Mexican Stuffed Peppers are made with colorful bell peppers filled with seasoned beef, rice and a fresh pico de gallo sauce then topped with cheese and baked until tender and golden. I like to serve the delicious peppers on a bed of charred corn with fresh tomatoes, avocado and multigrain chips on the side. This easy, no fuss dish is perfect for a weeknight meal.
This is a recipe that is easily adjusted to your own family’s preferences. Spices can be altered so that the stuffed peppers are as mild or hot as you like. Not cheesy enough, add some extra to the stuffing mixture but make sure to use a cheese that melts nicely. If you don’t care for beef, ground turkey makes a good substitute. Want something heartier, add some black beans to the mix. If you don’t want to prepare your own fresh pico de gallo, you can use a store bought refrigerated product or even a jarred salsa…just be sure to check the nutrition label as some jarred salsas are very high in sodium and sugar. And finally, you can eliminate the beef and double the cooked rice for a healthy vegetarian meal. If you do decide to make this a meatless meal, I would suggest adding a little more seasoning for extra flavor.
Mexican Stuffed Peppers
Serves 2 to 4 depending on the size of the peppers, adjust the recipe accordingly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 bell peppers, cut in half from top to bottom and seeded
- 1/2 lb. lean ground beef or turkey (1 c. cooked and drained of fat)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/2 c. chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c. cooked rice
- 1 tsp. chipotle Tabasco
- 1 c. homemade pico de gallo (see recipe below) or store bought fresh pico de gallo
- 1/4 c. grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
Mix the smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic and onion powders, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper together and set aside.
Place the peppers cut side down on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and steam for 3 minutes in a microwave. Carefully remove plastic wrap, drain any liquid, turn cut side up and let cool. (Optional step to reduce baking time and ensure the peppers are tender.)
Cook the ground beef in a sauté pan, breaking up any large chunks, about 5 minutes then drain any accumulated fat off the meat. (If you use turkey, you may have to add a teaspoon of oil while cooking to prevent sticking.) Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and when hot add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Add the spice mix, the cooked rice, chipotle Tabasco and the pico de gallo and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Remove from heat a let cool slightly.
Place peppers in a baking dish or on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Fill the peppers with the beef and rice mixture and sprinkle with the cheese. Place in a preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes until the mixture is hot and the cheese is just starting to brown. Remove from the oven and serve.
Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca)
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 red onion, chopped
- 1 – 2 jalapeño, stemmed, seeds removed and diced (depending on desired spiciness)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
- juice from a fresh lime
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
Toss the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice in a small bowl; season with the cumin, salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes for the flavors to meld.
These colorful Mexican stuffed peppers make a terrific weeknight meal as the filling can be made in advance and refrigerated until needed. The recipe is easily doubled and any leftover filling can be used in tacos, burritos or as a topping on nachos or salads. I hope you try this flavorful, quick and easy meal that is budget friendly and perfect for the next time you want a taste of Mexico on your plate.