After a long weekend, I came home to a rather empty refrigerator. I did not feel like going out to dinner so I knew I would have to get creative if I wanted to make something. Basically all I had left in my fridge were bell peppers…like 6 bell peppers. Then my sous chef and helpful kitchen hand said “let’s try making stuffed peppers!”
I loved that idea and knowing that we would be able to use up all of our peppers before they went bad. However, I knew I wanted to switch it up from the usual italian stuffed pepper. I thought stuffing the peppers with mexican rice and beans would be a fun experiment.
I stepped this idea up one step further and decided to make a mexican green rice so that the colors and flavors would just pop! Mexican green rice is a take on something I saw on Rachel Ray. Basically you add blended cilantro, lime, garlic, and for me jalapeños into your cooking rice. It will turn your rice a bright green and add in the most fragrant flavors!
This recipe is relatively easy to make but it is a bit of a time consumer when in the oven. So, this would be a great dinner meal to make ahead of time so that you don’t find yourself waiting as long as I did to eat these delicious peppers. It may even be smart to slightly steam or blanch the peppers before hand, but I did not do that. So, these did take a bit longer for me but I am choosing to think of this as a welcomed practice in patience.
- 6 Bell Peppers, sliced in half vertically and gutted in the middle (removing the seeds)
- 1 cup of rice, cooked as directed by package
- Green Mexican Blend
- a large bunch of cilantro
- 2 cloves of garlic
- the juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 of a small jalapeño (optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
- 1 zucchini, finely chopped
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup of corn
- 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- avocado crema
- 1/2 of an avocado
- 1/3 cup of plain almond milk yogurt
- juice of 1 lime
- a small bunch of cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- cilantro for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
To begin, start cooking your cup of rice as directed by the package. Then begin to make your Green Mexican Blend in a high powered blender or food processor. Put your cilantro, garlic, lime, salt/pepper, and optional jalapeño into the processor and pulse until smooth. Then add this mixture into your cooked or cooking rice and stir. This will turn your rice a bright and beautiful green. Leave the food processor out without rinsing because you will make your avocado crema directly in it.
Then in a large lasagna dish, place your halved and gutted bell peppers. Liberally drizzle extra virgin olive oil over your peppers to help them cook faster. Then set them aside while you sauté your veggies.
Place a large skillet on medium/high heat and add in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Once hot add in your minced garlic and chopped onions. Let them cook for about 2 minutes or until translucent.
Then add in your chopped zucchini and let cook down for 1 minute. Add in your drained and rinsed black beans and your corn. Let these veggies marry together by sprinkling in 1 tablespoon of cumin powder and 1 tablespoon of chili powder. Then add salt and black pepper to taste. Make sure you taste your veggies to ensure the flavors are to your liking.
Once the veggies are sautéed and you’ve reached acquired spice level you can remove the skillet from the heat. Now you can begin to stuff your peppers.
Take a scoop or two of your green rice and place it inside each of your halves peppers. Then add in a scoop of your sautéed veggies on top of the rice. Once each pepper is stuffed fully you can cover the lasagna dish with foil. Then place the lasagna dish into the oven and let cook for 45 minutes. Check on the peppers halfway through to decide if they need an extra drizzle of olive oil to prevent drying out.
While the peppers are in the oven you can make your crema. You can use the same food processor from the green blend mixture because all of the flavors will enhance one another. Add your avocado, plain nondairy yogurt, lime juice, cilantro, and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Then set this mixture aside to drizzle on top of each stuffed pepper.
After the 45 minutes, check to see if the peppers are cooked by poking the edges with a knife or fork. If the peppers are tender then you know that they are fully cooked and ready to remove from heat. If they still seem hard, leave them in the oven for another 5-10 minutes and repeat this if necessary.
When the peppers are completely cooked, remove them from the oven. Place them on a large serving tray and drizzle your avocado crema onto each pepper. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve!
I served mine with my favorite hot sauce to add an extra little kick to these. Feel free to top with salsa, tomato, or anything that you would like!!