Making stuffed peppers is exciting because you are basically working with a blank canvas! This dish is endlessly customizable. You can stuff them with anything and everything you want! ANY meat, ANY vegetables, and ANY rice, pasta, grains, etc. They make the perfect “whatever’s in the cupboard/fridge” dinner option.
My inspiration for today was to essentially build a tortilla-less burrito. So I filled the peppers with brown rice, black beans, diced tomatoes, diced jalapeño, corn, cilantro, and lime. I was also craving some avocado so I decided to top the peppers with a drizzle of creamy avocado-lime ranch dressing. Lastly, I finished each pepper with a sprinkle of Mexican cheese. I also made sure to make a TON of extra salsa so that I could enjoy it throughout the week with some homemade tortilla chips. (Healthy snack! High five!)
Southwestern Stuffed Peppers
For the salsa:
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can corn, drained
- 1 small container of grape tomatoes
- 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
- 1 lime (zest + juice)
- 1 jalapeño
- salt and pepper (to taste)
For the stuffed peppers:
- 4 or 5 bell peppers (any color you like)
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/4 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend
For the avocado-lime ranch dressing:
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime (zest + juice)
- 1/3 c. ranch dressing
To make the salsa
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the brown rice according to package directions.
- While the oven is preheating and the rice is cooking, begin to prepare the salsa. Add the corn and black beans to a large mixing bowl.
- Chop up the grape tomatoes and add those to the mixing bowl as well. (I quartered the grape tomatoes in order to get nice small chunks.)
- Zest and juice one lime directly into the bowl. Add the chopped cilantro. Season the mixture with salt and pepper (I used 2 pinches of salt which is probably just shy of 1 Tbsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper).
- Dice 1 jalapeño pepper. If you don’t want your stuffed peppers to be insanely spicy, make sure to remove the jalapeño seeds before you dice the jalapeño. Add this to the mixing bowl.
- Stir gently to combine ingredients.
To make the stuffed peppers:
- Slice the top off of each pepper and remove the meat and seeds from the middle. Then, gently cut a small sliver from the base of each pepper. This will help the pepper sit upright without tipping over.
2. Prepare the filling for the peppers. In a large bowl, combine the 2c. of cooked brown rice with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the salsa mixture.
3. Spoon the filling into each bell pepper. Pack the filling tightly and add enough filling so that the pepper is well stuffed. In the bottom of a baking pan (any pan big enough to fit your peppers) add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the peppers into the pan and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until peppers are cooked through.
To make the avocado-lime ranch dressing:
- Cut the avocado in half and scoop the meat into a food processor. Puree for 30 seconds.
- Add 1/3 c. of ranch dressing to the food processor with the avocado. Blend until smooth (30-45 seconds).
- Pour the avocado ranch dressing into a bowl. Add the zest and juice of one lime, as well as a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
To finish the peppers:
- Once the peppers are done cooking, remove them from the oven. Sprinkle the tops of each pepper with Mexican cheese blend. Return the peppers to the oven for a few minutes so the cheese can melt.
- Once the cheese has melted, plate each stuffed pepper. (I usually serve them in bowls because once you start cutting into it, it can get a little messy!)
- Drizzle each pepper with avocado ranch dressing and serve. Bon appétit!