Stuffed Bell Peppers

Taco Style!

Any recipe that gives me different options and can be made all at once or prepped ahead of time is fabulous, and these stuffed bell peppers are delicious. I’ve made a few stuffed bell peppers in the past and I think I’ve finally hit the mark with these ones. I’ll even add some other variations to the stuffed bell peppers so you can see how adaptable it is, and will help clean out your pantry if need be.

Assemble all your ingredients, also known in French as “mise en place”. It’s the way of having all the things you need to make you dish handy and ready to go. It’s one of my favorite things I learned in culinary school. (You’ll be really sorry when you go to make cookies and find out you’re out of eggs.)

Sorry, I quickly snapped a picture of the ingredients below and realized I left a few out. I started with 1 pound of ground beef, 1 cup (uncooked) quinoa, fire roasted tomatoes, 4 bell peppers, a small can of tomato sauce, medium cheddar cheese, and taco seasoning.

Today, I browned the beef (seasoned with taco seasoning) and made the quinoa ahead of time. I mixed together all the ground beef, half of the quinoa, about 1 cup of cheese, and tomatoes and tomato sauce. I sliced off the top of 4 bell peppers, but this recipe could easily make 6. (Now I’ve got a great salad or can add it to some greens.) Remove the seeds and microwave each one for 45 seconds. (I think my peppers were smaller than usual. Also I recommend using peppers with four legs to stand on instead of three. If they are a bit wobbly, cut a little off the bottom so they stand up well.)

Add the filling to each pepper, being sure to pack it in and not over fill it. Top it with a bit of cheese and place them on a cookie sheet or a pie plate will work as well. Pop it in the oven for about an hour until heated through.

Add your favorite taco toppings and serve hot. I love sour cream, so I stuck with that, but these would be great with hot sauce or salsa, green onions, or even ranch. You could call it a complete meal as it is, or add a nice side salad.

Variations

You know I love options, so these stuffed bell peppers are great for people who need flexibility or just want to change up their flavors.

  • I used fire-roasted tomatoes because the flavor gives it a great punch, but you could leave it out and just add more tomato sauce or use diced tomatoes.
  • You could sub in black beans, white rice, or brown rice for the quinoa. I thought about adding in black beans too, but thought I’d keep it simple.
  • Try making it Italian instead of Mexican and instead of taco seasoning, use Italian seasoning and basil tomatoes or marinara sauce. Use mozzarella instead of cheddar and top with parmesan. Or go all crazy and use Italian flavored sausage instead of ground beef.
  • Use different colored bell peppers or just slice them in the other direction. There is no one right color or cut.
  • Go vegetarian with beans, tofu, and other grains.
  • Go Keto-friends with less grains.
  • Try other meats like turkey, pork, sausage, or add in dimensional protein flavors like bacon or pancetta.

This recipe is great for modifying for different dietary needs, and will be added to my recipe box for future meal ideas. Check out my other post on meal planning for more information.

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