These Taco Stuffed Peppers are satisfying dinner with the flavor of our favorite tacos … but served in a whole new way. This is a low-carb recipe.
The internet is a funny place. But then, it has been as long as I’ve known it.
In eighth grade, my friend Becky met a boy from New Jersey in an internet chatroom and they started “dating.” Well, sort of. They talked on the phone and in the chat room a lot, and called it dating. This was before Google, in the pre-WiFi world where internet time was counted in minutes and we listened to the complicated fuzz and beeps to know we were connected to Prodigy.
Yes, Prodigy. This was before AOL had it huge rise … and fall.
At some point, Becky and her boyfriend decided to meet up … as in run away and meet each other. Thankfully, her parents intervened and put a stop to the weird, blossoming relationship.
A few short years later, my manager’s teenage stepdaughter met what she thought was a boy online, and eventually invited him over — before realizing both her mistake and that he was far too old to be a “boy.” Thankfully, her stepdad stepped in and made sure everything was okay.
In those days, the internet was a much smaller place that came with more limited access. We weren’t always connected with smartphones, WiFi everywhere and expectations that we be “always on.”
Naturally, the dark corners of the internet are still there. They’re just bigger and broader now — and sometimes much closer to home than you’d like. Instead of Internet chatrooms, we have Snapchat, Whisper and Instagram. And then there’s Twitter, where we can both chat about the debates in real time and troll the tweets of those we aren’t even following, just because. We can even passive aggressively comment about what others are saying — without addressing them directly.
Fortunately, the internet isn’t all dark corners and passive aggressive vagueness. It’s also a place that brings us closer together. On Facebook, I am connected with former and current colleagues, old classmates, various other friends and even a group of women I have known online since I was pregnant with Will. We share our lives, and for those of us with kids we share them too. Sometimes silly, sometimes irreverent, sometimes helpful, there’s much to be said about what its done for our relationships — in a good way. And to be able to stay connected to the people of both my past and present is such a gift.
The trick comes in the balancing of it all. Draw your lines. Stake your privacy bounds. Accept that sometimes, it’s a little much. And whatever you do, don’t let it get to you. After all, the perception of anonymity on the internet creates a false sense of bravery out of cowardice.
But enough about that … let’s talk food.
Lately, I have discovered the joys of stuffing seasoned meat mixtures into different veggies and baking them. It all began with a Chorizo Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe I created for my newspaper column. That got me dreaming of other combinations that could work — herbed chicken in potato skins, perhaps? Cheesy Italian sausage in green bell peppers?
And then, as I prepared to make dinner one night and didn’t really want to make the standard tacos I’d planned, I decided to try something different: Taco Stuffed Peppers. Onions and zucchini are sauteed and then combined with ground beef, a quick homemade taco seasoning and cheese, then stuffed inside sweet red bell peppers. Then it’s baked and served with avocados.
The result? A satisfying dinner that has the flavor of our favorite tacos … but served in a whole new way. And those these met with skepticism at first, they ended up being something everyone loved — even if they weren’t exactly the tacos they expected.
These delightful Taco Stuffed Peppers are perfect for taco lovers — especially taco lovers looking for a low-carb alternative.
Taco Stuffed Peppers
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onions
- 1/2 cup diced zucchini
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese , plus more for sprinkling
- 3 red bell peppers , halved
- 2 avocados , pitted, peeled and sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking oil spray. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and zucchini. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened — about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the ground beef to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking apart, until browned all over. Drain, if necessary.
- In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour over the meat mixture and add the water to the pan. Stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the water is mostly evaporated. Stir in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
- Place the bell pepper halves in the prepared pan. Divide the meat mixture evenly among them, pressing lightly to get it inside the cavities. Sprinkle with additional cheese, as desired.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the peppers are warm and slightly softened.
To serve: Place one pepper on each plate, and divide the avocado slices among the plates.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.