I first found this recipe a year(ish) ago on a cooking blog. I was looking for healthy recipes I’d actually like, and this definitely fit the bill! It is pretty rare for me to find something healthy that I like just as much as all the not-so-healthy stuff I like, so this was definitely a keeper.
Since finding this recipe, I’ve sent it to my mother and my grandmother and its now in heavy rotation in both of their kitchens. They’ve branched out a bit more and have used the filling not only for peppers but also for burritos, taco sides, soup (add 1 cup of filling to 2 cups chicken broth and a big handful of fresh spinach, fantastic soup says my grandma!). My favorite way to eat it is actually just right out of a bowl, but B likes it when I actually stuff the peppers, plus doing it that way I eat a whole pepper with dinner and apparently vegetables are good for you. Who knew!
I stick pretty close to the original recipe with just a few variations. So, let’s jump on in!
First up, our ingredients.
Onion, garlic, chicken broth, canned tomatoes, rice, black beans, chili powder, cumin… also please pretend that you see extra virgin olive oil, corn, and red pepper flakes. Thanks.
And obviously… peppers! I usually use poblano peppers because they’re a little bit spicier and really stick with the Mexican theme… but sometimes the grocery store doesn’t have any good looking poblanos and I’ll just go for some red, orange, or yellow. So um… pretend they’re poblanos because that’s what I’m calling the recipe ok? Also, the lighting in my kitchen kind of sucks. Sorry.
Very first thing, take your peppers and cut them in half. Lose the stem and gut them, and rinse them out. Spray a cookie sheet or baking pan with cooking spray, put the peppers cut side down, and spray the backs of the peppers with the spray. They should look like this.
Preheat your oven to 375 and set the peppers aside as we get cooking.
As with most of my recipes…. start by drizzling some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
Dice up 1 medium onion and 4-5 cloves of garlic
Add them to the pan and saute until the onions are getting a little bit translucent.
Then add your chicken broth and bring to a boil.
And your tomatoes… (note: you can use regular ol’ diced tomatoes… but I’d recommend the diced tomatoes with green chillies. Seriously yum)
Next up are the spices. I use chili powder, cumin, and just a few shakes of red pepper flakes. If I hadn’t had fresh garlic, I’d add a bit of garlic powder here too.
Now, once everything is going at a nice boil add 1 measured cup of rice (measuring is important here because if you add too much rice you don’t have enough liquid for it to soak up and then it is kind of crunchy and that is kind of hard to fix. Not that I’ve done that before or anything). Also note, this is just NORMAL rice. It is not instant or fast cook or anything.
I know you can’t really see the rice in there and it looks like its not enough… but trust me, its fine. Bring the pot back to a boil stirring constantly so that the rice doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan. Once it boils, cover it up with a lid (important!!), turn the heat down to LOW and set your time for 20 minutes.
Remember the peppers from before? Slide them into the oven, which by this point should be preheated.
See the timer?
TRUST IT. I am a terrible peeker. I always want to check on what I’m cooking, stir it, test it. Don’t. Leave your pan with your rice filling alone. Don’t lift the lid, don’t stir it. Walk. Away.
In the mean time, grab your black beans and pour them into a colander to rinse the gunk off. Why are black beans always so gunky?
Here are the beans after they’ve been rinsed.
Now, I don’t always… but when I have some corn on hand I love to throw it in. I love corn and I think its great in mexican dishes. If I have a can of it (I usually don’t) I’ll throw the whole can on top of the beans, otherwise I’ll just pour some out of the bag of frozen corn on top of them to hang out and wait for the filling to be ready for them. You don’t have to thaw corn for this recipe, just throw it on there frozen.
Okay so once your timer has gone off, your rice filling is ready. Turn off the heat. When you take off the lid you’ll be surprised how rice-y it looks considering you only put in one cup. I swear, rice is magic. Stir in the beans and corn, and admire your awesome pepper filling. If I had cilantro I’d chop some and throw it in. But I don’t. Oh well!
Check on your peppers. They should be looking kind of wilted and have some of the skin separating. If they’re thicker they may require a few more minutes. Remove them when they look like this:
After you remove them, flip them over and fill them with the rice filling. This amount of filling should fill 5-6 peppers (10-12 halves). I usually just make three peppers and freeze the rest of the filling to be used for another dinner unless I’m having people over.
Sprinkle on monterey jack cheese, and your peppers are ready for the oven!
Pop them back in for 15 minutes and they’re done! Seriously tasty, and really pretty healthy.
240 calories and 10 grams of fat per HALF pepper. An easy way to cut way down on the fat and calories is to skip (or reduce) the cheese. I love cheese, so its just worth it to me… but feel free to modify. Each pepper half has 1/4 c of cheese on it which is 100 calories and 8 grams of fat. If you skip it the pepper half will have 140 cal and 2 grams fat.
1 tbspn EVOO
1 medium onion
4-5 cloves garlic
1 can chicken broth (low sodium)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chillies
3/4 tspn cumin
3/4 tspn chili powder
4 shakes red pepper flakes
1 cup rice (not instant!)
1 can black beans
1.5 cups corn
1/3 c. cilantro diced (if you have it)
5-6 poblano peppers (or less if you’ll freeze left over filling)
2.5 cups monterey jack cheese.
1. halve and clean peppers, place faced down on a sprayed cookie sheet and spray backs of peppers. set aside
2. preheat oven to 375
3. heat olive oil on medium high heat, add diced onion and garlic. saute until translucent
4. add chicken broth and bring to boil
5. add tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, and red pepper flakes, bring to boil
6. add rice and return to boil while stirring
7. cover, turn heat to LOW, set timer for 20 min, and walk away
8. pop the peppers in the oven
9. rinse black beans and add corn (and cilantro if you have it)
10. when rice is done, stir in black beans and corn
11. when peppers are done, flip over, fill with rice mix, and add 1/4c. cheese per pepper half.
12. return to oven for 15 minutes