Southwestern Chicken + Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed peppers are now one of my favorite dinners, because like soup, pasta, and casserole, I can fill them any way I want! I’ve already made Indian Stuffed Peppers filled with sorghum, poached chicken, curry paste, okra, and coconut milk. This recipe is a little more familiar to most because it’s got all the flavors of the southwest: cumin, chipotle, black beans, corn, etcetera.
You can poach the chicken in the slow cooker ahead of time by using this method. You can also cook the quinoa ahead of time by using this method. I used tri-color quinoa this time for a little something different, but you can use whatever you want.
When you cover the peppers with tinfoil before cooking, make sure to tent it so the cheese doesn’t stick to the foil. All you do crease the foil in half before loosely covering the casserole dish.
You can also make this with either green bell peppers or with red, yellow, or orange. If I’m putting bell peppers in a salad or eating them raw, I always use the tri-color. But when cooking (and when using so many!), that can get pricey because tri-color peppers are about $1.25 a piece at my grocery store. And usually green bell peppers are about 70¢ each. However this time, I had a mixture of both, so I used all kinds! The only difference is that green bell peppers tend to be a lot larger than tri-colors, so I cut the green ones in half, lengthwise. When it comes to the tri-colors, I just slice off the tops and remove the ribs and seeds. Use whichever kind you like.
I like to serve this with sour cream, salsa, and a little side salad.
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes (not counting cooking chicken and quinoa)
Yield: 8 servings
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
1-16 ounce can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1-16 ounce can low sodium whole kernel corn, drained
1-10.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in green chiles
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons chipotle powder
1 teaspoon paprika
4 ounces (½ cup) softened cream cheese
4 ounces (½ cup) light mayo
4 ounces (½ cup) sour cream
4 ounces freshly shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 ounces freshly shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
4 large green bell peppers; or 8 smaller red, yellow, and orange
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup freshly chopped cilantro (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the shredded chicken and cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl. If they are cold (if you made them ahead of time and refrigerated them), microwave them for about 90 seconds to warm through. This will just make it easier to mix everything.
- To the chicken and quinoa, add the black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, cumin, garlic, chipotle powder, paprika, cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream. Toss together with a wooden spoon.
- Add in half of both the cheddar and Monterrey jack cheeses, and mix together. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the peppers. If you’re using green bell peppers, cut each one in half lengthwise, and remove the stems, ribs, and seeds. If you’re using smaller tri-color peppers, cut the tops off, and remove the stems, ribs, and seeds. Fill each portion with about a cup of the filling mixture, rounded off at the top.
- Arrange the peppers in a casserole dish, filling side up. Sprinkle the top evenly with the rest of the cheese and the panko breadcrumbs.
- Loosely cover the peppers with foil, and tent it so the cheese doesn’t stick.
- Bake for 50 minutes.
- After 50 minutes, remove the foil, and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese and breadcrumbs have begun to brown.
- Sprinkle with fresh cilantro right before serving. Serve hot with sour cream and salsa.