Frito Chile Pie

Frito Chile Pie is a classic New Mexico dish - one that I have come to crave when I'm hibernating in the cold of winter, seeking comfort, or am in need of a hearty meal that sustains for hours. It's a dish I go to again and again, and this time I made it with a whole group of dear friends to check off "A dish you make with your closest friend" from the list of Creative Kitchen prompts.

If you're lookin' for a classic New Mexico meal filled with heat and heartiness, here you have it, folks. My partner and I always make this with an estimated amount of ingredients depending on how many folks we're feeding, so the following is a rough guess of how much you'll need (if it makes too much, enjoy the leftovers as more frito pies or as burritos!). The recipe that follows is the plant-based adaptation to this recipe (i.e. Earth Balance instead of butter, non-chicken bouillon, etc.).


Spanish Rice

Earth Balance (enough to coat bottom of medium frying pan)

2 cups Jasmine Rice

4 cups water

3-4 teaspoons Better than Bouillon Chicken powder


1-2 Tablespoons olive or coconut oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 zucchini squash, half moons 1-2 cups fresh or frozen corn

1-2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (depending on how many folks you're feeding)

3-4 green chiles, peeled, seeded, and diced (we use Wildharber Farm green chile. Fresh or frozen farm chiles work best if you have access, otherwise go for canned).

Toppings (not really optional):


-Corn chips. I actually ditch Fritos when it comes to these pies because the oil makes my stomach churn. I opt for blue corn tortilla chips instead.*

*There's a debate about whether to crush up the chips to sprinkle on top or stick 'em into the final layer of pie like little ships poking out of the ocean (I prefer the latter). See "Anatomy of Frito Chile Pie" at the end of this post for visual.


Spanish Rice:

1) Rinse the two cups of rice in a strainer under running water.

2) Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.

3) Add Earth Balance butter to hot pan until melted.

3) Pour rinsed rice into pan and stir around to get rice totally coated in the Earth Balance.

4) Toast the coated rice until it transitions from clear to more opaque. Don't let it brown, just let it get opaque.

5) Add four cups water to the rice.

6) Add 3-4 teaspoons of Better than Bouillon Chicken powder to the water. Break up cubes in the water.

7) When water is boiling, turn down the heat to a simmer. Cover pan and set timer for 15-20 minutes. Leave pan covered.

8) When timer goes off, remove lid. If all water is absorbed and some holes have appeared in the top surface of the rice, you're good to go.


1) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When warm, toss the 1 to 2 Tablespoons oil into the pan.

2) When oil is hot and melted, toss in the diced yellow onion. Saute until translucent (about 4-5 minutes).

3) Throw in the garlic and stir around for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

4) Toss in the diced squash, corn, beans, and chile. Saute until the squash are soft and everything is cooked through.


When all components of this meal are cooked, it's time to pile it together!

Everyone has a different approach to how they like to layer their

Frito pies, but I've provided a diagram of one popular method. Stack from top to bottom: rice, calabacitas, guac, chips.


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