Go Back
vegan chiles en nogada with walnut sauce sprinkled with pomegranate seeds

Vegan Chiles en Nogada Recipe

This healthy Vegan Chiles en Nogada Recipe features roasted poblano chiles stuffed with lentil picadillo and topped with creamy walnut sauce, then sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. A simplified vegan version of the authentic Mexican National Dish!  

Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Mexico
Keyword chiles en nogada recipe, vegan chiles en nogada, vegan stuffed chiles
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Calories 600 kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups brown lentils dry 300g
  • ½ Onion large
  • 2 Garlic cloves peeled, smashed
  • 2 Large tomatoes
  • 4 Poblano peppers roasted, peeled, seeds removed

Lentil picadillo:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ Onion minced (1 cup)
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • ¼ cup white wine or sherry
  • 1 pear diced
  • 1/2 big Apple diced or 1 small apple
  • 1 peach diced - or plum
  • ¾ cup green plantain peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup Slivered toasted almonds
  • 3 -4 tbsp. raisins or cranberries - I soak mine in sherry
  • 10 olives chopped
  • 1 tbsp. capers finely Chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. Clove ground
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon ground
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground black pepper
  • 1/3 tsp cumin


  • 1 cup Walnuts soaked in water the night before, drained
  • 1 cup Almond milk unsweetened
  • 1 cup vegan toast baguette or bolillo, cut the crust off, and cut bread into cubes
  • 1 tsp. sugar maple syrup, or Monkfruit or any sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp. sherry or white wine
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 big pinch of cinnamon
  • Garnish:
  • 1 Pomegranate cut, peeled, and seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup Chopped parsley


  1. Fill a medium pot with water and add lentils, ½ of an onion, and 2 smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, place the two tomatoes and the poblano peppers on a sheet tray. Turn your oven broiler to high and place sheet tray on the top rack of the oven. Let them cook for a couple of minutes on each side until the tomato and the chiles begin to soften and have black spots all over. Remove from heat. Place the tomates and chiles in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest 5 minutes. 

    ALTERNATIVE: Roast/charr the chiles over your gas stove flame until charred

  3. Drain the lentils, reserve 1 cup of the lentil cooking liquid, and using a potato masher, mash the lentils a bit to break them up.

  4. Remove half of the skin off of the tomatoes, and using a blender process them into a puree. Set aside.
  5. Set a large pot to medium heat, add  oil and fry onions until translucent, add garlic, fry for a minute, then add ¼ cup of wine or sherry. Cook for 3 minutes until onion begins to soften a lot.

  6. Add cooked lentils, mix well, and pour in tomato puree. Let cook for 3-4 minutes or until the puree begins to bubble and change to a darker red color.
  7. Add clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, plantain, apple, peach, pear, almonds, olives, capers, and raisins. Stir mixture.

  8. Add 1 cup of the liquid you reserved from the lentils, and simmer for 20 min or until the plantain is cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. While the vegan picadillo is cooking, soak the cut bread in the cup of almond milk for 10 minutes. In a blender, place the soaked bread and milk, previously soaked and drained walnuts, sugar, and white wine or sherry, cinnamon and salt and blend until smooth.
  10. Season to taste with salt. It should have the consistency of a cream sauce. If it is too thick, add some more almond milk. Set aside.
  11. Very gently scrape the skin the chiles with the blade of a knife. Remove as much skin as possible. You will probably have to use your fingers after using your knife to remove the remaining bits of skin. With a small knife, gently split the chile down the side without cutting all the way through the tip of the chile. The chiles have a seed pod at the base of the stem. Carefully use your fingers to remove the seeds.

  12. If you are unable to remove all of the little seeds with your fingers you can place the chile under running water to remove them. This chile is ready to be stuffed with the vegan picadillo filling.

  13. Fill each poblano chile with enough filling so that it will just close. You don’t want the filling to spill out the side of the chile onto the plate. If the chiles won’t stay closed you can use toothpicks to close them.

  14.  Place the chiles seam side down on a plate. Pour walnut sauce over them, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.

  15. Chiles en nogada are served gently warmed with the sauce at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

  • You can use cranberries instead of raisins
  • Anaheim chiles can be used instead of poblano 
  • Peach is traditionally added to the picadillo, but you can use plums or leave them out.
  • Traditionally the walnuts for this recipe are peeled to keep the sauce as white as possible, but this takes insanely long, so you can skip it. 
  • You can use almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews instead of walnuts. 
  • Instead of lentils, you could use beefless crumbles, veggie crumbles, tempeh crumbles, TVP or jackfruit.