September 28, 2014

Stuffed Peppers

As evidenced by last week's post on breakfast cups, I love the convenience of all-in-one meals. It reduces cooking and cleaning time since you only have to make one dish, and eating is faster, too, since you can eat everything at the same time. This recipe is great because you get your protein, your vegetables, your starch, and even some dairy all in one relatively healthy bite. These stuffed peppers have a bit of Mexican flair with chorizo, a good amount of heat, black beans, and pepper jack cheese. However, you could experiment with other cuisines as well. An Italian-style stuffed pepper would be delicious if you used spicy Italian sausage, cannellini beans, orzo, and mozzarella. You can also mix and match your favorite ground meats, beans, cheeses, and any other ingredient you can think of an alternative for.

If there is one ingredient you should keep the same, it's the bell peppers. This is a recipe for stuffed peppers, after all. You can use whichever color you like (or whatever is on sale), but try to get ones that are about the same size so that you end up with relatively equal portions that cook for the same length of time. To prep them, cut the tops off, remove the core and seeds, and blanch and shock the peppers (boil them for a few minutes and then plunge them into an ice bath). I had to blanch mine in batches, but it's definitely worth the extra step because it preserves the color and makes the peppers more crisp, which is important if you are going to bake them for a while.

It's also important to precook the filling. I'm not worried about raw beef or sausage, but I do want all of the flavors to fully combine. I start by cooking the meats together. I recommend a mixture of chorizo and beef--chorizo for the fat and flavor and beef for the heartiness. You can substitute any other ground meat or sausage if you prefer. Once they release some fat, I add the onions, peppers, and garlic; they soak up that fat (and therefore the flavor). I'm not looking to brown the vegetables, but I do want them translucent and fragrant. After that, I add in the diced fresh tomatoes, black beans (drained from a can), and precooked rice. I like to cook my rice in a mixture of chicken broth and water for more flavor, but there will be enough flavor from the rest of the dish that using just water is fine, too. Whatever I end up using, I use a little less than I'm supposed to so that the rice can still soak up the liquid from the filling without becoming too saturated.

The filling is all cooked together in one big skillet, which makes assembly even easier. I transfer the cooled peppers to a baking sheet, add in a big scoop of the filling (it should come up to the edge of the pepper), and bake for 20 minutes or so. Once they are done cooking, I top each pepper with a slice or two of pepper jack cheese (or whatever cheese I happen to have--either shredded or sliced), and broil them until the cheese is golden and bubbly. One pepper is definitely big enough for a meal, and it's full of hearty, meaty, cheesy, starchy, vegetable-y goodness.

6 Bell Peppers
¾ lb Ground Beef
⅓ lb Chorizo
1 Large Yellow Onion, Diced
1 Habanero, Minced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
½ tsp Cayenne
2 tsp Chili Powder
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Onion Powder
3 T Tomato Paste
3 Plum Tomatoes, Diced
1 Cup Black Beans
1 ½ Cups Cooked Rice
6 Slices Pepper Jack Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water.

Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Place in the boiling water, working in batches if necessary, and cook for two minutes. Immediately drain and transfer to the ice water bath and let sit until cool.

Heat oven to 350ºF. Line a glass baking dish with foil.

Heat some oil in a large skillet. Add the ground beef and chorizo and cook for 4 minutes or until beginning to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the habanero and garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then stir in the cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and tomato paste. Stir in the tomatoes, black beans, and rice.

Scoop the filling into the peppers. Transfer to the prepared dish and bake for 20 minutes. Top each pepper with a slice of cheese and broil until golden and bubbly.

Makes 6


  1. Hi Kayla,
    Great recipe. I love stuffed peppers. It is one of my favorite comfort foods from my childhood. Love the blog and name. Good job!!

    1. Thank you so much! There's just so much you can do with them and they're perfect for a relatively quick dinner on chilly nights.