With Cinco de Mayo on the horizon I’ve had tacos, tortillas, and tequila on the brain for days — or in my mouth I should say.
Growing up in the Southwest, I’ve always loved Mexican food and take every chance I get to mix salsa and guacamole into my meals.
In the U.S. though, Mexican food has earned a notoriously unhealthy name. Restaurants that toss lard into their dishes and Taco Bell, with their glue-like nacho cheese, give the cuisine a bad rap.
However, that label is completely unwarranted. Traditional Mexican food is actually extremely healthy.
It usually includes fresh vegetables, gluten-free corn tortillas, and high protein, high fiber beans. When made at home, it’s one of my favorite ways to incorporate the three must-haves of a balanced meal: complex carbs, lean protein, and healthy fat.
This week I decided to begin the Cinco de Mayo festivities early by making some grain-free, Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers.
Traditional stuffed bell pepper recipes call for rice or bread crumbs but I decided to keep this recipe semi low-carb, knowing that a piñata full of chips will be coming my way this weekend.
To keep the pepper stuffing moist and delicious though, I replaced the grains with my new favorite substitute, cauliflower rice.
This recipe is almost too easy to be true, and despite the fact that there’s no authentic Mexican chilies in there to spice things up (I have an aversion to burning sensations), it’s extremely flavorful.
Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers
3 Bell Peppers (any color you like!)
1/2 lb 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey
1.2 C. diced Onion
2 C. Cauliflower Rice
2 Ears of Organic, Non-GMO Corn (or 1 1/2 cups of kernels)
1/2 C. Light Shredded Cheese (I used a Mexican blend from TJ’s)
1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Garlic
1 tsp. Oregano
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the husks from your ears of corn and add corn to the boiling water. Cover the pot. Once the water begins to boil again, it’s done.
2. Make your cauliflower rice by processing about 1/2 head of cauliflower.
3. Cook diced onions with the olive oil on medium heat for about 2 minutes.
4. Add your turkey and use a spatula to break it up.
5. Cook for about 5 more minutes, then add your cauliflower rice.
6. Stir everything together and cook for another minute. Note: the turkey does not need to be cooked completely through.
7. Slice your corn off the ear.
8. Combine corn and the turkey cauliflower mixture in a large bowl with the cheese.
9. Rinse your bell peppers and slice them in half lengthwise, removing the stems and seeds.
10. Fill peppers with the mixture.
11. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Keep an eye on them an adjust the time so peppers are slightly browned but not withered.
Total Calories: about 150 each (makes 6)
These taste amazing alone or garnished with homemade guacamole, fat-free greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and salsa.
If you’re doing the Meatless Monday thang on the 5th, sub the turkey for black beans or lentils. To make this recipe completely grain-free, ditch the corn.
And if you need more ideas for Cinco de Mayo, be sure to check back in Friday for a very special Tequila Sangria recipe.
That’s right, tequila and sangria. Get excited.
Weigh In: What are your favorite Mexican recipes? Any stuffing suggestions for my next bell pepper party?