It’s starting to finally feel like autumn. I love this weather because I get to wear all my favorite types of clothes: jackets, scarves, riding boots. What girl doesn’t want to always look like they’re going apple picking or horseback riding? This is also the perfect season to put pumpkin puree in everything and to buy spice scented candles. And, most importantly this means that I can finally turn the oven on without turning my 500 some square foot apartment into a sauna!
Therefore, I can make these amazing, slightly spicy and cheesy stuffed peppers. I’ve been experimenting a lot with stuffed peppers and I think this recipe is a good balance of healthy and filling. I use quinoa, black beans, and chicken. That’s a lot of protein and a ton of fiber to make these stuffed peppers a balanced meal. Plus it’s such a warm and cozy meal. I describe food as cozy, does that make me weird?
A note on the ways you can cut the peppers. You can either core them and cut them in half lengthwise, or you can chop off the tops and leave the pepper whole. Doing it the second way (tops off) is going to give you a HUGE portion of food. Also, I found it difficult to keep the peppers upright on a baking sheet this way, but it’s not impossible: see setup below. How crazy do stuffed peppers look in a muffin pan!? I gotta say, I was pretty impressed with my creativity here.
Throw a little sliced avocado on top for extra veggies. Is avocado season over in whatever magical land they grow in? I hope not, because I might start not liking autumn so much if that’s the case. Just kidding, that’s impossible.
- 2 red bell peppers, cored
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ red onion, diced finely
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup cooked quinoa (this means ½ cup dry, it will expand after it cooks)
- ½ cup black beans
- ½ cup shredded gouda, pepper jack, and cheddar blend (or “mexican blend” cheese)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Saute the garlic and onion until fragrant and until the onions are soft.
- Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, Sriracha, salt, and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Add the chicken, and cook uncovered until chicken is browned and fully cooked.
- Add the black beans, stir until combined, and let it come down to at least room temperature.
- Cook the quinoa in the meantime, or cook it in advance and keep it handy.
- Cut the peppers in half lengthwise or cut the tops off and pull out the core that way.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken mixture, quinoa, and mexican cheese.
- Stuff each pepper generously with the mixture. Top with a sprinkle of more shredded cheese.
- Arrange peppers onto a baking sheet, stuffing side up. Spray with oil spray and bake uncovered in the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until brown on top.
- For the cooked quinoa, feel free to use my recipe, but I would skip out on all the vegetables, and just cook it plain with chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Also, the dish will turn out best if the quinoa is slightly undercooked and cooled before you combine it for the stuffing. In fact, you can cook the entire stuffing a day in advance (minus the cheese), take it out of the fridge, add cheese, stuff and bake!