Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers

Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers via #grainfree

Stuffed bell peppers have regained their place at the table in our home. Southwest flavors of cumin, chiles and Monterey Jack cheese add zesty flavor. In place of brown rice, I used riced cauliflower (I didn’t tell the family there was cauliflower in the dish and no one knew!). It’s a dinner that can be prepared ahead of time, stored in the fridge and popped in the oven on a busy evening. With two portions per person, it’s hefty enough to stand on it’s own. It’s a simple, nourishing and vibrant one-dish meal.

Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: Serving size: 4

Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers

To “rice” the cauliflower - cut raw cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Place cauliflower in the food processor. Pulse for about seven 1-second pulses until cauliflower pieces are about the size of rice.


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 green onions, sliced, white and green parts separated

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 3 cups riced cauliflower, (see headnote)

  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can or jar green chiles

  • 2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (or Fontina for Gaps approved), divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

  • 4 large red, yellow or orange bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed

  • 1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche

  • 1/2 cup salsa (here's a great recipe for homemade salsa)


Preheat oven to 375ºF and adjust rack to middle position. Melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion whites and beef and cook until beef is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Make a well in the center of the pan and add the cumin and garlic. Cook in the middle of the pan until fragrant, about 45 seconds and then stir into beef mixture. Add riced cauliflower, chiles, 1 cup cheese and sea salt to pan and stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Remove from heat.

Place peppers cut side up in a large baking dish. Divide filling mixture evenly among peppers. Pour 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the pan and then cover peppers with a layer of parchment paper followed by a layer foil (I do this so the aluminum doesn't touch the food). Bake for 25 minutes and remove from oven. Remove the foil and parchment and top each pepper with a bit of sour cream, salsa and remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Serve.

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  1. Lisa

    I see in the ingredients list you call for the riced cauliflower to be cooked – did you just steam it before you incorporated it into the peppers? This recipe looks delicious!

  2. Love the idea of this recipe, and I love red peppers. Still not sure if I can talk myself into eating one while like that as the crust. 😉 I’m sure one day….I’m surprising myself left and right these past couple years. Now if only my hubby could be as adventurous….we’d be set! These look incredible!

  3. Emily Cantey

    I used half a head of cauliflower and made “rice” out of it as you suggest here that I then mixed with some leftover homemade stir fry from a couple of nights ago, and my husband had NO IDEA that it wasn’t real rice! Awesome! Also, tried the “Magic Shell” trick that you posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago as well – it totally works! It’s seriously yummy made with a combo of milk & dark chocolates (2oz milk to 5oz 85% dark – I use Theo brand bars). Thanks for these amazing tips!

    • Deliciously Organic

      How fun! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it! It’s kinda crazy how you can’t tell there is cauliflower in there, right? :) I like your combo of the milk and dark chocolates. Yum!

  4. kelley {mountain mama cooks}

    These sound and look delicious. I love stuffed peppers but the traditional way with rice can be so heavy. Can’t wait to try them with cauliflower! Thanks for the great idea.

  5. Amy G.

    Hi Carrie –

    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes. When I print one off, I only get text and not the beautiful photo of the dish – could you please – pretty please – make it so that we get a beautiful picture with the recipe?

    Thank you!

  6. Jen

    These are excellent! Made them for dinner tonight and everyone loved them. Took my extra cauliflower and put it in the pan around my peppers, sprinkled with a little seasoned salt and it was great and made an instant side dish. Will be making these again. Thanks for a great recipe!

  7. Marci

    I love your site! Made these tonight and man, were they good! The Aquarian in me had to tweak the recipe just a bit….added Italian sweet sausage, oregano, chile powder, couple of teaspoons worcestershire and a 6 oz. can of tomato sauce. Will definitely make these again. Would be good with Mexican sausage added to hamburger. Thanks for all the informative advice. I’m slowly learning how to cook healthier for my family!

  8. Kim

    Okay Carrie Lady… I’m so trying this recipe. Life has been crazy and I can get back into the kitchen again. I can not wait to make this recipe… and I’m thankful I read in the comments about riced cauliflower… I had not ever heard of that before… but it seems like a super easy and yummy recipe…. love.

    ~ kim

  9. Dear Carrie, I’ve tried it 2 ways because I didn’t have a luck with baking. After 25+10+5+5+5+5 min (!) in 375 degrees peppers and cauliflower rice were still uncooked. Second part I simmered them with a bit of water covered in a pan for an 1,5 hr. They turned out great!

  10. Jodi

    Making these right now! Smells good. Didn’t have enough ground beef (used some leftover cooked ground beef I had in the freezer) but I added some more veggies like shredded carrots and fresh spinach. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the idea of riced cauliflower.

  11. Delicious Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers! Do you know the approximate calorie count per serving? (1/2 bell pepper) I realize that it would depend on the size and amount put in the bell pepper.

  12. Amy

    For 3 cups of riced cauliflower, do you think I should use 2 heads of cauliflower? I’m guessing with that. Actually, I wouldn’t mind having a little extra since I’m probably going to use stuff 5-6 peppers. My family likes to eat…

    This will be my first attempt at cauliflower rice in any recipe, and am making it for my parents and my brother. My mom is completely on board, but my dad and brother are probably going to judge their idea of cauliflower rice from here on out based on how this recipe goes, so I’m hoping for the best!

    • Amy

      Ok, I made this recipe for the first time; 1 head of cauliflower was more than enough, and actually made more filling than I needed. I ended up stuffing 5 peppers, and could easily have done a 6th.

      My family LOVED it. They are a hard sell with new recipes, but this was definitely a hit! I added a little extra cumin, and even a little chili powder, since we like it spicy, and also because I think I used more than 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The whole family said lets have this again, and we’re eating leftovers for lunch today!

      Thanks for an excellent recipe, I will be coming back to your blog for more!

      • Deliciously Organic

        Yay!! I’m so glad they all enjoyed it! My family had the same reaction the first time I made this recipe. It’s amazing how much the cauliflower tastes like rice and blends in so nicely with the other flavors. Enjoy your leftovers! :)


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