Yesterday at around noon-ish (I think it was noon-ish…this whole spring forward business has me feeling all sorts of off), my kitchen was bustling with pepper preparations.
I had purchased all of the ingredients for these peppers about a week ago, and the peppers were showing signs of aging. It was time to make stuffed pepper magic.
Naturally, he was overly proud of his “accomplishment” and proceeded to leave the kitchen in complete disarray. Naturally.
Since Mr. Prevention doesn’t read my blog (lame!), I can safely say without repercussion that my peppers out-did his peppers…big time. He will also never know that I shared his F-bombing and hazardous actions in the kitchen. Though, he did give permission for me to blog about his endeavors, photos included. How thoughtful of him.
Anyways. My stuffed peppers…were awesome.
I hear about stuffed peppers a lot as a dietitian because they’re what I would refer to as a “mixed food”. When I’m discussing dietary intake with patients, I have to ask them to elaborate as to what is contained in their stuffed peppers because the recipe varies a lot from one kitchen and family to the next. Most “American” stuffed peppers include rice, tomatoes and/or tomato sauce or paste, ground beef, and cheese.
And now I’ll be honest. Nothing about that combination sounds appealing to me. At all, whatsoever.
But with a Mexican twist of rice, black beans, spices, corn, and cheese. NOW we’re talking. This combination suits my love affair with all things Mexican juuuussst fine.
By omitting meat and adding beans, you are cutting calories and fat and adding fiber, vitamins, and minerals…all while keeping these peppers with plenty of protein to tide over the meat-lovers in your life and to provide some serious staying power.
Only with 9 grams of fiber can 228 measly calories be substantial enough to be called a meal.
A thing of beauty: delicious, nutritious, quick, AND cheap. This is soooo my kind of recipe.
Black Bean and Rice Stuffed Peppers slightly adapted from Simply Life
1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
2 large red or green bell peppers, cut in half and cleaned
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
squeeze of lime juice (optional)
1/3 cup part-skim Mexican blend shredded cheese
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Turn on broiler to 550 F. Place halved and cleaned bell peppers on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment, face down. Broil for 4-6 minutes, until blackened. Place in airtight container or ziplock bag and let sit for 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel off skin.
Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Stir in beans and reduce heat to low. Stir in cooked rice, corn, and all seasonings and lime juice, if using. Warm through 1-2 minutes.
Return pepper halves to the lined baking sheet. Stuff each pepper half with rice and bean mixture. Top with cheese and bake about 12-15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro. Top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, if desired. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings (1/2 stuffed pepper each).
Nutrition Information (per serving): 228 calories; 5.8 g. fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 275 mg. sodium; 35.3 g. carbohydrate; 9 g. fiber; 11.3 g. protein
Result: Great Mexican flavors in this vegetarian fare! I’ve made stuffed peppers once before — a very similar recipe, actually. The only major difference was poblano peppers vs. bell peppers. The bell peppers are larger, generally speaking, so you can pack more stuffing in. The bell peppers are sweet without any heat, so for those no wanting any real heat, this is a better choice. I pumped up the heat with the cayenne – that stuff is potent so taste as you go…a little bit goes a long way. The cumin and lime juice work well together to create a very fresh, smokey-citrus blend. Quick to make…and cheap! Enjoy!
Money Matters: Red bell peppers, on sale, run $1 each and green bell peppers on sale run $0.68. To cut cost, I used one of each, but you could certainly use all green bell peppers. Half an onion is $0.30 and a can of black beans costs $1.10. Bags of frozen corn (12 oz) go on sale for $1 all the time — my corn was frozen from summer’s corn-on-the-cob…but we’ll put about a $0.20 price tag on the corn. The remaining ingredients estimate to ~$1.50 (rice, oil, cilantro, spices, garlic). The total cost of the recipe comes to $4.78 making the cost per serving $1.20.
Hi-ho, hi-ho…off to another work week we go. Have a great week!