Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
Prep Time: 15 Mins Cook time: 6 HRS total time: 6 HRS 15 MINS
Servings: 6 –8 stuffed peppers
6-8 large bell peppers – any colors you like (I like red)
1 pound ground chicken – or turkey or lean ground beef
1 can reduced-sodium black beans – (14 ounces), rinsed and drained
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes – (14 ounces), with juices
1 cup uncooked quinoa – or swap 3 cups COOKED brown rice or 3 cups raw cauliflower rice
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese – divided; for a milder flavor, swap Monterey jack or cheddar
Chopped fresh cilantro
Sour cream – or plain Greek yogurt
Slice the tops off of the bell peppers (cut as close to the top as you can so that you have max space for stuffing), then carefully remove the ribs and seeds so that you do not break the sides of the peppers. Set aside.
Place the ground chicken into a large bowl. Add the black beans, tomatoes with their juices, quinoa, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and 3/4 cup of the cheese. With a fork or your fingers, stir to combine. Spoon the filling into the hollowed-out centers of the peppers, filling them all the way to the top. (The number of peppers you need for all of the fillings will vary depending upon the size of the peppers. I usually fill about 7.)
Pour 1/2 cup water into an empty 5-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Stand the peppers up on their bases in the water, arranging them so that they are evenly spread apart. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until the peppers are tender. Remove the lid, sprinkle the peppers with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, then cover the slow cooker again and let heat for a few additional minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with desired toppings.
TO STORE: Store cooked leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
TO REHEAT: For the best results, cut the peppers into a few pieces first so that they warm evenly. Place leftovers in the oven in a baking dish cut side up, and warm at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. You can also gently reheat leftovers on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave until heated through.
TO FREEZE: Place cooked leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
TO MAKE IN THE OVEN: These peppers can also be baked in the oven: Stand the peppers up in a pan, pour a little water in the bottom, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes at 400 degrees F, until softened, hot, and cooked through.