We truly have a bumper crop of peppers this year! Sweet bell peppers, all kinds of spicy chili peppers, frying peppers and yes, the Hatch variety of pepper from New Mexico. While most of the peppers are being smoked and/or dried for spice blends, we can’t forget to enjoy these fresh peppers in some robustly flavored dinner dishes. I’ve included two low carb or keto stuffed pepper recipes in this post: one with meat and veggies roasted in sweet bell peppers, and a plant-based stuffed Poblano dish.
The “Stuffing” is the key in Low Carb or Keto Stuffed Peppers
Most stuffed peppers include rice, quinoa or some sort of refined carb. While these stuffed poblanos omit the rice, they do include black beans and squash. Beans are considered a complex carb which gets absorbed slowly into our systems, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels (beans are allowed on a slow carb diet). Squash definitely has carbs but it also packs a lot of fiber and vitamins. Neither beans nor quash are allowed on a ketogenic diet, so this recipe is more typical of a healthy vegetarian, semi-low-carb diet.
The stuffed sweet bell peppers only include the incidental carbs you would get from the onions and peppers, so these are compliant with low carb, slow carb or keto. Peppers have incidental carbs so monitor the amount if you are following a ketogenic diet.
I used ground beef (hamburger) with the stuffed bell peppers, but any kind of ground meat would be fine. I prefer ground pork when I have it on hand. I also made the enchilada sauce from one of our spice packets (available online and at the farmers’ markets). You could either make your own enchilada sauce from one of our spice packets or purchase a prepared sauce.
Any way you cut it, these taste great, are relatively easy to make and can be easily modified to suit your own tastes. Want more spice? Choose a spicier pepper powder. Don’t like the vegetable combinations? Add in spinach, tomatoes or zucchini. It all works. This is just what pleased my palate. The one constant to have however is fresh, fully ripened poblano peppers.
Recipe for Low Carb or Keto Stuffed Peppers (using sweet bell peppers)
- 4 large colorful sweet bell peppers
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 fresh jalapenos, seeded
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chipotle powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lb. ground beef (or ground pork)
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 cup black olives, chopped
- 1 cup queso fresco cheese, crumbled
- Enchilada sauce (prepared or made from HeathGlen’s spice packet)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut bell peppers in half (vertically) and take the seeds out and set aside.
- Add the olive oil to a skillet and heat up over medium high heat. Saute the chopped onions and jalapenos in the olive oil until soft and fragrant (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and spices and salt and saute another minute, stirring everything together as it cooks.
- Add ground beef, breaking it up in the skillet and cook until no longer pink. Add the beef broth and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat when most of liquid is gone and add the olives and 1/2 cup of crumbled queso. Let it cool a bit before using as the stuffing.
- While the beef is cooking bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the peppers in the boiling water until just bright red and tender (about 5-8 minutes). Remove and drain peppers.
- When peppers and stuffing have cooled down a bit (around 5 minutes), place them on a baking sheet and fill each pepper with some of the beef stuffing mix. Top each with some of the remaining queso fresco.
- At this point you can pour the enchilada sauce on the bottom of your baking dish and cook it along with the peppers or you can make the enchilada sauce on the stovetop and pour over or around the peppers when they are done.
- Bake the stuffed peppers for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the stuffing is heated through.
Recipe for Low Carb Stuffed Poblanos (no meat)
- 4 Poblano peppers, cut in half on the vertical
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped or sliced
- 1 cup cooked, cubed winter squash
- 1 tsp each: chipotle spice, smoked paprika, cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 14-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup cotija cheese (can substitute parmesan cheese)
- enchilada sauce (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut Poblano peppers in half along the vertical and place cut side up in a baking dish. Bake 15 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onion until soft (about 5-7 minutes). Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add chicken stock, mushrooms, squash and spices and salt. Cook until mushrooms are soft (about 3-5 minutes).
- Add beans and cilantro to the mix in the skillet, stir in thoroughly and remove from heat.
- When cool enough to handle spoon vegetable mixture into Poblano halves on the baking sheet. Top with crumbled cheese and bake 15-20 minutes.
- Optional: Add enchilada sauce to bottom of baking dish or prepare on stove and pour over stuffed peppers.
There you have it. Both of these recipes are fairly freeform. Feel free to modify. It is hard to mess them up.
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