Are you trying to avoid the “whites” (that’s rice, potatoes, and bread)? If so, you need this recipe for Southwestern Stuffed Peppers Without Rice.
That’s right! No rice. Instead, riced cauliflower stands in for the rice. Cauliflower-haters won’t even notice. All the other flavors and colors are sure to distract them.
This post has been revised and updated as of 6/29/2019.
Is this recipe Keto or Low-Carbohydrate?
This recipe is colorful and full of veggies. Nevertheless, it does not qualify for the Keto diet or a strict low-carbohydrate way of eating. The black beans, corn, and tomato sauce are disqualifiers.
Based on one average-sized bell pepper-half stuffed to the gills, there are 314 calories per serving. Besides that, you’ll get 19 grams of carbs, 21 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber. All in all, these are pretty good statistics.
Is there a difference between the various colors of bell peppers?
Which is your favorite? Red, green, orange, or yellow bell peppers?
I prefer red peppers because they taste milder. Same for the yellow and orange ones.
You can also use green peppers, which are the unripe version of red, yellow, and orange peppers. It is the same way green tomatoes turn red (or yellow or orange) as they ripen. Green bell peppers taste more pungent by comparison.
Use any color you like in this recipe.
What does “southwestern” mean in this recipe?
Cumin, chili pepper, and cilantro lend a distinctive southwestern flavor profile to this recipe. Black beans, Jack cheese, and corn continue the theme. If you like these flavors, I have a few other southwestern recipes such as Southwestern Eggplant Dressing, Southwestern Chicken-Stuffed Spuds, and Southwestern Jasmine Rice.
Possibilities for substitutions:
Use your creativity with this recipe. For example, leave out ingredients you don’t have or don’t like and add things you do.
Vary the meat and vegetables according to what is in your refrigerator. The recipe is only a jumping-off point.
Specific substitutions or deletions may alter the “southwestern” vibe. For example, using parsley instead of cilantro lends freshness and color but not the same exciting flavor as cilantro.
- Although the recipe calls for both beef and sausage, you could use all one or the other. Substitute turkey sausage if you like. Leave the meat out for vegetarian stuffed peppers.
- Substitute yellow squash for zucchini.
- Pinto beans can take the place of black beans.
- I like to use frozen Cauli-rice because it’s convenient. However, you can make it yourself. Get directions here.
- If you don’t have Jack or Cheddar cheese, use something that’s mild tasting and has a good melt.
- Parsley is a good substitute for cilantro if you’re not a fan or don’t have it.
How to roast bell peppers:
Roasting softens the bell peppers — no need to boil them.
Preheat a conventional oven to 450 degrees F.
How to make the filling (without rice):
How to stuff and bake bell peppers:
How to freeze and reheat peppers:
These stuffed peppers are a staple in my freezer.
If you are feeding a family:
Place the appropriate number of peppers into a casserole dish. Fill peppers but don’t add cheese or cilantro. Cover with plastic wrap, then cover with aluminum foil or slip into a plastic bag.
First, let them defrost in the refrigerator. Remove plastic wrap, then cover with foil. Heat in a conventional oven 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees F until hot. Add cheese in the last five minutes. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
For individual servings:
After stuffing the peppers, cover and refrigerate them. When cooled, wrap each stuffed pepper (no cheese or cilantro) with plastic wrap, then foil.
To serve, remove plastic wrap and foil. Pop individually frozen peppers into the microwave for 5-6 minutes and you’ve got a light supper.
What can I do with leftovers?
This recipe makes a lot. I revised it upward so I would have plenty of leftovers to freeze per the directions above.
Often, I end up with leftovers of the filling, depending on the size of the peppers. That’s when I pull out tortillas–corn or flour.
My favorite brand of flour tortillas is Tortilla Land. They are raw tortillas available at the grocery store. Cook them in a skillet at home. They are so much better than precooked tortillas in my opinion.
Make a burrito:
Slice the stuffed pepper shell into strips. Fill the tortillas with warmed stuffed-pepper goodness and sprinkle with more cheese. Wrap up like a burrito.
- 6-7 large bell peppers, halved (vertically, through the stem) with guts removed
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound breakfast sausage (regular or hot)
- Salt (approx 1 teaspoon) and freshly ground pepper (approx 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini, finely diced
- 1 1/4 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
- 1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, drained and well-rinsed
- 1 10 oz. bag of frozen riced cauliflower, cooked according to package directions
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 1-1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1-1/2 teaspoon chili powder or smoked chipotle chili powder
- 3/4 cup Monterrey jack or Cheddar cheese, shredded
- Garnish with chopped cilantro
- 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 10-15 minutes.
- When the peppers finish cooking, they should be tender with a few random dark spots. Turn them right side up and arrange in 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Turn oven back to 350 degrees.
- Meanwhile, sauté ground beef and sausage in a large skillet. Season with salt and pepper while cooking. Drain excess grease. Add onions and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes until soft. Add remaining ingredients except cheese and cilantro. Heat thoroughly. Zucchini will start to soften slightly when ready.
- 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. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Freezes well. If freezing to use later, don't add cheese. Allow frozen peppers to thaw. Cook from 20-30 minutes to reheat, adding cheese in last 10 minutes.
If preferred, you can make cauliflower rice from fresh cauliflower. See instructions here. You'll need approximately 1-1/2 cups cooked cauli-rice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 314 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 64mg Sodium: 558mg Carbohydrates: 19g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 6g Protein: 21g
If you make this and enjoy the recipe, it would help me and others if you would return to this post and leave a rating (on the recipe card itself underneath the picture). Although always appreciated, no comment is required. Thanks so much! Paula
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