You’re going to love this traditional vegetarian Mexican recipe. Rajas con crema or roasted poblanos in cream sauce is one of the best poblano peppers recipes. Easy to make and a perfect main or side dish.
You can easily make this recipe either vegetarian or vegan!
Table of Contents
What Are Rajas con Crema
When you picture authentic Mexican food you may think there’s not a whole lot of traditionally vegetarian or vegan options.
But that’s actually not true.
In Pre-Hispanic times meatless meals were quite the norm. Even after the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico, there continued to be plenty traditional vegetarian and even vegan foods.
Rajas con crema or fire roasted poblano peppers in cream sauce, is one of the Mexican dishes that is authentically or traditionally vegetarian.
Rajas con crema is also one of the very best poblano pepper recipes in Mexican cuisine!
This dish is made by roasting whole poblano peppers over an open flame on a gas and cooked until charred or to blacken their skin.
The poblanos are then placed inside a plastic bag to allow to sit and sweat. Next the thick blackened skin is peeled away. Then the stem is removed, they are seeded and sliced into thin strips.
Rajas means strips in Spanish.
The rajas are cooked with onion, corn kernels, Mexican crema and spices. Some people also like to add shredded cheese to make the dish even more decadent.
Roasted poblanos in cream sauce can be served as a main dish with some warm corn tortillas (or flour) and refried beans.
Or it can be served as a taco filling, or for quesadillas, gorditas, burritos, and empanadas. It also makes a great side dish.
You could even serve it as an appetizer with some corn chips. You may want to chop the poblano strips into smaller pieces.
This is a super delectable dish, that really has minimal effort. Fire roasting the poblanos will take the longest but you can do that ahead of time, if desired.
Rajas con Crema Ingredients
You can get these ingredients in just about any grocery store. Even in the US nowadays it’s not uncommon for supermarkets to carry fresh chiles.
In Mexico you can find frozen roasted poblanos ready to make this dish.
- whole fire roasted poblano peppers
- olive oil or vegetable oil
- white onion
- corn kernels (either fresh, frozen or canned)
- fresh epazote, optional
- crema Mexicana (or Mexican crema or vegan crema)
How to Make Vegan Rajas con Crema
To make this dish fully vegan simply swap the crema fresca for my vegan crema. You can find my easy recipe here. Simple as that! If you want to make it with vegan cheese, simply find one that melts well.
Traditionally this dish is just the previously mentioned ingredients. But some variations exist.
For example some meat eaters will add shredded chicken to make rajas con pollo. For a vegetarian take on this you can use chick’n strips or homemade seitan chicken, if desired.
When served as a side dish, sometimes people serve rajas with chicken breast.
Sometimes to give the vegetarian dish a little more protein, I will add sliced mushrooms. It’s actually quite delicious.
If you don’t have access to Mexican crema you can use French crème fraîche, or mix a some regular sour cream with a little bit of heavy cream — the later makes the creamy texture richer.
What Type of Corn To Use
Another variation, depending on where you’re located is the type of corn to use.
In Mexico we use white corn and it’s available fresh pretty much all year around. But you can use yellow corn instead, it’ll still be tasty just a little sweet.
Regardless of the color, see if you can use fresh corn kernels for optimal flavor and freshness.
If corn isn’t in season or you live in a place where it’s not available, then you can use canned or frozen. It’s also more convenient than having to slice the corn on the cob.
Use what’s available to you, all options taste fantastic.
What Cheese Should You Use
I don’t always add cheese to the dish. Though it tastes amazing with it, I’m not always in a mood for all that dairy.
When I do use cheese I’ll use either Oaxaca cheese, queso fresco, panela cheese, or queso menonita or manchego.
If you can’t find Mexican cheeses then either gouda or monterey jack cheese are good options.
I’ve seen people mix the crema with cream cheese for a creamy sauce and very decadent dish. I’ve never tried this so I can’t tell you how it taste.
How to Make Rajas con Crema
This dish is not difficult at all, but it can take a little extra time preparing the poblano peppers.
Do not skip roasting them. This helps not only remove the thick skin, but adds an immense amount of delicious flavor.
If you don’t have a gas stove you can roast under the broiler in your oven. Or in the air fryer or on top of a comal.
- Roast the poblano peppers on a gas stove. Watch this video guide.
- Sweat, peel, and deseed the poblanos.
- Slice into even sized strips.
- Sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Season with salt.
- Add the corn and sauté for 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and epazote and cook 2 more minutes.
- Mix in the poblano pepper strips.
- Mix in the crema and cook until warmed through.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust if desired.
- Serve as a main dish or side dish or filling.
How to Serve Rajas con crema
To serve rajas poblanas you can serve as I said with some refried beans and corn tortillas. Or you can use them to fill quesadillas or make tacos with. You could also stuff gorditas with them or top some sopes with the rajas.
If you wanted you could even use them as a stuffing for burritos. Really any way you eat the rajas con crema, you’re going to love them.
How to Store Leftovers
You can store leftover in and airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Remember this has dairy and you need to be careful with that.
Freezing is possible but I don’t really recommend it. My experience is that cream sauces don’t defrost well.
More Poblano Pepper Recipes
See amigos, wasn’t that incredibly easy to make? I think you’re going to love this dish as much as I do. Check out these other poblano pepper recipes you can try today.
- How to Roast Poblano Peppers
- Enchiladas Verdes with Roasted Poblano Pepper & Oaxaca Cheese
- Vegan Pozole Verde
- Vegetarian Chiles en Nogada (Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce)
- Corn and Poblano Pepper Soup with a Touch of Curry Powder
- Bean Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Ancho-Guajillo Chile Sauce
- How to Make Vegetarian Chiles Rellenos
- Easy Vegan Fajitas Recipe Video | For When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking
Delicious Rajas Con Crema Recipe (Vegan Option)
- 4 whole fire roasted poblano peppers peeled, seeded and sliced into strips
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small white onion halved and sliced
- 1/2 cup corn fresh, frozen or canned
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 leaf of epazote optional
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup Mexican crema or crème fraiche or vegan crema (more if desired)
- Fire roast the poblano peppers on the stove or place under the broiler to blacken on all sides. Place in a Ziploc bag or a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a lid. Allow to “sweat” for 10 minutes then peel away skin, deseed and slice into strips. (You can watch the video on how to roast the poblanos here.)
- In a large pan heat the oil then add the onion and a sprinkle of sea salt and sauté until soft. Then add the corn and sauté another 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and epazote and sauté another 2 minutes. Next add the sliced poblano peppers and mix until well combined.
- Add the crema and stir until well combined and warmed through. Next add sea salt and cook another few minutes before tasting and adjusting salt if necessary. Enjoy!
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…