This low carb Hatch Chile Rellenos Casserole has all the flavor of regular chile rellenos, but without the breading and frying.
Once a year, my girlfriend Jelayne has a Chile Rellenos party. Her family is from New Mexico, and her uncle sends a large care package of assorted Hatch chiles. Jelayne and her husband, Dan, spend the afternoon charring, filling, battering and then deep-frying dozens of chiles. (This post was originally posted on July 17th, 2013, and has been updated to contain nutritional information. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases.)
What are Hatch Chiles?
While While Hatch Chiles have been a Southwest staple for generations, the Hatch Chile phenomenon seems to have just picked up steam in the rest of the country over the last several years.
The Hatch chile craze is all over Southern California now, with roasting events popping up all over the city. Now, it’s hard to miss the word “Hatch” in August and September! There are roasting events all over the country now! If you can’t find a chile roasting event near you, you can roast them yourself.
When are Hatch chiles in season?
Depending on the season, Hatch chiles can be available from late July to early October.
Where are Hatch chiles grown?
Hatch chiles come from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico. Chiles grown outside New Mexico are not allowed to be called “Hatch”. In fact, chiles grown outside the designated region of the Hatch Valley cannot claim the name. Depending on the soil and climate, the chile crops in a particular plot can vary in heat from year to year.
Are Hatch Chiles hot?
The fun thing about Hatch chiles is you never know what you’re going to get. You can’t tell by the color how hot a chile will be. If you purchase Hatch chiles from a roasting event at grocery store, you will be asked if you want mild, medium or hot. But that’s no guarantee!
What can I substitute for Hatch chiles?
While there is no real substitute for Hatch chiles, Anaheim chiles are readily available in major grocery stores. Anaheim chiles were originally from New Mexico and were brought to Anaheim, California in the late 19th century. If you can’t find Hatch chiles, Anaheim will work too.
How do you roast Hatch chiles?
Most major grocery stores offer Hatch chile roasting events from mid August to late October. Most people will purchase chiles 10 and 20 pounds at a time! While many places will do the roasting for you, you can easily roast your own at home, especially if you’re only roasting 3-4.
Don’t worry if you don’t have access to Hatch chiles, you can always use poblanos, pasillas, or Anaheim chiles. There are a couple of ways to roast them. First, you can throw them on the grill, no need to do anything to them. Just rotate them until the skin is charred and blackened.
You can also roast them over an open flame, or under the broiler. Then pop them in a brown paper sack and close. Let them sit and steam in the bag for a few minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
If you don’t use plastic gloves to remove the skins and seeds, be mindful of your hands and don’t touch your face or eyes.
The skins should peel of very easily. Scrape the seeds out and remove the stem end. Pat them dry with paper towel to get the last bits of skin, seeds and char off. Rinsing them will remove some of the spiciness so be mindful if you like hot and spicy!
If you are lucky enough to pick up pre-roasted Hatch chiles, you might want to buy a case. (I did just that last weekend when I bought 10 pounds of roasted chiles from my local grocery store).
What do you do with TEN pounds of Hatch chiles?
Well, I’ve make Hatch Chile and Cheddar Egg Bites, which make a nice grab and go, breakfast that’s low-carb and gluten free. Or this Hatch Chile Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich, which is definitely not low-carb! (Spencer gets to eat that!) Or we’ll just dice them up and pop them in omelets or scrambled eggs.
How to Freeze Chiles
If you do buy more chiles than you can possibly use in a week, you’ll want to freeze them.
First pat them dry or lay them flat on some paper towels to absorb some of the moisture. DO NOT PEEL them, the skins will help keep them moist. Freeze them flat in plastic bags and then stack the bags. Once they’re defrosted, the skin should easily slip off.
This low carb Hatch Chile Casserole doesn’t involve any stuffing, breading, or frying, so most of the work is in prepping the fresh chilies. Once you’ve got them skinned and cleaned, it takes just a few minutes to pull the casserole together.
We’ll have this for breakfast, lunch or even as a side dish to go with dinner. Since it’s vegetarian, it also makes a great entree. Did I mention that it works well with a Keto diet too?
Roast, and skin the chiles using plastic gloves.
Lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil. Line chiles on the bottom of baking dish.
Layer 1/3 of the cotija and sharp cheddar over chiles.
Add another layer of chiles.
Repeat, ending with a layer of both cotija and cheddar cheeses on top layer. Beat eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl and pour over chiles and cheese.
Bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes, or until cheese is hot and bubbly.
How to freeze this Chile Rellenos Casserole?
Yes! I usually freeze this casserole in squares after I’ve baked it. Wrap pieces well in plastic or foil and then seal in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.
Low Carb Hatch Chile Rellenos Casserole
- 1 1/2 pounds chiles, Hatch, poblanos, pasilla, or Anaheim chiles, charred, skins and seeds removed.
- 6 ounces queso fresco or cotija cheese, you can also substitute ricotta cheese for a similar texture and flavor.
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Roast chiles under the broiler or on a charcoal grill, turning often, until the skin is blackened. Place them in a paper bag and close tightly. When chiles are cool enough to handle, pull away and discard the seed and inside veins.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Brush olive oil on the bottom of a 10.5" x 7.5" baking dish. Line with chiles.
- Cover chiles with about 2 ounces of crumbled cotija and 4 ounces of shredded cheddar. Repeat twice, ending with cheeses on top. (three layers total)
- Casserole can be frozen. Cut into squares and wrap well.