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Charred Poblanos Stuffed with Sweet Corn and Black Bean Quinoa

Servings: 4 as a main dish; 8 as a starter or side

This standout stuffed pepper includes several components, each of which can be made ahead, that come together for a showstopping dish. You can serve these as a main dish, a starter, or a side.


For the spicy-sweet pepitas

  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas

For the corn and black bean quinoa

  • 1 cup rinsed tricolor quinoa
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Fine sea salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime (reserve 1/2 tsp. for the crema)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or thawed, if frozen)
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Cotija cheese (about 3 oz.), crumbled

For the avocado-lime crema

  • 2 small to medium ripe avocados, pitted and flesh coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. apple-cider vinegar
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1/2 small clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the poblanos

  • 8 poblanos
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
  • 1/4 cup Cotija cheese (about 1 oz.)
  • 1/3 cup steamed corn kernels, for garnish (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 460
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 270
  • Fat (g): 30
  • Saturated Fat (g): 6
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17
  • Cholesterol (mg): 15
  • Sodium (mg): 880
  • Carbohydrates (g): 38
  • Fiber (g): 9
  • Sugar (g): 7
  • Protein (g): 12


Make the pepitas

  • Combine the oil, sugar, cayenne, cumin, and 1/8 tsp. salt in a small nonstick skillet over low heat, and cook, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add the pepitas and cook, stirring constantly, until coated and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove the seeds to a plate, and cool completely.

Make the quinoa

  • Bring 1-3/4 cups water to a boil in a small pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the quinoa, garlic, and ¼ tsp. salt, stir, and return to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let steam, covered, for another 10 minutes until the quinoa is cooked through. Use a fork to fluff the quinoa.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the lime zest and juice, cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Whisk in the oil until well combined. Add the onion, black beans, and corn. Add the quinoa, and stir well to combine. Stir in the cilantro and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the crema

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the avocado, oil, vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, garlic, lime zest, and 2 Tbs. water. Blend, scraping down the bowl, until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stuff and roast the poblanos

  • Position a rack in the upper third of the oven, and heat the broiler on high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Use a paring knife to carefully make a cut in the stem end of each pepper, carving around the stem and pulling out the attached seeds and core. Try to keep the pepper intact (for stuffing through the top opening) while you use your knife to scrape out any remaining seeds. Some peppers may break open along one side from the top cut toward the bottom—that’s fine.
  • Put the peppers on the baking sheet, and drizzle with the vegetable oil to coat all over. Broil the peppers, turning them after 4 to 5 minutes, until they are blackened all over and tender, 7 to 12 minutes total. Immediately transfer the peppers to a large bowl, and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, allowing them to steam for about 10 minutes. Once the peppers are cool, use your fingers to peel and rub off the skins.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 400°F. Evenly coat the bottom of a large baking dish with the olive oil. Use a spoon to stuff each pepper with Sweet Corn and Black Bean Quinoa, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup per pepper, and arrange them in the baking dish. If peppers open along one side, stuff the pepper and pull the two sides together to enclose the stuffing as much as possible. Roast the peppers until heated through, about 10 minutes. (The peppers may also be served at room temperature.)
  • To serve, transfer the peppers to a serving dish and top each with a generous spoonful of Avocado-Lime Crema, some Spicy-Sweet Pepitas, the cheese, steamed corn, if using, the cilantro, a drizzle of olive oil, a lime wedge on the side, and a sprinkle of sea salt.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • 1newskibum | 07/30/2020

    Well worth the work!!! Flavors are wonderful! I adjusted amount of filling down as I was just doing four poblanos...still had leftover so stuffed a zucchini too! Used 3/4 c. Quinoa...1/2 c - 2/3 c would be plenty.

  • CJMason | 09/29/2019

    Fantastic flavours! Agree that this was more work than expected, but well worth it. Had some filling left over, but can easily repurpose.

  • siriius | 09/03/2019

    Another note on this recipe, I had a huge amount of leftover quinoa filling. I could have stuffed 4 or 5 more poblanos.

  • siriius | 09/03/2019

    Good but a lot of effort. Not sure it is worth it.

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