Sweet bell peppers are tasty little vessels for this Southwest-style stuffing, chock- full of fiber-rich corn, black beans and cilantro. Plus, there’s no need to parboil the peppers to give them tenderness, since they’ll be slowly simmered all day in a smoky tomato sauce.
1/4 cup whole plus ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
1 lb extra-lean ground beef
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups grated zucchini
1 small jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 15-oz BPA-free can or 12/3 cups cooked black beans
3/4 cup grated Mexican-blend cheese, divided
6 red, green or yellow bell peppers, tops and seeds removed and discarded
In a blender, process tomatoes, 1/2 cup onion, 2 whole cloves garlic, 2 tsp chile powder, 1 tsp cumin, oregano, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 cup whole cilantro until smooth. Pour 1/2 cup mixture into a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker and set remaining mixture aside.
In a large bowl, add beef, remaining 1 tsp chile powder, 2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp salt, black pepper and zucchini. With your hands, mix thoroughly until well combined. Add minced garlic, remaining 1 cup onion, jalapeño, corn, chopped cilantro, beans and 1/2 cup cheese; mix until well combined.
Pack beef mixture tightly into peppers, dividing evenly. Arrange peppers, cut side up, in slow cooker. Pour remaining tomato mixture over top. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese on peppers and cook for 10 more minutes, until cheese melts. Serve peppers with sauce, dividing evenly.
Serving Size: 1 stuffed pepper and 1/3 cup tomato sauce
Mexican food often gets pegged being unhealthy, but our Mexican-style stuffed bell peppers prove the contrary! We’ve doubled up on fiber-rich beans and sweet corn while still packing in juicy beef, so you get all the flavor with less fat. Serve with lime wedges and brown rice or quinoa.
For an eye-catching contrast of colors, try using red or tricolor quinoa. To save time, buy the frozen spinach that’s already chopped and thaw it in your fridge overnight; just be sure to squeeze it dry before using.
Stuffing peppers is a fun way to serve a perhaps otherwise overlooked grain salad at your next backyard get-together. Cubanelle peppers are an ideal choice thanks to their mild spice, thin walls and narrow cone-like cavity.