Oh the wonders of cauliflower rice.
It was only a matter of time before I stuffed it inside peppers and called it dinner. (And spoiler alert: It’s oh-so delicious.)
This recipe was inspired by my classic Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. I made them for dinner one recent evening, and several bites in, I speculated as to whether a grain-free version would be doable. To the drawing board I went.
Origins of Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed peppers are enjoyed around the world- in places such as Spain, India, Tunisia, Hungary, Denmark, and more! In each of these places, they’re prepared with different ingredients and methods. You can learn more about the variations and history of stuffed peppers here.
This recipe is our plant-based take on the concept, inspired by cauliflower rice and ingredients and flavors common in Mexican cuisine.
This recipe is simple, requiring just 10 basic ingredients and easy methods that yield big, flavorful results.
A head of cauliflower is shredded into ‘rice’ and sautéed lightly with green onion (garlic is optional). Then add beans, salsa, lime juice, and plenty of smoky spices to create a savory filling that’s perfect when stuffed into sweet bell peppers. (I’m getting hungry all over again.)
Another perk of this recipe? It could easily be made ahead of time. Simply prepare up until the point of baking, refrigerate, and then bake when you need it.
Even if you don’t have time to prep beforehand, the whole thing comes together in about 1 hour with just 15 minutes of hands-on prep time. That gives you plenty of time to whip up a margarita (or two), prepare my Creamy Cilantro Sauce (if you dare) for serving, and read a book (or whatever brings a thrill to your evening).
See? Dinner can be that easy.
I hope you all love this recipe! It’s:
Vegetable- + fiber-packed
Rich in protein (nearly 10 g protein per serving!)
Entirely plant-based + gluten-free
& So delicious
Stuffed peppers are great for serving a mixed crowd because they’re so filling and flavorful that no one will miss the meat. While they’re delicious on their own, I think they would be great paired with my Mexican Quinoa Salad and Ginger Beer Margaritas. If you need an appetizer, this Cheesy Jalapeño Corn Dip is a total win.
If you try this recipe, be sure to leave us a comment, rate it, and tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see! Your photos always make my day. Cheers, friends!
Cauliflower Rice Stuffed Peppers
- 1 medium head cauliflower, grated into ‘rice’ (see method here)
- 1 Tbsp olive or grape seed oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 cup diced red, white, yellow, or green onion (I recommend red)
- 1 pinch each sea salt and black pepper
- 4 large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (halved, seeds removed)
- 1 15-ounce can black or pinto beans (rinsed and drained // if unsalted, add additional salt to taste)
- 2/3 cup salsa (plus more for serving // very flavorful salsa, like Trader Joe’s Chunky Salsa)
- 2 tsp cumin powder (plus more to taste)
- 2 tsp chili powder (plus more to taste)
- 2-3 Tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper (plus more to taste)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and set out a 9×13-inch baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. Also brush halved peppers with a neutral, high heat oil, such as grape seed, avocado or refined coconut. Set aside.
- Prepare cauliflower rice by following these instructions. Then heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat.
- Once hot, add oil, garlic (optional), onion, salt and pepper. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Then add cauliflower ‘rice’ and stir to coat. Place the lid on to steam the rice for about 1 minute. Then remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. You aren’t looking to completely cook the ‘rice,’ as it will continue cooking in the oven.
- Add remaining ingredients – black beans through salt and pepper – to the cauliflower rice and mix to thoroughly combine. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, adding salt, pepper, or more spices as desired.
- Generously stuff halved peppers with ~ 1/2 cup of the mixture until all peppers are full (you may have a little leftover filling, which can be added to salads or served on the side), then cover the dish with foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes covered. Then remove foil, increase heat to 400 degrees F (204 C), and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until peppers are soft and slightly golden brown. For softer peppers, bake 5-10 minutes more. Serve with desired toppings (listed above) or as is. I recommend avocado, lime juice, hot sauce, and cilantro.
- Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in a 350 degree F (176 C) oven until warmed through – about 20 minutes. See notes for instructions on making ahead of time.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 whole stuffed pepper (two halves), of 4 total servings, calculated without additional toppings.
*This recipe could easily be made ahead of time. Simply prepare up until the point of baking, refrigerate (up to 3 days), and then bake when you need it.