Shortcut chiles en nogada gives you traditional flavor without all the work

Add some spicy flavor to your holiday meal, and make this elegant but easy shortcut version of chiles en nogada. Chiles en nogada is a Mexican stuffed pepper dish with festive red and green colors that make it perfect for Christmas dinner.

Poblano peppers are filled with cooked pork sausage and diced apples, then roasted until soft and tender. Once baked, they get a hefty drizzle of creamy sauce made from — believe or not — walnuts. And to add even more flavor and a pop of color, a garnish of fresh pomegranate arils tops it all off.

Branch out this year, and go the nontraditional route with a traditional Mexican dish.

chiles nogada
Image: Brandi Bidot/Sheknows

Easy chiles en nogada recipe

Yields 12 servings as a side dish or 6 servings as a main course

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 50 minutes


For the peppers

  • 6 poblano peppers, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 pound pork sausage, removed from casings
  • 2 apples, finely diced (I used Fuji apples)
  • 1 small sweet onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sauce

  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 4 cups cream, milk or water
  • 8 ounces crumbled queso fresco cheese
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

For garnish

  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • Fresh chopped parsley


  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the poblano peppers, and carefully remove the seeds. Place the peppers on the baking sheet, and set aside.
  3. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, sausage, onions, apples and seasonings. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until the apples begin to soften and the sausage is cooked.
  4. Spoon the filling into the peppers, and bake uncovered for 20 – 25 minutes or until the peppers soften.
  5. Meanwhile, add all the ingredients for the sauce to a blender or food processor. Blend for 1 – 2 minutes or until the sauce is rich and creamy.
  6. Once the peppers are done baking, place them on a serving plate. Spoon the nogada sauce over the tops of the peppers, and garnish with fresh parsley and pomegranate arils. Best served warm.

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