I discovered a traditional Mexican dish while living abroad in the Yucatan called Chilies En Nogada. It is typically served during the month of September in honor of Mexican Independence Day because the colors of the food in the dish mirror those in the Mexican flag: red, white & green. It is also popular over the Christmas holiday. Back home I created a vegan version packed with nutrients and healthy enough to be eaten every day and not just on special occasions. This rendition is high in protein, blood sugar balancing and makes use of millet, an often overlooked whole grain.
Yields: 8 Servings
4 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 tbsp avocado oil, plus more for coating baking dish
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1 pear, diced
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ tsp sea salt
1-14 oz. can organic diced tomatoes
½ cup golden raisins
2 cans organic black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked millet (see cook tip below)
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped and divided
½ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 cup pomegranate seeds
Raw Chili-Lime Crema
1 cup raw cashews
3 tbsp lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
2 tsp paprika
¼ - ½tsp cayenne
½tsp sea salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1Place pepper halves on baking sheet, drizzle with avocado oil, sprinkle with pinch of sea salt and bake at 350 about 15 minutes, then cool.
2Heat large saute pan over medium heat.
3Add avocado oil, garlic, onion and serrano pepper.
4Cook until softened slightly.
5Add diced pear and dried spices.
6Saute for a few minutes longer.
7Add tomatoes and raisins.
8Cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes.
9Cool slightly and combine tomato mixture with black beans, cooked millet and 1/2 chopped cilantro in a large bowl.
10Season to taste with sea salt.
11Stuff peppers with filling and bake, covered, until peppers are soft and lightly browned.
12To serve spoon Chili-Lime Crema over each pepper and garnish with remaining cilantro, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds.
Raw Chili-Lime Crema (1½ cups)
1Soak cashews in enough water to cover overnight (or 2 hrs. in hot water).
2Drain cashews and blend in high-powered blender with remaining ingredients.
3Thin as needed with additional water.
How to cook millet: Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup millet and a large inch of salt. Cover, lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes.