Queso & Pepper Arepas with Kale-Avocado Salad & Chimichurri

Queso & Pepper Arepas

with Kale-Avocado Salad & Chimichurri

30 MIN
3 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Arepas are flatbreads made from masarepa (maize flour). They’re most popular in Colombia and Venezuela, where arepas have been part of the region’s cuisine for centuries. The word “arepa” comes from a local indigenous language and means, roughly, “cornbread.” These moist cakes with crispy crusts are traditionally sliced and stuffed. In our version, you’ll fill them with sautéed bell and poblano peppers, seared queso para freír (a delicious semi-hard cheese) and the intensely flavorful herb sauce chimichurri. You’ll also serve them with a tasty, hearty salad of kale, avocado and almonds.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    700 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Queso & Pepper Arepas with Kale-Avocado Salad & Chimichurri
Title
  • 4 oz Queso Para Freír
  • 1½ cups Masarepa
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 bunch Lacinato Kale
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Poblano Pepper
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • 1 bunch Parsley
  • 2 Tbsps Sliced Almonds
  • 1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Using a peeler, remove the lime rind, avoiding the white pith; mince to get 2 teaspoons of zest. Quarter the lime. Remove and discard the kale stems; thinly slice the leaves. Remove and discard the stems, ribs and seeds of the bell and poblano peppers; cut into large pieces. Slice the queso into 6 planks. Peel and mince the garlic; using the side of your knife, smash until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Roughly chop the almonds. Pit, peel and thinly slice the avocado; top with the juice of 2 lime wedges. Mince the parsley and cilantro leaves and stems; place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.

Make the dough & form the arepas:
2 Make the dough & form the arepas:

In a large bowl, combine the masarepa, lime zest, 1½ cups of lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; stir to form a stiff dough. Transfer to a clean, dry work surface. Using your hands, knead the dough for 20 to 30 seconds, or until smooth. Form into 6 equal-sized balls. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand to create ½-inch-thick discs.

Cook the arepas:
3 Cook the arepas:

In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the arepas. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Transfer to an oiled sheet pan. Bake 13 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through. (To test the doneness of your arepas, cut a small slit into their centers. The insides should be moist, but not gooey.) Remove from the oven.

Cook the peppers & queso:
4 Cook the peppers & queso:

While the arepas bake, wipe out the pan used to brown the arepas. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil; heat on medium-high until hot. Add the bell and poblano peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the queso. Cook 1 to 3 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.

Make the dressing & salad:
5 Make the dressing & salad:

While the arepas continue to bake, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, half the garlic paste, the juice of the remaining lime wedges and a drizzle of olive oil; stir to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium bowl, combine the kale, avocado and almonds. Add as much of the dressing as you’d like (you may have extra); toss to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the chimichurri & plate your dish:
6 Make the chimichurri & plate your dish:

In a bowl, combine the dressed parsley and cilantro, vinegar, remaining garlic paste and 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Halve the baked arepas horizontally; spread a thin layer of the chimichurri onto the cut sides. Divide the cooked peppers and queso between the arepa bottoms. Top with a spoonful of chimichurri and the arepa tops. Serve with the salad and any remaining chimichurri on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Using a peeler, remove the lime rind, avoiding the white pith; mince to get 2 teaspoons of zest. Quarter the lime. Remove and discard the kale stems; thinly slice the leaves. Remove and discard the stems, ribs and seeds of the bell and poblano peppers; cut into large pieces. Slice the queso into 6 planks. Peel and mince the garlic; using the side of your knife, smash until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Roughly chop the almonds. Pit, peel and thinly slice the avocado; top with the juice of 2 lime wedges. Mince the parsley and cilantro leaves and stems; place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.

2 Make the dough & form the arepas:

In a large bowl, combine the masarepa, lime zest, 1½ cups of lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; stir to form a stiff dough. Transfer to a clean, dry work surface. Using your hands, knead the dough for 20 to 30 seconds, or until smooth. Form into 6 equal-sized balls. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand to create ½-inch-thick discs.

Make the dough & form the arepas:
Cook the arepas:
3 Cook the arepas:

In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the arepas. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Transfer to an oiled sheet pan. Bake 13 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through. (To test the doneness of your arepas, cut a small slit into their centers. The insides should be moist, but not gooey.) Remove from the oven.

4 Cook the peppers & queso:

While the arepas bake, wipe out the pan used to brown the arepas. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil; heat on medium-high until hot. Add the bell and poblano peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the queso. Cook 1 to 3 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.

Cook the peppers & queso:
Make the dressing & salad:
5 Make the dressing & salad:

While the arepas continue to bake, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, half the garlic paste, the juice of the remaining lime wedges and a drizzle of olive oil; stir to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium bowl, combine the kale, avocado and almonds. Add as much of the dressing as you’d like (you may have extra); toss to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6 Make the chimichurri & plate your dish:

In a bowl, combine the dressed parsley and cilantro, vinegar, remaining garlic paste and 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Halve the baked arepas horizontally; spread a thin layer of the chimichurri onto the cut sides. Divide the cooked peppers and queso between the arepa bottoms. Top with a spoonful of chimichurri and the arepa tops. Serve with the salad and any remaining chimichurri on the side. Enjoy!

Make the chimichurri & plate your dish:
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