With 15 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, and 205 calories each, these ground chicken stuffed peppers are a great high protein dinner or meal prep option. They combine extra lean ground chicken breast with black beans, fire roasted tomatoes and corn, riced cauliflower or your choice of rice, onion, and spicy taco seasoning. All that’s simmered while bell peppers are roasted then it’s stuffed inside, topped with cheese, and baked to perfection.
I’ll walk you through the recipe, ingredients and substitutions, and pairing ideas in the post below. If you’re in a hurry, feel free to jump straight to the recipe card.
Should I Bake Bell Peppers Before Stuffing?
Roasting peppers before filling and finishing in the oven ensures the peppers are tender and easy to eat. While it’s possible to achieve tender stuffed peppers by covering a dish of stuffed peppers with foil and baking for 30-40 minutes before finishing for 15-20 minutes uncovered, roasting while the filling cooks saves time.
In this recipe, for example, this filling cooks and simmers while the peppers are in the oven for 20 minutes. The peppers are then stuffed, topped with cheese, and baked for 8-10 minutes. That saves at the very least 20 minutes of total cook time.
If you’d prefer skipping the roasting step, simply prepare the ground chicken filling, stuff the peppers in a baking dish, top with cheese, cover with foil, and bake for about an hour. You will want to cover the dish with foil for the first 75% of the cook time to steam the peppers and prevent the cheese from burning.
Classic Ground Chicken Stuffed Peppers Ingredients
I went with a classic Tex-Mex filling with some slight tweaks to make these low calorie stuffed peppers. Here’s a look at everything you will need:
- Ground Chicken – I used fresh ground chicken breast. You can use extra lean ground turkey in a pinch, but I always prefer chicken without the added rosemary extract. Can’t find ground chicken in stores? It’s easy to make at home.
- Riced Cauliflower – I used fresh riced cauliflower, but a bag of frozen cauliflower rice would work perfectly fine. If you’re not a fan of cauliflower, you can use real cooked rice instead. Or to keep carbs under control, a blend of the two.
- Diced Onion – If you want to leave the chef knife in the drawer, I wouldn’t judge you for using frozen chopped onions like in my turkey shepherd’s pie recipe.
- Taco Seasoning – I used a seasoning packet to keep things simple, but you can certainly pack more flavor into your stuffed peppers with other spice blends and sauces. Example.
- Black Beans, Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes, and Fire Roasted Corn – I like using frozen fire roasted corn, but you can use a drained can of corn if you have trouble finding it. The beans, on the other hand, go straight in. No nutrients go to waste!
- Shredded Cheese – For best results, use freshly grated monterey jack, colby jack, or another soft melting cheese. I opted to use cheese as a topping only, but you’re welcome to add some to the filling for cheesier peppers.
Cooking the Stuffed Peppers Filling and Baking
With simple recipes, it’s always important to spend time browning the protein or ground chicken in this case. For optimal browning, make sure the pan is hot before adding the chicken. Once the chicken is in the pan, leave it untouched for a few minutes until a golden brown crust develops. This color equals big flavor that you’ll miss out on by immediately breaking the chicken apart to cook.
Once you have browned at least one side of the chicken, then you can break it apart and add the onion and cauliflower. You’re looking for the onion to soften as you continue cooking the chicken and stirring everything together. This should take five minutes or so.
Once everything else is added to the cooked chicken, your work is mostly done. Just let everything simmer until the roasted peppers are ready to go.
The recipe calls for roasting the peppers on a sheet pan then transferring to a baking dish. The wire rack and sheet pan ensure water released from the peppers as they roast drips out. If you want to roast them in the same baking dish, that’s cool. But you may need to tip them over to drain before filling.
Once the peppers are stuffed with the ground chicken filling, top them with cheese and bake to melt the cheese. It shouldn’t take longer than 5-10 minutes. And since the peppers are already roasted, you can pull them and serve straight away.
What to Serve with Stuffed Bell Peppers
That’s always a tough question since your typical Mexican side dishes are already inside the peppers. It feels odd to serve beans and rice alongside peppers stuffed with beans and rice. Other than a salad, you’re pretty much covered.
So, I recommend focusing on garnishes and sauces to serve the peppers as a standalone dish. Here’s a handful of ideas:
- pickled vegetables (like escabeche)
- queso cotija or queso fresco
- sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt (or creamy jalapeño yogurt dip)
- pickled onions and jalapeño peppers
- warmed tortillas or homemade baked tortilla chips
- salsas and hot sauces
- homemade Mexican chile crisp (pictured below)
Just so it’s not lost in the sauce, I’d emphasize the tortillas and tortilla chips. I think slicing up the peppers and using as a taco filling or nachos topping is a pro move.
And I would love to hear more ideas! If you make these, be sure to let me know how you build out your plate in a comment down below or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram.
You can print the recipe below. And before you go, I always appreciate recipe reviews if you make these Mexican chicken stuffed peppers and love them. I hope you enjoy them!
- 12 Bell Peppers
- 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 pound Ground Chicken
- 1 White Onion, diced
- 12 oz Riced Cauliflower (or cooked rice 1:1)
- 1 packet Taco Seasoning
- 28 oz Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
- 15 oz can Black Beans
- 1 cup (140g) Frozen Fire Roasted Corn (or drained canned corn)
- 4 oz Shredded Mexican Cheese
- Preheat your oven to 425ºF. Slice the tops off the bell peppers and remove any stems, membranes, and seeds. Place the peppers upside down on a sheet pan lined with a wire rack. (If you don't have a rack, place the peppers upright directly on the sheet pan and be sure to remove any juices before filling.) Roast the peppers in the oven for 20 minutes or until they have softened.
- While the peppers are in the oven, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ground chicken and brown one side for 3-4 minutes to form a golden brown crust on one side before breaking apart and adding the onion and riced cauliflower. Cook until the onion has softened and the chicken is fully cooked, another 4-5 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, taco seasoning, beans, and corn. Bring to a simmer before reducing the heat to low. Let everything simmer until the peppers are ready to fill.
- I recommend transferring the roasted peppers to a 13x9 baking dish to prevent any from toppling over, but you can fill and bake directly on the sheet pan if you're careful. Fill the peppers with the ground chicken mixture and top with the shredded cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro, cotija cheese or queso fresco, and chile flakes or salsa macha, if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 Stuffed Pepper
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Total Fat: 5gCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 7gProtein: 15g