Fall is prime time for stuffing – and not just at the Thanksgiving table!
Stuffed bell peppers are a great autumn entrée, but they can take a fair amount of time to prepare. Most recipes call for rice to be cooked beforehand (a trick in recipe writing that I always seem to miss!), and then baking the filled peppers for up to 45 minutes…which makes for at least a 2-hour adventure.
While we love cooking, we also love the quickest path to delicious eats. So when I stumbled across millet, I figured it would be a great option for a quick stuffed pepper. (Our previous stuffed poblano pepper recipe called for brown rice, which takes about 50 minutes to cook.) Millet takes just about 20 minutes to prepare, and while you cook the filling, you can roast the peppers. Once the peppers are done, add the filling and serve! (You also can broil a bit of cheese on top if you’d like.)
We’ve used Latin flavors in this recipe, but you can use it as a basis for whatever flavors you’d like – try different types of beans, cheese or nuts, or spices of your own choosing. You also could substitute other grains, but millet is a great choice for a quick whole grain filling!
Make sure to check your local markets for peppers!
Quick Stuffed Bell Peppers
Serves 4 to 6
Notes: For a non-spicy version, use mild salsa and only use a tiny pinch of the chipotle powder (or omit altogether). The chipotle powder adds a wonderful smoky flavor – it’s worth tracking down in your local grocery.
You can use this recipe as a basis for adding the flavoring of your choice. We found salsa made for a quick and easy addition of flavor and moisture. If you don’t use salsa, you may want to consider a creamier millet and / or adding cheese to ensure a good texture, as well as trying additional flavoring to add body.
A way to make the recipe quicker is to broil the peppers; however, they cook very fast and are easy to burn. We found it easy to throw them in the oven for 30 minutes while preparing the filling.
What You Need
6 bell peppers of any color
1 1/2 cups millet
1 can red or pinto beans (or 1 1/4 cups cooked)
1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 cup shredded cheese (Mexican blend or Monterrey jack)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Few pinches chipotle powder
1 Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2 Roast the peppers: Wash the peppers and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Place on foil or parchment paper-lined baking sheet (or spray with cooking oil) and bake for about 30 minutes, until tender. (Smaller, thinner peppers may not take as long.)
3 Prepare the millet: While the peppers are roasting, prepare the millet as described here. (It should take around 20 minutes total.) For a creamier filling, add an extra 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water, and stir a bit during the cooking time.
4 Prepare the filling: Drain and rinse the beans. When the millet is done, fluff with a fork in the pan. Then add 1 can beans,1/2 cup corn, 1 1/2 cup salsa, 1 cup shredded cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few pinches chipotle powder. Stir to combine. Taste, and add additional salsa, cheese, or spices as necessary. Turn the heat to low and reheat the filling for a few minutes, stirring.
5 Assemble the peppers: When the peppers are done, remove them from the oven. Drain them of excess liquid. Then fill each pepper with the warm filling. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
If desired, you can top the peppers with additional cheese and broil them until the cheese melts. You also can place the peppers in the oven to warm for a few minutes prior to serving, as necessary. (If you want to warm for a longer period of time prior to serving, cover the peppers with foil and turn down the heat to around 200°F so that the filling does not dry out.)