3-bean chilli stuffed peppers
3-bean chilli stuffed peppers
This is a warming, vibrant low-carb dinner. Mix up your toppings with avocado, yoghurt, baby tomatoes or a sprinkle of freshly chopped basil. It’s also a great way to use up any leftovers from the previous night’s chilli. Swap the beef for Quorn mince or lentils for a vegetarian alternative.
PREP TIME: 15 MINS
COOK TIME: 30 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 45 MINS
Stuffed peppers are a very forgiving kind of food. They don’t seem to be mind being over-baked a bit, and they still look colourful and appealing even if you hack them open with a blunt spoon and throw the chilli all over the shop.
Out of all the vegetables you could stuff, peppers are definitely one of the easiest. You don’t need to painstakingly scoop out loads of flesh as with courgettes or squash. It’s as simple as chopping them into rough halves and cutting out the small seed section.
I hadn’t seen any peppers in the supermarkets for a little while – apparently the good people of High Wycombe have shifted from panic-buying toilet roll to hitting up the vegetable section – so when I finally got my hands on some today I was quite excited to make this.
Are they healthy?
Stuffed peppers are not just a healthy and filling supper option. They’re also friendly to all kinds of diets, this list touching on just a few.
- They’re naturally gluten free – even when you add extra bits like rice and other spices
- They’re easy to make dairy free – just avoid topping them with cheese or normal yoghurt
- They’re keto friendly – as long as you don’t add any extra high-carb ingredients like rice
- They’re low in carbs – making them a great recipe for anyone trying to lose weight. Having said that, don’t try and go zero-carb to shed the fat. Your body needs at least one meal with healthy carbs in it, especially if you’re doing any regular training
- You can easily make them vegetarian – just swap the meat for Quorn pieces or mince, and/or add lentils to the tomato sauce before stuffing the peppers
- They can be prepared in advance – you can make the filling ahead of time, then let it cool before stuffing the raw peppers and leaving in the fridge for up to 4-5 days before baking them. They’re also great reheated the next day
On the whole, this recipe can be very easily customised to suit whatever you have in the fridge – down to the meat, flavourings and the vegetables that you can mix into the chilli.
- Beef mince – I prefer to use mince with a higher fat content for this, as it adds loads of flavour and helps fill you up, given the lack of carbohydrate. However, if you’re on a serious diet and would prefer to make it low-fat as well, use lean beef or turkey mince instead.
- Large bell peppers – for the purposes of a main meal, large peppers work best for this as they allow you to cram loads more mixture inside. However, you could change it up and use baby peppers for a cute starter.
- Tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, onion & chilli powder – because it wouldn’t be chilli otherwise!
- Beef stock cube – I add this in every time that I make a mince-based dish. It really brings out the flavours and makes everything taste twice as good.
- A few veggies – I opted for keeping things simple with grated carrot and garden peas, but feel free to add in anything you like to liven it up a bit more. Just make sure to chop everything very small, as it makes stuffing the peppers easier.
If you’re cooking the stuffed peppers from raw, they’ll take about 25 minutes in the oven. To save a bit of time when preparing the filling – for those who can cope with two things cooking at the same time – get the mince cooking while the empty peppers bake in the oven for the first 15 minutes. Then, once both are reasonably cooked through, stuff the peppers and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes.
Although I wouldn’t recommend cooking the peppers from scratch in the microwave, you’re absolutely fine to do this when reheating a batch from chilled.
On that note, stuffed peppers are an easy food to freeze for later. It doesn’t make much difference whether the peppers are raw or not, however it’s safer if the filling is already cooked. Store them in an airtight Tupperware container or a freezer-safe dish wrapped in tin foil for up to 1 month.
To defrost, place straight into an oven-proof dish or tray and cook from frozen for 25-35 minutes at 180°C or 350°F until completely thawed through. To shorten the cooking time, let them defrost slowly in the fridge overnight before baking.
3-bean chilli stuffed peppers
- Large wok/frying pan
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 200 g (1 cup) 15% beef mince
- ½ tin (approx 200g or 1 cup) mixed beans - e.g. kidney beans, black-eyed beans, pinto beans
- 400 g (1 ⅔ cups) tinned tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 beef stock cube, crumbled up into small pieces
- 1 carrot, grated
- 0.5 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
- 70 g (⅓ cup) frozen garden peas
- 1 tbsp gluten free Worcester sauce
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 large bell peppers
- 1 tbsp dairy free yoghurt or sour cream
- 50 g (¼ cup, pureed) avocado
- ½ tsp finely chopped fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F
- In a large wok, fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil on a medium heat, until softened. Then add the mince and mixed beans, and cook for 15 minutes until completely brown
- Slice the peppers in half and coat with some olive oil. Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes
- Add the tinned tomato, tomato puree, Worcester sauce, chilli powder and crumbled stock cube to the mince mixture, stirring well until fully combined. Add a generous amount of salt & pepper, to taste
- Remove the peppers from the oven and spoon in the mince mixture, until it is level with the top edges of the peppers. Place back in the oven and bake for a further 10-12 minutes
- Serve topped with sliced or crushed avocado, sour cream or yoghurt, and a pinch of finely chopped fresh basil