

Time: 45 minutes

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you for this! It’s a wonderful Paleo version on a Mexican favorite!

    April 30, 2013
  2. I made these last night with green chilies from Hatch, New Mexico (Hatch Green Chilies). Oh my, OUTSTANDING. I love the simplicity of the seasoning and the flavor of the red sauce and spice of the pepper. I’m stocking up on chilies so I can make it again and again before they go out of season. Cheers from my kitchen to yours!

    August 30, 2013
    • Thanks, Jenifer!! I’m so glad you loved the rellenos. Thanks for the awesome comment 🙂

      September 3, 2013
  3. David medina #

    How many calories are in this meal?

    September 3, 2013
    • Hi, David! I haven’t calculated calorie content in a while but did a quick count just for you 🙂 One serving {meaning one stuffed pepper with 1/4 of the sauce}, equals 595 calories. Hope that helps!

      September 3, 2013
  4. Julianne Pieratt #

    Thanks, this was incredible! It was “comfort food” surely.

    October 7, 2013
    • Great! I’m so glad you liked it. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

      October 7, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Fed and Fit’s Paleo Chili Relleno
  2. Stuffed Poblano with Green Chile and Pork – Paleo Chile Relleno | Sweet Potato Bun
  3. Paleo Hatch Chile Casserole | Fed and Fit

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