My grandma always made stuffed peppers when I was a kid and I wasn’t hugely fond of them. I didn’t really like the slightly bitter green bell peppers and the stuff inside was fine at best. Not that my nonna couldn’t cook – she was a beast, particularly when it came to pasta. I just didn’t care for stuffed peppers, and though I fear retribution in the form of a ghostly wooden spoon upside my head (sorry nonna) it’s the truth.
Well now I DO like them, turns out grandma was right, but I’m not eating rice (or any other starchy nonsense for that matter). What to do?
Luckily God gave us cauliflower and though some of the applications I’ve seen within the keto kommunity make me question the sanity of the cooks, cauliflower DOES make a good rice substitute.
Anyway, looking in the fridge and seeing an abundance of garden-fresh peppers and some ground beef brought me to this place: making a low carb version of what is, rice-aside, a reasonably healthy and cheap dish. With a little ingenuity, and a hungry wife whom I fear would stab me were I not to come up with dinner quickly, I set out to work. This is what I came up with:
Keto Stuffed Peppers
Paleo, low carb, gluten-free, easily modified to be vegetarian or vegan
6 large green peppers
1 lb ground beef (if going the veggie route, you could easily sub in tofu or walnuts)
1 medium head cauliflower, broken down and riced in a food processor
4 cloves garlic
2 cans of tomatoes and green chili peppers (look for ones without added anything – just peppers and tomatoes)
1/4 cup of low carb tomato sauce like Rao’s, or you can blend up whole canned tomatoes (you’ll need to add more salt most likely)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
hot sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by boiling the peppers and preheating the oven to 350. I cut the tops off and core/de-seed them first, but you don’t have to. It makes them cook a bit faster – about 7 minutes is what it took for me. You want them pliable but not mushy. While the peppers are boiling, add the butter to a pan and brown your beef. If you’re using tofu or walnuts, you can skip this step, but toasting the walnuts would be something I would highly recommend. Once the peppers are done, drain them and arrange them, hole-up, in a large dutch oven or high-sided baking dish. Add the olive oil to a pan and, after mincing the garlic, toss that in there to saute for a few minutes, then add in the cauliflower rice. Salt and pepper the rice liberally, and if you want, stir in some hot sauce, too. Once it’s cooked and started to soften (about 7 minutes), turn off the heat and stir in the ground beef. After it has cooled for a few minutes, stir in the tomatoes and chilis, and stuff the peppers. You may have some stuffing left over, and if so, just put it around the peppers in the pan. Pour some tomato sauce over each pepper and any remaining sauce around your stuffed beauties, and bake in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Pop the dish out of the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. These things hold onto heat like little green lava globes, and if you’re not careful you might burn your mouth and yell a bunch and then your wife might say something like “I told you so you putz” and you might say back “ah buh ma ton oh gah it hurs u wah rye” and she might smile smugly while you cry.
To be clear: LET THEM COOL FIRST.
Serving size: 1 pepper stuffed with 1 cup of stuffing
Fat: 24.4 g
Net Carbs: 13.4
Potassium: 724 mg
Magnesium: 10% rda
Sodium: 520 mg (this will vary on how much you salt of course)
Delicious, nutritious, and full of vitamins and nutrients, not to mention cheap and easy. You can even freeze these little fellas and pop em in the oven for later. So with a bumper crop of green peppers in the garden, you now have at least one more recipe in your arsenal for keto-friendly deliciousness.