Mexican Stuffed Peppers – Imagine your favorite taco in a healthy bell pepper shell!
Loaded up with protein, whole grains, veggies, and cheese to suit your taste, Mexican Stuffed Peppers pack deliciousness and flavor into an inexpensive, healthy pre-prepped lunch or dinner. And they’re freezer-friendly too!
When it comes to flexibility in easy meals, this Mexican stuffed pepper recipe offers many delicious choices. Here’s what you’ll need to make it, along with some popular variations to make them according to your favorite tastes.
How to make the best Mexican Stuffed Peppers
Below is a rundown of the ingredient options for making this Mexican stuffed pepper recipe. Keep in mind that these options are entirely up to you and that you can omit or swap out any of the ingredients to make the stuffed peppers exactly according to yours or everyone’s taste.
You can also scale down the overall ingredients into smaller filling mixtures to make each pepper individual to each member of your family’s taste.
So if the kids like chicken or beef, and you and your hubby want shrimp, you could easily swap out the protein in two of the peppers by dividing the rice mixture in half and mixing in the rest of the ingredients accordingly.
With that in mind, let’s get started.
Mexico is known for its vibrant, bright colors found everywhere in its lively culture, including its food. In the spirit of that tradition, choose a selection of colorful bell peppers (red, green, yellow, or orange) that are short and wide, making them easy to fill with tasty fillings. Bell peppers are usually sweet, but not at all spicy. Think of bell peppers as a healthier alternative to tortillas for stuffing taco ingredients.
Choose from chicken, ground beef, pork, turkey, or shrimp to satisfy your hunger. These lean, high protein options are ideal for spicing up with a blend of authentic Mexican flavors. Choose your favorite as the primary protein source to include or make this dish vegetarian by swapping out a 15-ounce can of rinsed and drained black beans, or try textured vegetable protein (TVP) instead.
As a note, be sure to cook your meat protein before stuffing it in the peppers.
Rice comes in many varieties and is delicious when paired with spices and seasonings as an ingredient for stuffing your peppers. It’s easy to flavor because it absorbs the essence of the liquids, seasonings, herbs, and spices that it’s cooked with, and it is easy to make as either a sticky or fluffy mixture.
As an alternative to white rice, I love using Rice Select Royal Rice (a blend of Texmati® White, Brown, Wild & Thai Red Rice). The rice blend is high in fiber, protein, nutrients, and is full of texture and flavor. If you prefer to make the Mexican-stuffed peppers without rice, you can opt for another grain like quinoa, or use a riced vegetable such as riced cauliflower.
A box or two of diced tomatoes should be a staple in every pantry. One 12-ounce box will add incredible flavor and make the filling moist and delicious. As a flavor alternative, diced fire-roasted tomatoes, tomatoes with green chilies, or stewed tomatoes will work too!
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Because they are full of protein, black beans are a super replacement to meat for vegan and vegetarian eaters or meatless Monday menus. The protein’s striking color adds an enticing eye appeal, and the flavor adds a lovely contrast that compliments the rice and other ingredients used in making the filling.
When boiled, corn adds a naturally sweet taste to the pepper ingredients you choose and adds a bit of bulk to the mixture in the filling.
While Monterey Jack or Cheddar Jack Cheese provides genuine flavor, you can also use other types of cheeses such as Pepper Jack or Habanero Jack Cheese for additional heat. Additionally, add a unique spin on this recipe using Cojita, Blue Cheese, or even feta cheese.
Whether you prefer more traditional toppings or lean towards more unconventional options, these Mexican Stuffed Peppers offer tried-and-true choices for expressing your creativity to make them burst with color and flavor! There is really no end to how flavorful these peppers can be. Keep these enticing toppings in mind for preparing them according to your exact taste preferences.
Yep! More cheese is probably the most common toppings for these Mexican Stuffed Peppers around our house, and for a good reason. What can I say, we do live in Wisconsin — Our favorite for topping is shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar with its creamy, tangy, slightly rustic taste from salt-like crystals of flavor called calcium lactate.
■ Sour Cream
Adding a slightly tangy, tart taste and thick, creaminess to your food is most definitely delicious, but it might not be the best option if you’re watching your waistline. According to the USDA, full-fat sour cream must contain at least 18 percent butterfat, but there are lighter and low-fat varieties available. Another alternative is to substitute with plain Greek yogurt as a healthier stand-in.
The Spanish word for coriander, cilantro is an herb from the fresh leaves and stems of the coriander plant used in many Mexican dishes. Many people either love it or loathe it. The folks who love it say that it has a pleasing flavor reminiscent of parsley and citrus. For those like me, I find the flavor to taste soapy and disgusting. But then Julia Child also publically announced her dislike of the herb in a television interview in 2002 with Larry King, where she told everyone that she hated cilantro. “So you would never order it?” Mr. King asked. “Never,” she responded. “I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.”
Me too, Julia!
If you’re one of the anti-cilantro folks, like me, you can avoid the soapy taste by swapping out parsley for cilantro. Which I ALWAYS do in the dishes I fix.
But if you do like cilantro, of course, use it as a garnish or ingredient for yourself; but as a favor to your table guests, when serving it, PLEEESE… include it only as an option in a separate dish. And I thank you😊!
Also known as green onions or spring onions, scallions are a root vegetable pulled from the ground before becoming fully grown and forming a bulb. When pulled early, it gives the onion, its hollow green stalks, and small white stems a mild flavor that’s perfect for chopping to use as a garnish on any Mexican-inspired dish.
A staple in Mexican cuisine used to add a zesty-ness to various foods; most salsas include tomatoes, peppers, onion, cilantro, and other vegetables or raw fruits. We have made our coveted salsa recipe for years that someday maybe I’ll share here on the blog, but until I do, you can find numerous salsa options most everywhere, and each flavor will transform your peppers before you eat them.
Made from mashed avocados, onion, garlic, peppers, lime juice, and seasonings, this creamy traditional Mexican topping is yummy on just about everything. Depending on your taste and how you choose to prepare it, the guacamole can be made creamy or chunky. To keep it simple, combine avocado with Wildtree Guacamole Seasoning for a superb topping that gets rave reviews from even the most die-hard “guac” lovers at our house!
The juice and lime zest (the thin shavings of the fruits outer peel) from this small citrus fruit adds a strong, punchy acidic taste that enhances the flavors of the other seasonings and ingredients in the filling. The natural zesty flavor of lime is an ideal substitute to salt for those concerned about their sodium intake.
- For vegan or vegetarian Mexican Stuffed Peppers, skip the meat protein and add one 15-ounce can of rinsed and drained black beans and one 14 ounces can of drained corn for a little extra sweetness into the rice.
- Dairy-Free Stuffed Peppers. Omit the cheese and top the finished peppers with Avocado Cream instead. Or use a dairy-free cheese alternative.
- Low-Carb or Keto Stuffed Peppers. Make the Mexican Stuffed Peppers without rice—using a filling made with ground beef and onions and mushrooms or cauliflower rice to add bulk to the servings but minimal calories or carbs.
The last thing you want to deal with is being frustrated because the peppers are falling over in the baking dish. If you’re having this problem, use a little bit of aluminum foil crunched into small balls to place between the peppers to hold them upright in the baking dish.
Let me know if you have tried this recipe. Do you have a favorite way that you make your Mexican Stuffed Peppers? Is there a secret ingredient that you use and might want to share?
Click the blue-green comment bubble at the bottom right corner of your screen to let me know in the comment area below. I would love to hear!
Mexican Stuffed Peppers
- Large skillet
- 8x8 Baking Dish
- Utensils (Chef’s Knife, Large Heat-proof Spoon, Measuring Cups & Spoons)
- 4 large Bell Peppers mixed colors
- 1 1/2 cups cooked Rice prepared per package directions
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 small Onion diced small
- 1 large half Chicken Breast cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 tablespoon ground Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Adobo Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Galore Seasoning Blend
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 12 ounces diced Tomatoes (1 box or can) with juices
- 1 1/4 cup Shredded Cheese Monterey Jack, Cheddar Jack, Pepper Jack, or similar cheese divided, plus more for serving
- Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly coat an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with a nonstick spray.
- Remove the stem from the top of each pepper so that its flat with the top of the pepper, cut off the top 1/2 -inch from each bell pepper, and arrange each pepper top cut side down in the prepared baking dish.
- Remove the membrane and seeds inside each pepper, place peppers cut side up on top of the pepper top in the baking dish. 
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, chicken, chili powder, adobo seasoning, cumin, garlic galore seasoning blend, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook until the onion is translucent, and the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Add the box of diced tomatoes and their juices. Let simmer for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the rice and half (3/4 cup) of the shredded cheese.
- Fill each pepper with the filling mixture, then top with the remaining shredded cheese.
- Carefully add about 1/2 cup water into the baking dish around the peppers (you want just enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes until the peppers are tender, and the cheese melts on top.
- Remove peppers from the baking dish, arrange on a serving platter. Garnish with more cheese and parsley (or cilantro) with the pepper tops on top. Serve with your favorite toppings in small dishes alongside.
(Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.)
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