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Vegan Chile en Nogada Recipe

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day. Creamy nut sauce + pomegranate top this vegan chile en nogada recipe filled with figs, nuts + fruits.
Total Time1 hr
Course: Entrees, Holidays, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chile en nogada, chile en nogada recipe
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 4 large poblano chiles
  • 3 Roma tomatoes

Lentil Picadillo

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils , drained (about 1 cup uncooked)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced pear
  • 1/4 cup diced apple , peeled
  • 3/4 cup diced green plantain , peeled
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup chopped Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Dried Figs
  • 1/3 cup chopped Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Golden Figs
  • 8 Manzanilla olives , quartered
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • Salt to taste

Nogada Sauce

  • Previously soaked walnuts
  • 1 cup soymilk or almondmilk , unsweetened
  • 1 cup diced baguette or bolillo , crust cut off
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon sherry
  • Salt to taste


  • 1 pomegranate , cut, peeled and seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


  • Place walnuts in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let soak overnight.
  • Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil and place the tomatoes and poblano peppers on it. Turn the oven broiler to high and place the sheet tray on the top rack of the oven. Let them char for a couple of minutes on each side until the tomato and the chiles begin to soften and are black all over. Remove the peppers and tomatoes from the oven. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest 5 minutes.
  • Remove half of the skin off of the tomatoes and, using a blender, process them into a puree. Set aside.
  • Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl, and peel the poblano peppers. This can be done by simply pulling on the skin, or using a paring knife to scrape the skin off. Make a cut lengthwise with a knife, and remove the seeds. Set aside.

Make the Lentil Picadillo

  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium and stir in the onion. Cook until onion begins to soften and become translucent, 5 - 6 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Decrease the heat to low. Stir in cooked lentils. Using a potato masher, mash the lentils until they begin to break apart, but are not completely pureed. Pour in tomato puree and simmer until the puree begins to bubble and change to a darker red color, 3 – 4 minutes. Add clove, cinnamon, black pepper, pear, apple, plantain, almonds, figs, and olives. Stir to combine.
  • Add 1 cup of vegetable stock, and simmer until the plantain is cooked through, 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the Nogada Sauce

  • In a small bowl combine the bread and soy milk, let soak for 5 minutes. Drain the previously soaked walnuts, and place in the blender with the soaked bread and milk, sugar, and sherry and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt. It should have the consistency of a cream sauce. If it is too thick, add more almond milk. Set aside.

Assemble Chiles en Nogada

  • Stuff the chiles rellenos with the lentil picadillo. Place the chiles seam side down on a plate. Pour walnut sauce over them, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.


Recipe and photos by Dora Stone

  • Do not heat the walnut sauce. Instead of lentils, you could use TVP, beefless crumbles, or jackfruit.
  • If you prefer to peel the walnuts, drain the previously soaked walnuts, and using a knife scrape off as much of the skin as you possibly can. Then add to the blender.