Vegan White Bean Chile Relleno (Baked!)

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Drizzling a cashew cream sauce onto a vegan white bean chile relleno

One bite into the chile relleno at Nick’s in San Clemente and we wanted to move in next door. We’d had dozens of fried chile rellenos before, but this baked version stole our hearts. A plant-based version of this show-stopping dish had to make it on the blog!

Equally satisfying, our inspired, 10-ingredient version is HERE (cue cartwheels): a creamy white bean vegetable filling nestled into smoky poblano peppers smothered in red enchilada sauce and a garlicky cashew cream. You know you want it. Let’s make dinner!

White beans, pobalno peppers, oil, spices, salt, corn, onion, cashews, spinach, garlic, and enchilada sauce

What is Chile Relleno?

Chile relleno translates from Spanish to “stuffed chile.” Many variations of the dish exist, but they’re often stuffed with cheese or seasoned meat, then battered and fried.

Poblano peppers are the most commonly used peppers in chile relleno, and both the dish and the peppers are believed to have originated in Puebla, Mexico. Other peppers such as New Mexico, pasilla, or even jalapeño chiles are also popular.

The following is our inspired version that’s vegan and baked instead of fried!

How to Make Vegan Chile Relleno

This vegan chile relleno starts with broiling poblano peppers until blistered and tender.

Blistered poblano peppers on a baking sheet

Then it’s on to the white bean vegetable filling. Sautéed onion and garlic are the sweet, aromatic base, while white beans provide fiber and protein and corn adds additional sweetness.

Sautéing white beans, onions, corn, enchilada sauce, and spinach in a skillet

Red enchilada sauce is the primary source of flavor for the filling and it also adds a little liquid to further soften the poblanos. Smoked paprika and cayenne are optional to further kick up the smoky + spicy notes. The remaining filling ingredient is baby spinach to add brightness and boost your greens intake with ease!

Adding a white bean filling to a roasted poblano pepper

The final component is a quick cashew cream sauce (cashews, water, garlic, and salt) to mimic the cheesy texture and creaminess of the classic dish. We add some to the filling, some on top, and some after baking. Cheesiness all around!

Drizzling cashew cream sauce over a pan of baked chile rellenos

We hope you LOVE this vegan chile relleno! It’s:

& SO flavorful!

Pair with your choice of rice (white, brown, or Spanish- or Mexican-style) or baked sweet potatoes and dinner is served! Craving an appetizer while the chile relleno is baking? Grab some chips and make our Easy Red Salsa, Go-To Guacamole, or Vegan Green Chili Queso.

More Poblano Pepper Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Baked vegan chile relleno in a pan topped with jalapeño, cilantro, and limes

Vegan White Bean Chile Relleno (Baked!)

Baked vegan chile relleno with a creamy white bean vegetable filling, smoky red enchilada sauce, and garlicky cashew cream. Gluten-free and made with just 10 ingredients!
Author Minimalist Baker
Overhead shot of a pan of vegan white bean chile rellenos
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 (Servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-5 Days



  • 3 medium poblano peppers
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (plus more for coating peppers)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced (1 onion yields ~141 g or 1 ¼ cup chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional but recommended if your enchilada sauce is not very flavorful)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed (we like cannellini // or ~1 ½ cups homemade)
  • 1 cup frozen white corn
  • 1 cup red enchilada sauce (DIVIDED // we like Siete or homemade)
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach (or bunched spinach, chopped)


  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water (for blending)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  • SOAK CASHEWS: Add cashews to a heatproof bowl and cover with hot water by at least 1-2 inches. Let them soak while you get started on the peppers.
  • PEPPERS: Preheat your oven to high broil and place a rack at the top of your oven, leaving just enough room for your baking sheet to fit.
  • Trim any stems from your poblano peppers and lightly brush with oil. Place them on a baking sheet. Broil on high for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until lightly blistered and slightly soft (see photo). Remove from the oven and cover with parchment paper or a plate to help the skin soften. Turn the oven off broil and preheat to 400 degrees F (204 C).
  • FILLING: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the olive oil, chopped onion, and minced garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the onion starts to look translucent. Add the 1/2 tsp sea salt (adjust if altering batch size), optional smoked paprika, and optional cayenne pepper. Stir and cook for another minute. Add the beans, corn, 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce (adjust if altering batch size), and baby spinach. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • CASHEW CREAM SAUCE: To a high-speed blender, add your soaked cashews, water, garlic, and 1/4 tsp sea salt (adjust if altering batch size). Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  • Add about 1/3 cup (adjust if altering batch size) of the cashew cream to the filling. Stir to distribute evenly.
  • Once peppers are cool enough to handle, gently peel off the skin — you do not have to remove it all, just any pieces that come off easily. Use a paring knife to cut a lengthwise slit in the peppers and remove the seeds and stems.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce (adjust amount if altering batch size) to the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Place the stemmed peppers on top of the enchilada sauce. Divide the filling evenly between the peppers and fold the sides of the peppers over the filling. Pour 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce (adjust if altering batch size) over the peppers and top with a generous drizzle of the cashew cream. You can reserve any extra cream sauce for serving! Bake for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the chiles are soft.
  • Serve warm drizzled with extra cashew cream sauce (optional). This dish is delicious paired with rice (white, brown, or Spanish- or Mexican-style).
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave.



*Inspired by the Baked Lobster Chile Relleno at South of Nick’s.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with homemade enchilada sauce and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 3 servings)

Serving: 1 chile relleno Calories: 379 Carbohydrates: 49.8 g Protein: 14.1 g Fat: 16 g Saturated Fat: 2.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 8.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 827 mg Potassium: 795 mg Fiber: 11 g Sugar: 10 g Vitamin A: 2703 IU Vitamin C: 46 mg Calcium: 92 mg Iron: 4.6 mg

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Reader Interactions

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My Rating:

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Heather, we haven’t tested freezing it and find peppers and cashew cream don’t typically freeze well, but it might work! We’d probably go with ready-to-bake. Let us know if you try it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Kayla. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  1. Carol says

    Dana, me again (from San Clemente) okay…you hit this one out of the park! I finally made this and we LOVED this recipe and I did add some shrimp inside the rellenos to keep it “Nick ish” but man, these were awesome. Yes, yes, yes, we want them every week.

  2. Mark says

    I made this for a Cinco De Mayo party that we hosted. It was gone in minutes. I followed the recipe to the letter, except that I used vegan Mexican shredded cheese on top instead of the cashew cream.. only for saving time. I highly recommend this!

  3. Guy says

    What a lovely meal! I didn’t have the poblano peppers so I used regular green capsicum and it tasted great. This is going to become a staple at my house! Thanks so much for the recipe.

  4. Addie says

    These were sooo yummy! I’ve never had or made Chile Relleno before and now my spouse and I are huge fans!! I was very generous with the smoked paprika and cumin which allowed for the most amazing, spicy, flavor bomb!! The cashew cream had to be my favorite part of this recipe. I used too much water while blending but it thickened up while in the oven…oh so delicious!! Adding this to our meal rotation for sure!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! Thanks so much for the lovely review, Addie, we’re so glad you both enjoyed this recipe!

  5. Sadye says

    Yum! If you have an enchilada sauce recipe you like, you definitely can’t go wrong with this recipe. I used black beans (forgot to buy white ones, d’oh!) and was lazy and didn’t exactly stuff the peppers (just layered the filling over all the halves) and am perfectly happy nomming away here :D

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Sadye! Thank you so much for the lovely review. xo

  6. Carol says

    What a thrill to see that you were in my hometown (San Clemente) visiting Nick’s! I’ve never tried his relleno though so I can’t wait to try this! Hope you enjoyed your vacation.

  7. Trina says

    Had everything to make this. It was quick and simple to make.
    I added the smoked paprika and some ground cumin. My family and I enjoyed this, especially after we added the fresh squeezed lime.
    Thank you,

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Trina. Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi James! We haven’t tried it with cream, however, you could probably replace the water and cashews with about 1 cup of heavy cream. We would still suggest blending it with the garlic and salt! Hope you enjoy!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Laura! We haven’t tried it and can’t guarantee results, however, we think you could use a can of full fat coconut milk in place of the water and cashews in the sauce. It will have a noticeable coconut flavor, but it will still be delicious!

  8. Christy H says

    Looks delicious! Been looking for a dairy free recipe like this for awhile! Can I make and freeze this recipe ahead of time?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Christy! We think the pepper might be too soggy if frozen and reheated, but let us know if you find a good way to do it. We hope you enjoy! xo