An easy make-ahead meal, stuffed peppers traditionally include a mixture of browned ground meat, rice, herbs, and sometimes sauteed spinach, onions, or other veggies. The meat-veg-and-grain mixture is spooned into the de-stemmed and seeded cavities of the bell peppers and then topped with cheese or breadcrumbs, or possibly both.
We made a lower-carb, Primal version of stuffed bell peppers: We eliminated the grains, using cauliflower rice instead, used grass-fed ground beef, added a bit of optional cheese, and added tangy, acidic, sweet-savory flavor with our Roasted Garlic Marinara. The rich, slightly grassy flavor of the beef overpowers the bland flavor of the cauliflower (a welcome way to trick young children into eating more veggies) and the cooked peppers melt sweetly in the mouth. The melted mozzarella and tomato sauce dotted with caramelized garlic add a pizza-like flavor to the dish that makes this recipe especially endearing to kids.
Our Spooky Jack-o-Lanterns were a hit last Halloween, so we decided to up the creative fear factor by carving faces into the bell peppers so that, when cooked, the peppers sag just enough to resemble a wrinkled, aging jack-o-lantern. Imagine the melted mozzarella to be brains oozing out of the top, and the marinara sauce to be blood dripping down the sides and you have an adorably gory Halloween trick to get the kids to fill up on veggies and protein before they start mainlining sugar.
Lower Carb Stuffed Bell Peppers (Bloody Pumpkin Peppers)
Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- 2 tablespoons Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 pound lean grass-fed ground beef
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 ½ cups cauliflower rice
- 1 ½ cups Primal Kitchen Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce
- 6 medium-sized orange bell peppers, tops cut off and reserved, core and seeds removed
- ½ cup whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon avocado oil. Add diced onion to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Remove onions from skillet and set aside.
- Add ground beef to skillet and season to taste with salt and pepper. Break up large chunks and cook until browned completely, about 7 to 9 minutes.
- When cooked, remove beef from skillet and allow to drain on paper towels.
- Add 1 tablespoon avocado oil to skillet. Add cauliflower rice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place a lid on top of the skillet and allow cauliflower rice to cook for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add onion, beef, and 1 cup of marinara sauce to the skillet. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Turn off heat.
- Using a sharp paring knife, carve a jack-o-lantern face into each pepper. Place the peppers upright in a large baking dish along with the pepper tops.
- Fill each pepper to the top with the meat mixture.
- Bake tops and filled peppers for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle about 4 teaspoons of mozzarella on top of each pepper. Spoon a bit of marinara sauce on top of each pepper. Turn oven to broil.
- Place baking dish back in the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Remove and serve.
Nutritional information (per serving; 1 stuffed pepper):
Carbs: 16.3 grams
Fat: 18 grams
Protein: 20 grams
Nutritional information calculated using Cronometer.
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