Stuffed peppers with ground beef, Mexican seasonings, spicy peppers, black beans, corn, and fire-roasted tomatoes. Cheese is sprinkled on top and baked until melty right before serving to lock all the flavors together. A satisfying individually portioned meal loaded with protein and veggies!
Make vegetables the star of the dish by stuffing bell peppers with a savory ground beef filling. Choose your favorite colored pepper, remove the tops, and load in the hearty Mexican-inspired ingredients and melty cheese.
Bell peppers are the perfect way to deliver a complete meal all in one edible bowl. The hollow centers beg to be filled with any ingredient mix you can dream up. I used tender beef, sweet corn, diced tomatoes, onions, and beans for a hearty combination.
How to make stuffed peppers
- Preheat oven to 375ºF (191ºC).
- Cut peppers to 3-inch tall and remove the seeds and membrane.
- Arrange peppers in a greased 10-inch cast iron pan or baking dish.
- Make the filling by sauteing onions, garlic, serrano pepper, and beef. Season with cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder.
- Stir in chopped bell pepper, black bean, corn, diced tomatoes, green onions, and cheese.
- Stuff each bell pepper with about ¾ cups of beef mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then sprinkle on more cheese. Bake until melted, and garnish with green onions.
Bell pepper selection
Each stuffed bell pepper color gives a slightly different taste; green has a stronger bitter flavor, while yellow, orange, and red are sweeter in taste. I use a variety for a mix of colors and flavors.
The tops can be cut off or split down the middle to create boats. The peppers do not need to be blanched before stuffing. They will soften as they roast with the filling. Use a fork to pierce the outside of the vegetables to ensure they are tender.
Maximizing ground beef flavor
The ground beef cooks first before placing inside the peppers. To give the meat a boost of flavor, season with ground cumin, paprika, and dried chili peppers.
Chopped serrano peppers add a little heat, but don’t be afraid to add more if you like spicer foods. Ground turkey is a tasty substitute for those looking for a poultry option and reduced amounts of saturated fat.
Types of stuffing ingredients
The browned meat gets mixed with canned black beans, corn, fire-roasted tomatoes, and green onions. Using canned products make for a quick and convenient filling. However homemade beans are affordable and easy to make, and corn on the cob can be cooked in just minutes!
I also chop up some of the bell pepper tops and use that in the stuffing so none goes to waste, and it adds some crunch. Cooked rice and quinoa are other tasty add-ins for a more substantial meal. Give the peppers a European twist by using Italian seasoning, mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, and top with tomato sauce.
Make it low carb or keto
It’s easy to make this recipe keto diet and low carb friendly by removing the corn and beans, and substituting in zucchini, spinach, carrots, or kale.
Make ahead of time
The peppers can be stuffed and then baked when ready to serve. They will last up to 5 days unbaked. You can also bake and then pack them away for meal prep throughout the week!
Make it a complete meal
Select the right kind of ground beef
There are many types of ground beef available, for stuffed peppers use an 80-90% lean meat to 10-20% fat ratio like ground chuck, ground round, or ground sirloin. They will give a good balance of beefy flavors with some fat so that the meat texture is not dry. If the meat is too high in fat, it will taste greasy.
- 8 large bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil , plus more for greasing pan
- 1 cup white onion, ¼-inch dice
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced serrano pepper
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup bell peppers, ¼-inch dice, from the tops of peppers
- 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup yellow corn, drained
- 1 cup diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
- ¼ cup sliced green onions, plus more for garnish.
- ¾ cup shredded Mexican cheese , Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, plus more for sprinkling
- Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 375ºF (191ºC).
- Cut the tops off the bell peppers, leaving 3-inches of the bottom for stuffing. Dice the tops of the pepper, 1 cup to add into the filling.
- Grease the sides and bottom of a 10-inch cast iron skillet or baking dish with olive oil. Arrange the peppers inside.
- Lightly season the insides of the peppers with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, once hot add in the onions, garlic, and serrano pepper. Saute until onions are tender, 3 minutes.
- Add in the ground beef, breaking into smaller pieces. Cook until no longer pink, 4 minutes.
- Add the cumin, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and chili powder, stir to combine.
- Add in 1 cup of diced bell peppers, saute for 1 minute.
- Add in the black beans, corn, tomatoes, and green onion, stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Turn off the heat and add in ¾ cup cheese, stir to combine.
- Taste the beef filling, add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Add about ¾ cup of filling to each bell pepper.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the bell peppers are tender.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of cheese on top of each one.
- Bake until cheese is melted 2 minutes.
- Serve stuffed peppers garnished with green onions.