What Are Poblano Peppers Good For?

Poblano Pepper Power

Poblano Pepper Nutrition Facts

With their ability to add intense flavor and spice to various dishes, there’s no doubt that chili peppers, such as the poblano pepper, are one of the reasons why Mexican cuisine captivates taste buds across the globe.1

Discover what sets poblano peppers apart from other chili peppers, their health benefits and how to cook poblano peppers correctly.

What Is a Poblano Pepper?

Poblano peppers (pronounced po-BLAH-no) are thick, dark green-skinned chili peppers that are named after their supposed place of origin: the state of Puebla in Central Mexico.

These chili peppers tend to be wide at the top, but with a pointy bottom. These mild to medium-hot peppers reportedly measure between 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat units.

When poblano peppers are dried, they’re called ancho chilies. These are different from chipotle peppers, or smoked and dried jalapeno peppers. According to The Spruce Eats, some smoked poblano peppers are labeled chipotles, but the latter term should only be used for dried and smoked jalapenos.

Poblano peppers may also be confused for pasilla peppers because of their similar flavor, but the resemblance ends there. Pasilla peppers tend to be longer and narrower than poblano peppers. Poblano peppers are often roasted to bring out their natural flavors,2 but can be added into salad dressings, chilies and stews, or sautéed with onion and garlic to make a salsa-like blend.3

The Health Benefits of Poblano Pepper

Poblano peppers’ main health benefits can be traced to an active ingredient called capsaicin. It’s responsible for that burning sensation in your mouth when you eat chili peppers, and for their pungent odor. Capsaicin is said to:

Help inhibit the growth of prostate4 and breast cancer cells5,6

Assist in addressing arthritis-related pain7

Help reduce risk for hyperinsulinemia or high blood levels of insulin8

Induce weight loss by promoting satiety, decreasing calorie intake, shrinking fat tissue and decreasing blood fat levels9

Assist with boosting heart health, particularly by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, suppressing platelet aggregation and helping the body dissolve fibrin, a substance that may play a role in blood clot development10

Help lessen inflammation brought on by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)11 and other inflammatory diseases12

Possesses antibacterial properties that aid in fighting chronic sinus problems13

 

What’s an Ideal Poblano Pepper Substitute?

If you don’t have access to fresh and organic poblano peppers in your area, these are substitutes you can consider for fresh or dried peppers:14

Fresh Poblano Peppers

Dried Poblano Peppers or Ancho Chili Peppers

Anaheim or California chilies15

Mulato (it’s said to be darker, more pungent and possess an earthy flavor)

Italian frying peppers16

Pasilla chilies

New Mexican chilies

Dried New Mexican chilies

How to Roast Poblano Peppers Properly

Roasting is one of the best ways to cook poblano peppers since this allows their fruity flavors to shine and helps remove their tough and possibly difficult-to-digest skin.17 Vegetarian Times highlights three ways to make roasted poblano peppers:18

Roasting via oven

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Rub whole poblanos with coconut oil, and place on baking sheet.
  3. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, or until charred on all sides, turning with tongs.
  4. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let the peppers steam for 15 minutes. After this period, you can rub off the skins.

Roasting via stove top

  1. Place a poblano pepper directly on the grate of a gas burner with a flame turned to high.
  2. Roast the pepper until charred on all sides, turning with tongs. Repeat with the next pepper.
  3. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let the peppers steam for 15 minutes. After this period, you can rub off the skins.

Roasting via grill

  1. Grill whole and dry poblanos over medium to medium-high heat until charred and blistered on all sides, turning with tongs.
  2. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let the peppers steam for 15 minutes. After this period, you can rub off the skins.

No matter what method you pick, ensure that you don’t overcook the peppers to the point that they aren’t able to retain their shape. According to “The Peppers Cookbook: 200 Recipes from the Pepper Lady’s Kitchen,” after removing the peppers from the grill or stove, submerge them in cold or ice water so they stop cooking.19

Do not excessively char the poblano peppers, since this may cause the formation of acrylamide, a known carcinogen. It often develops in high-temperature environments (usually above 250 degrees F or 120 degrees C) when foods are baked, fried, roasted, grilled or toasted. An indicator of acrylamide in foods is a fairly dry, “browned” or charred surface.20,21

Poblano Pepper Recipes You Can Try
Easy, Meaty Stuffed Poblano Peppers Recipe

Aside from roasting poblano peppers whole, you can also prepare them like a stuffed bell pepper, by slicing them lengthwise, removing the seeds and filling them with cheese, grass fed ground beef, and other vegetables and herbs.22 You can try this healthy and Paleo stuffed poblano peppers from Paleo Hacks:23

Poblano Pepper Healthy Recipes

Ingredients:

1 lb. grass fed ground beef (93 percent lean)

1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt

4 poblano peppers, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds

1 avocado, diced

2 chopped tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon mango powder

1 handful cilantro leaves, chopped

 

 

Procedures:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly brown the ground beef in a skillet, over medium heat, for five to seven minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cumin and salt.
  3. Spoon the beef mixture into the pepper halves, and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Top each peppers with cilantro and avocado. Serve hot.

This recipe makes 4 servings.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Pasture-raised chicken is another delicious ingredient you can add to a stuffed poblano pepper, just like in this recipe from Farmstead Chic:24,25

Chipotle Lime Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Ingredients

For stuffed poblano peppers

1 tbsp. coconut oil, plus more to grease pan

1 lb. ground pasture-raised chicken

1/2 large yellow onion, chopped

2 tsp. chipotle powder

2 tsp. cumin

4 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt

Cayenne pepper, optional (to taste)

Juice of 2 limes

4 poblano peppers, roasted and sliced down the middle with skin and seeds removed

Cilantro, optional

Coconut Avocado Drizzle, optional

For the Coconut Avocado Drizzle:

1 avocado, peeled and seeded

1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup coconut milk   

 

 

Procedures:

  1. To make the Coconut Avocado Drizzle, mix all ingredients in a blender until blended well.
  2. Roast and remove the pepper skins.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat until melted, about one to two minutes.
  5. Add the ground chicken and onions. Brown for seven to eight minutes. Use a Mix ‘n’ Chop or wooden spatula to keep the chicken nice and ground. Your mixture should still be a little juicy from the onions at this point. If not, add back a tablespoon of water.
  6. Add the lime juice, chipotle powder, cumin, garlic (or garlic powder) and Himalayan salt, and cook one to two minutes until mixed well and juice is mostly cooked down.
  7. Test the meat mixture, and add more salt to taste if necessary. Add cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp. at a time) if you want a little more heat.
  8. Grease your baking dish with additional coconut oil.
  9. Using a spoon, fill the peppers to capacity with the meat filling.
  10. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until filling is browned.
  11. Serve with the Coconut Avocado Drizzle and freshly torn cilantro leaves.

This recipe makes 4 stuffed peppers.
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

When picking out poblano peppers at your local grocery store, farmers market or specialty store, always opt for organic, dark and firm peppers.26 Be careful when handling poblano peppers and try to avoid direct contact with them by wearing rubber gloves. Some of the capsaicin oil may transfer to the skin and trigger a burning sensation.

According to Vegetable Garden Planner, poblano peppers can be stored for at least one week in the refrigerator, kept inside a brown bag and stored in the crisper section. If you plan to store them for a longer period, place the peppers inside an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag and freeze them, so they can last for around six to eight months.27

Poblano Pepper Nutritional Facts

One ancho pepper (a dried poblano pepper28) weighing around 17 grams contains roughly 48 calories. It contains high amounts of potassium at 410 milligrams and is home to other nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium and B vitamins. To know more about the nutritional value of this chili pepper, take a look at this table:29

Poblano Pepper Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 pepper (17 grams)
  Amt. Per
Serving
% Daily
Value*
Calories 48 kcal  
Calories from Fat    
Total Fat 1.3 g  
Saturated Fat 0.139 mg  
Trans Fat 0.0 g  
Cholesterol 0 mg  
Sodium 7 mg  
Total Carbohydrates 8.74 g  
Dietary Fiber 3.7 g  
Sugar    
Protein 2.02 g  
Vitamin A 174 mcg Vitamin C 0.3 mg
Calcium10 mg Iron 1.86 mg

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Beware of the Side Effects of Eating Too Much Poblano Pepper

Moderating your consumption of poblano peppers is important, as excessive amounts may be detrimental. Excessive amounts of capsaicin may act as a potent neurotoxin. Capsaicin is already known to trigger swelling of the skin and mucous membranes when you consume enough amounts of it, but excessive quantities may lead to vomiting, diarrhea,30 nausea and abdominal pain, and eye problems such as conjunctivitis, blepharospasm, and intense pain and tearing.31

Put Poblano Peppers to Good Use Today

Just like other chili peppers, poblano peppers not only bring heat and flavor, but also pave the way for certain health benefits too, mainly because of their capsaicin content. But before you try adding poblano peppers to your diet, be sure to handle them properly to avoid burning your skin, and only consume them in moderation to prevent unwanted side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Poblano Peppers

Q: Are poblano peppers hot?

A:  Poblano peppers are mildly spicy. If you’re wondering how hot a pepper is specifically, it measures 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat units.

Q: What can you do with poblano peppers? 

A:  Roasting is one of the best ways to enhance poblano peppers’ natural flavor. You may also add it into salad dressings, chilies, stews and salsa mixes, or stuff them with your favorite meats, herbs and vegetables to eat as a snack or side dish.