Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers – Mexican-style

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These easy, cheesy, Mexican-inspired vegetarian stuffed peppers are filled with healthy grains, quinoa, black beans, and tons of flavor. Leave out the cheese for a vegan option!

Vegetarian stuffed peppers in a baking dish

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Are these gorgeous or what? Seriously, this might be the most fun I’ve ever had photographing a recipe.

But… I guess you’re probably more interested in how fun they are to eat!

And the answer is first-day-of-summer-vacation fun! No joke! They’re colorful, cheesy, not too heavy, and FULL of flavor. A full-on Mexican fiesta in your mouth.

Pair these with a margarita or a pitcher of sangria and it might be the most fun you’ll ever have at the dinner table. Even in the middle of January.

Did I mention they were super healthy? Crazy, right? And super easy to make? Ladies and gentlemen, I think we may have the perfect meal right here.

By the way, I’m so crazy about stuffed peppers all of a sudden that I came up with a Mediterranean stuffed pepper recipe with couscous that will knock your socks off. Check them out! Or if you’re looking for a meaty stuffed pepper option try this cubanelle pepper recipe!

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Ingredient Notes

Quinoa Medley

I love to use a quinoa medley that includes rice and other grains for this recipe, as I find it’s hearty but not too heavy. My blend includes quinoa, brown long rice, millet, amaranth, and split red lentils. 

Here’s one blend you can get online or from Whole Foods, and you probably have others at your grocery store.

If you prefer, you can also definitely use all quinoa, all rice, all lentils, or even couscous!

You could also make your own blend, just be sure to pay attention to the cooking times of each to make sure they’re roughly the same.

The Spices

The spices used in this recipe basically amount to a homemade taco seasoning.

I love to make my own blend, and always have these spices in the house, but if you have a store bought taco seasoning that you like, you can substitute 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning for the chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, and oregano.

How to make vegetarian stuffed peppers step-by-step

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cook 1/2 cup quinoa medley or other grains (see note above) according to the package directions. You will end up with about 1 1/2 cups of cooked grains (most grains triple in volume as they cook).
  2. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Chop 1/2 a medium yellow onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown.
  3. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon of oregano.
  4. Add 1 1/2 cups of crushed or strained tomatoes, and 1 can of black beans.
steps for making stuffed pepper filling

5. Stir to combine, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Stir in the cooked grains.

quinoa being added to filling for stuffed peppers

7. Add the cilantro (or use parsley if cilantro’s not your thing) and 1 cup of grated Monterey Jack to the filling.

8. Stir to combine.

cheese and cilantro being added to stuffed pepper filling

9. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with olive oil. Slice 4 bell peppers in half from top to bottom, stem and seed them, and place them cut side up in the baking dish. Divide the filling between the peppers.

10. Sprinkle the stuffed peppers with the remaining cup of cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is golden and the peppers are tender.

colorful bell peppers, halved and stuffed with vegetarian quinoa mixture and sprinkled with cheese

To serve, sprinkle with cilantro (or parsley). If you like, you can top them with avocado, or sour cream or some chopped red onion.

This is really an all-in-one meal, so you can serve them on their own, or with a green salad. They also make a lovely side dish!

Stuffed peppers in a large baking dish

How to Meal Prep stuffed peppers

Part of the beauty of this dish is how perfect it is for meal prep. You can:

  • Make the filling ahead of time and refrigerate until you’re ready to fill and cook the peppers.
  • Make the filling and fill the peppers, and refrigerate them until you’re ready to pop them in the oven. Add a few minutes to the baking time if they’ve been refrigerated.

How to Reheat Leftovers

  • Leftovers can be reheated one or two at a time in the microwave. I find a couple of minutes on high power works well.
  • Or reheat the whole dish in the oven. Heat oven to 400 F, cover the baking dish with foil, and heat for around 45 minutes, with the last 10 minutes uncovered. 

Can I Freeze Stuffed Peppers?

YES! Just fill the peppers (don’t top with cheese), and pop them into a in a freezer bag, press out as much air as you can, and freeze for up to 3 months. 

Bake the peppers from frozen, covered, in a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Two stuffed peppers on a dinner plate

These vegetarian stuffed peppers, filled with healthy grains, beans, and vegetables are a perfect dish if you’re following the Mediterranean Diet. For more inspiration, check out my Mediterranean Diet/flexitarian recipes

Enjoy! xx

And if you’re looking for more easy dinner inspiration, follow me on PINTERESTINSTAGRAMFACEBOOK or TWITTER!

Vegetarian stuffed peppers in a baking dish

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers – Mexican-Style

These easy, cheesy, Mexican-inspired vegetarian stuffed peppers are filled with healthy grains, quinoa, black beans, and tons of flavor. Leave out the cheese for a vegan option!
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 485kcal
Author: Ann Otis

Ingredients

  • 4 bell peppers seeded and halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa rice blend *see note
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder *see note
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 14 oz can black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed or strained tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese 1 cup for filling and 1 cup for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with olive oil.
  • Cut the peppers in half from top to bottom, stem and seed them. Place cut side up in the prepared baking dish.
  • Cook the rice and quinoa blend according to package directions
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, and cumin and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add the beans, tomato sauce, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Stir in the quinoa rice blend.
  • Add 1 cup of the cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and stir to combine.
  • Divide the filling between the 8 pepper halves.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese and cover the dish with foil.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until the peppers are tender. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
  • Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

Video

Notes

  • Quinoa medley: I love to use a quinoa medley that includes rice and other grains for this recipe, as I find it’s hearty but not too heavy. My blend includes quinoa, brown long rice, millet, amaranth, and split red lentils. You can also use all quinoa, rice, lentils, or any other grain. Or you could also make your own blend, just be sure to pay attention to the cooking times of each to make sure they’re roughly the same.
  • The spices: In place of the spices, you can substitute 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning.
  • Meal Prep: You can: 1) Make the filling ahead of time and refrigerate until you’re ready to fill and cook the peppers or 2) Make the filling and fill the peppers, and refrigerate them until you’re ready to pop them in the oven. Add a few minutes to the baking time if they’ve been refrigerated.
  • Reheating: Leftovers can be reheated 1) one or two at a time in the microwave. I find a couple of minutes on high power works well. Or 2) reheat the whole dish in the oven. Heat oven to 400 F, cover the baking dish with foil, and heat for around 45 minutes, with the last 10 minutes uncovered. 
  • Freezing: Fill the peppers (don’t top with cheese), and pop them into a in a freezer bag, press out as much air as you can, and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake the peppers from frozen, covered, in a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 1104mg | Potassium: 1008mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4468IU | Vitamin C: 164mg | Calcium: 513mg | Iron: 5mg
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10 Comments

  1. Hi, a couple questions, is a serving a full pepper, or a half pepper? second, I am trying to avoid cheese, even vegan cheese due to oils, what about if I added cashew cream?

    thanks

    1. Hi Grace! One serving is 2 halves, so one whole pepper (there are 4 servings in this recipe). I don’t see any reason cashew cream wouldn’t work as a sub for cheese here! You could try mixing a cup of it into the filling and then just drizzling some on top when they come out of the oven! I’d love to know how it turns out! 🙂

  2. Great recipe, Ann! My mom used to make a no-meat stuffed peppers with brown rice and Easter European spices. (She doesn’t cook as much now that she doesn’t have to cook for four kids 🙂

    Can’t wait to try these!

    P.S. your photos are beautiful

    1. 5 stars
      Ann, I made this recipe again last night. It’s delicious and reheats really well. Can’t wait to make your chicken fajita wrap. Another healthy, Mexican inspired recipe! I’ll send a photo if I can figure how.

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