Grain-free and full of vegetables–these Southwestern Stuffed Peppers Without Rice are mildly spicy and so satisfying. They freeze well so make them up ahead of time, freeze, and wrap each pepper individually for a quick supper.
Do you have hours of operation posted in your kitchen? I don’t have a sign, but they are imprinted in my mind. Of course, seriously hungry people and grandchildren are welcome 24 hours a day, but meal preparation isn’t usually happening (except for holidays and parties) after 7 pm. I’ll admit this is a perk of being retired, but it also helps me avoid the addictive evening-snack habit.
When my husband comes home late from work or Bible study and the kitchen is unofficially “closed,” I frequently retrieve these individually-wrapped Southwestern Stuffed Peppers Without Rice from the freezer. They will microwave from frozen hard to fragrant and steamy within minutes. Eat straightaway or slice them to make a comforting filling for a flour tortilla–a veggie burrito of sorts.
My original recipe calls for rice, but this time, I substituted cauliflower rice to reduce the carbs. (This is a great way to use leftover cauliflower rice.) The spices and variety of flavors in this recipe completely camouflage the taste of the cauliflower. Don’t tell the cauliflower haters in your life because they probably won’t even notice. Leave out the beans if you want to lower the carb count even more.
You can use green peppers or the sweeter and milder red, yellow, and/or orange bell peppers. No zucchini? Use yellow squash–or leave it out. No black beans? Use pinto beans. Leave out the corn if you prefer. This is a good clean-out-the-vegetable-drawer recipe.
If you prefer to use rice instead of cauliflower, see my original recipe here.
- 4 large bell peppers, halved (vertically, through the stem) with guts removed
- 1½ to 2 cups cooked cauliflower, riced (or chopped very finely), and sautéed or steamed (See notes)
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground sausage (regular or hot)
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup black beans, drained and well-rinsed
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder or smoked chipotle chili powder
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ½ cup Monterrey jack or Cheddar cheese, shredded
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large jelly-roll pan with foil. Spray outside of pepper halves with oil. Arrange peppers cut side down on prepared pan; bake on lower rack 15 to 20 minutes. When finished cooking and tender with a few random dark spots, turn right side up and arrange in 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Turn oven back to 350 degrees.
- Cook cauliflower rice if not already done and set aside.
- Meanwhile, sauté ground meat in a large skillet. Add a little salt and pepper while cooking. Drain excess grease. Add onions and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes until soft. Add cooked cauliflower rice, zucchini, corn, black beans, tomato sauce, spices, and heat thoroughly.
- Spoon hot veggie mixture into cooked pepper halves. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Cook in 350 degree oven until heated through and cheese is slightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Freezes well.
Cauliflower will reduce drastically, possibly more than half, when you steam or sauté it. Don't worry about getting exactly 2 cups of cooked cauliflower. A little more or less is not a big deal.