Stuffed peppers filled with ground beef, Mexican-inspired seasonings, black beans, corn, and fire-roasted tomatoes. They make for delicious individual portions loaded with protein and veggies!
Table of Contents
Stuffed bell peppers are the perfect way to deliver a complete meal in one edible bowl. You can fill the large hollow centers with any protein and vegetable combination you can dream up. Once you get the concept down, feel free to experiment with it from there. The recipe is also great for batch cooking or meal prepping for the busy week ahead.
Adding flavor to the beef
Cooking the ground beef in a hot pan, first browns the proteins for enhanced flavor before stuffing. It’s then seasoned with ground spices like cumin, paprika, and dried chili powder. The drying process intensifies the taste of the seasonings, which then transfers to the meat and vegetables.
Chopped serrano peppers add a little heat, but don’t be afraid to add more if you like spicier foods. Ground turkey or chicken can be easily substituted for those looking for a poultry option that has a reduced amount of saturated fat.
There are so many different types of peppers, but bell peppers work best for their size and shape. They come in various colors and flavors. Green has a more pungent bitter taste, while yellow, orange, and red have a slight sweetness. You can cut the tops to make bowls or split them down the middle to make boats.
The bowl shape stands up nicely in a skillet and on a sheet tray. The peppers do not need to be blanched before stuffing as they soften during the roasting process. After baking, use a fork to check if the peppers are tender. If they pierce easily they’re ready.
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 tops of the bell peppers and use them in the stuffing. This reduces waste, and it adds extra crunch.
How to make stuffed peppers
Cut the tops off the bell peppers so the bottoms are about 3 inches tall. The width will vary between peppers, but this size ensures that it can fit about ¾ cup of beef. Use a large spoon to remove the white seeds and membranes, then season the insides with salt and pepper.
Arrange the peppers in a greased 12-inch cast iron pan or baking dish. Stuff the peppers and then bake until tender for about 30 minutes. I like to melt some cheese on top before serving.
Customize the recipe
Adding brown rice, white rice, or quinoa are other tasty add-ins for a more substantial meal. Give the peppers a European twist using Italian seasoning, mozzarella, or Parmesan cheese, and top with tomato sauce. It’s also easy to make this recipe adhere to the keto and low-carb-friendly diet by removing the corn and beans. I would then substitute in zucchini, spinach, carrots, or kale.
Make it a complete meal
Select the right kind of ground beef
There are many types of lean ground beef available at the market. I use an 80-90% lean meat to 10-20% fat ratio for stuffed peppers. Ground chuck, ground round, or ground sirloin are flavorful options. They will give a good balance of beefy flavors while the fat ensures the meat doesn’t dry out. However, if the meat is too high in fat, the texture will taste greasy.
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- 8 large bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1 cup white onion, ¼" dice
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced serrano pepper, plus slices for garnish
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup bell peppers, ¼" 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
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 375ºF (191ºC).
- Prepare the Bell Peppers – Cut the tops off of each bell pepper, leaving about 3 inches of the bottom for stuffing. Remove the membrane and seeds. Chop the top pieces into ¼" dice, about 1 cup. Set aside.Grease the sides and bottom of a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or casserole baking dish with olive oil. Arrange the peppers inside. Lightly season the insides of the peppers with salt and pepper.
- Prepare the Aromatics – Chop the onion into ¼" dice. Mince the garlic. Cut the serrano pepper in half, remove the seeds, membrane, and stem, then mince.
- Saute the Aromatics – Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add diced onion, minced garlic, and minced serrano pepper. Saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
- Cook the Beef – Add in the ground beef, breaking it into smaller pieces. Cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. To season, add the cumin, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and chili powder, and stir to combine.
- Cook the Vegetables – Add in 1 cup of diced bell peppers, and 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, and add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Stuff the Peppers – Add about ¾ cup of filling, enough to fill each bell pepper.
- Bake the Peppers – Bake until the peppers are tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of cheese on top of each one. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.
- Garnish and Serve – Serve garnished with green onions and thinly sliced serrano peppers.
- Make it Keto or Low Carb: Omit the corn and beans and substitute with zucchini, spinach, carrots, or kale.
- Make Ahead: The peppers can be stuffed and then baked when ready to serve. They will last up to 5 days unbaked.
- Storing: You can bake, cool completely, and then pack them away in an airtight container for meal prep throughout the week.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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