Greens and Beans with Red Chile and Fresh Cheese

Frijoles y Quelites en Chile Guajillo con Queso Fresco
Servings: 4(enough for 12 tacos)



Heat the oil in a large (4-quart) saucepan over medium.  One or 2 at a time, fry the chiles until they’re aromatic and change color (they’ll lighten a little on the inside and brown on the outside), 10 seconds or so on each side.  Remove to a bowl, cover with hot tap water, weight with a plate to keep them submerged and rehydrate for about 20 minutes.  Set the pan aside.

Scoop the chiles into a blender jar, along with 2/3 cup of the soaking water.

Add the garlic, oregano and pepper and blend to a smooth puree. (If the mixture won’t move through the blender blades, add a little more of the soaking liquid to loosen it up.)

Return the oily pan to medium-high heat.  When hot, set a medium-mesh strainer over the pan and press the chile mixture through. Discard the skins and seeds left in the strainer.  Cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the consistency of tomato paste, about 4 minutes. Pour in 3/4 cupwater, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring regularly, until the sauce takes on a medium consistency, about 5 minutes.  Taste and season highly with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon; adding about ½ teaspoon sugar will bring out the natural fruitiness of the chile and balance the heat a little.

Add the kale and beans to the sauce all at once, tossing to coat with the
guajillo sauce. Cook, stirring often, until the kale wilts, about 3 minutes. Transfer themixture to a warm serving bowl. Sprinkle the queso fresco on top and you’re ready to serve.  If you’re like me, that’ll include plenty of warm tortillas for making tacos.



  1. Greetings,
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes and knowledge of the Mexican kitchen.
    In the video for this recipe you say that you cook the chile mixture for about 20 minutes after you first cooked it down to a paste and then added water. But in the posted recipe you mention cooking it only about 5 minutes. Is 5 minutes long enough? Thanks!

    1. Wow Karen – great eye! Yes – 20 minutes will give a more mellow flavor but after only 5 minutes the raw flavor will be cooked out. Any amount of time in between those will work.

  2. Wish I’d known about cooking the sauce down longer cause I tried this last night and it was not good. When I try a new dish I follow the recipe exactly. The only change was I put in only 1/2 the salt. You can always add more to taste but taking out not so easy. Anyways, I tasted the sauce before adding the greens and beans. Yuk! All I tasted was salt. Thinking it might just be me I had my husband try it. He said it tasted flat. Suggested I add the rest of the salt. With the greens and beans added it still did not taste very good. With the cheese and some hot sauce the stuff was edible…sort of. At least the canned Goya beans were good.

    I’ve never had one of Rick’s recipes come out so bad. So perhaps I did something wrong? Could it be that the 5 minute cooking of the sauce just isn’t enough? Or could I have screwed up somewhere else? I’d love to hear comments from others who have tried this recipe.

      1. Yes, I added the sugar. But the sauce still had that flat/off taste. And the chilies were from a new bag. They smelled very good, weren’t broken etc. That’s why I wondered if the 20 min. cooking was what was lacking.

        1. My only other thought could be that you over fried the chiles in the first step – making the chiles taste bitter instead of toasty. If the sauce tastes slightly raw still, then frying the sauce for longer than 5 minutes would help with the raw flavor, but it will not correct the bitter – burnt chile flavor.

          1. Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind when I try the recipe again. Ii’ve dry toasted chilies but not oil toasted them.

  3. I’m confused, now. I don’t see where Rick says to simmer it for 20 minutes. After he added the water, then the salt and sugar he says, “You gotta let it simmer for a little while to let all the seasonings come together”. The only 20 minute referral I noticed was the soaking of the chiles.
    I bought the chiles and kale tonight, so I’ll try it and see how it turns out. Looks delicious!

  4. One terrific recipe that my wife and I really enjoyed. FWIW I let the sauce boil down for 20 minutes and the flavor was excellent. Two words to the wise: (1) when oil toasting the chilies keep a close eye on them for they can go from “toasted” to “burnt” in the blink of an eye, and (2) when adding “2/3 cup” of the soaking liquid note (as RIck did in the video) that being precise isn’t necessary. What is important at this step is to ensure the end result of blending the chilies produces a liquid thin enough to strain. That my well require more than 2/3 cup. I certainly did when we tried this recipe for the first time. In any event, it’s a delicious dish ! Slainte !

  5. What a great way to get greens in my kids diet. It looks so good and very easy to make for a quick weeknight dinner. I’ll be making it this week, thanks Rick.

    1. It’s a crowdpleaser for sure. If you’re really pressed for time, cooking the beans with a jar of guajillo salsa (instead of the sauce)is a good substitute. But the sauce is so good it’s worth making!

  6. This has become a real favorite in my house, it’s hearty and deeply satisfying. I’m a dyed in the wool meat eater, but this is a vegetarian meal where I don’t miss the meat one bit! I also really like this sauce without the beans and greens for enchiladas stuffed with queso fresco, shredded chicken, or black beans. The flavor is excellent, and the lack of heat doesn’t mean a lack of flavor.

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