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These stuffed peppers, stuffed with quinoa and seasoned ground beef, are an incredibly easy way to get a nourishing, satisfying, complete meal on the dinner table!
Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers Recipe
I am a stuffed pepper girl. The real love affair here started when I was a little girl — stuffed peppers were my mom’s jam! She’d switch things up with the grains, protein, and flavors she incorporated, and I truly loved every single one of her variations. In my opinion, stuffed peppers are so fun, check all of the complete meal boxes, and are incredibly easy to throw together, and these Tex Mex peppers are no exception. Loaded with some of my very favorite flavors (hello, Texas girl here!), this recipe has got to be at the very top of my stuffed pepper list (and I’ve tried a lot!).
If you’re looking for another incredible recipe featuring ground beef, this Greek meatball meal is a great one to try. For instructions on how to make these two recipes work together Cook Once Dinner Fix-style, click HERE.
Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers Ingredients
- Quinoa – to start, you’ll need 1 cup of rinsed white quinoa.
- Water – into the pot with the quinoa will go 1½ cups of water.
- Butter or EVOO – a ½ tablespoon of either butter or olive oil will go into the pot with the quinoa for some added flavor (and to ensure that the quinoa doesn’t lump together).
- Sea Salt – a ¼ teaspoon of sea salt gets tossed into the pot of quinoa, and a ½ teaspoon of sea salt (or even more to taste) will get sprinkled into the ground beef.
- Red Bell Peppers – you’ll also want to grab 4 red bell peppers for stuffing.
- Ground Beef – 1½ pounds of ground beef will get stuffed into your peppers. Use whichever lean-to-fat ratio you prefer — I typically opt for 80/20 or leaner.
- EVOO – you’ll also need 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to help brown your ground beef. If you have a higher fat content ground beef, this is something that you’ll likely be able to skip!
- Taco Seasoning – 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning (store-bought or homemade) goes in with the meat to provide that delicious Tex Mex flavor.
- Lime Juice – the juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons-worth of juice) gets tossed with the quinoa for a nice punch of brightness and acidity.
- Cilantro – a ½ cup of fresh, chopped cilantro gets tossed in with the quinoa too. Make sure to save some fresh cilantro for garnishing!
- Shredded Cheese – a ½ cup of Mexican-blend cheese gets sprinkled on top of the peppers for a really delicious bubbly, cheesy topping.
- Avocado – garnish your peppers with cubed avocado for a really fun, fresh add to the peppers.
- Sour Cream – I’m a sour cream girl through and through, y’all, so I add a generous dollop (or two) of it on things like stuffed peppers (and honestly, almost anything that would remotely go with sour cream). Add as much as you’d like or leave it off altogether if you’re not a fan!
Need to make a modification for this recipe? No problem! Here are a few that we know work really well:
- Make it dairy-free: to make these peppers dairy-free, simply use olive oil rather than butter for the quinoa and leave off the shredded cheese (or use dairy-free shredded cheese) and sour cream (or use coconut cream for a similar experience).
- Use any ground protein: feel free to swap the ground beef out for any other ground protein you love. Ground turkey, chicken, and pork are all great options!
- Use a different grain: the quinoa here can be swapped for any kind of rice, farro, or any other grain you like (or have hanging out in your pantry already).
What You Need to Make this Recipe
In addition to the ingredients listed above, you’ll also need the equipment below:
How to Make Stuffed Peppers (Tex Mex Style)
One of the reasons I love this recipe is because it’s so easy to execute. Here’s how you’ll do it:
- Make the quinoa – to start, combine the quinoa, water, butter or olive oil, and salt in a small pot on the stovetop over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, fluff with a fork and pull off of the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Prepare the peppers – while the quinoa is cooking, chop the tops off of your bell peppers, and remove the insides membranes and seeds. Then, place your peppers in the baking dish.
- Brown the ground beef – add the ground beef to a skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil, sea salt, and taco seasoning, and cook and crumble the ground beef until it is browned and cooked through.
- Combine the quinoa, lime juice, and cilantro – put the cooked quinoa into a bowl, and mix in the fresh chopped cilantro and lime juice until well combined.
- Stuff the peppers – spoon the cilantro-lime quinoa into your hollowed peppers until each pepper is halfway full, pressing the quinoa down as you fill. Next, top the quinoa stuffed peppers with the crumbled cooked ground beef, again, pressing the beef down as you fill. Finish the peppers off with the shredded cheese over top.
- Bake the stuffed peppers – bake the peppers for 30 minutes covered, and then pull the aluminum foil off of the dish and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the cheese is melted. If you prefer your cheese to have a crust, put the peppers under the broiler for 60-90 seconds just before serving.
- Garnish and serve – garnish the peppers with avocado, cilantro, and sour cream (if desired), then serve and enjoy!
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Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers Frequently Asked Questions
The flavors added into these peppers really set them apart from classic stuffed peppers! Most stuffed peppers include some sort of grain and protein, and while these are no different, they also include some really festive Tex Mex flavors for a fun twist on the classic. A simple taco seasoning mix is used to impart big flavor to the ground beef, then they’re topped off with avocado, cilantro, and a bit of melted cheese.
Good question! We used red bell peppers here, but the color really doesn’t matter a whole lot, so if you can’t find 4 good red bell peppers at your local grocery store, grab 4 green ones instead. You do want to buy peppers that can stand up pretty easily on their own and are wide enough to be stuffed.
While you can use raw bell peppers instead of pre-roasted for this recipe, know that you’re going to get a more sliceable texture (softer) if you roast them un-stuffed in advance. However, if you prefer a little crunch to your pepper, use fresh! You really can’t go wrong.
To pre-roast your peppers (which can be done up to 3 days in advance), preheat the oven to 375 F. Slice the tops of the bell peppers and remove the seeds; discard the tops. Place the bell peppers on a rimmed baking dish and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, or until they’re just slightly wilted. Either use immediately in the recipe above or let cool and store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
To be quite honest, these peppers are pretty difficult to overcook. Just in case, though, make sure you pull them out when the cheese is nice and melted — that’ll be your “they’re ready!” sign.
I think so! Quinoa is protein and nutrient-rich, the peppers themselves are a great veggie add, and the ground beef and cheese provide fat and protein! It’s a really well-rounded, healthy meal.
While these peppers are a complete meal all on their own, you could certainly add a side salad (this simple arugula one is great!) if you’d like. Otherwise, I say serve the peppers on their own!
They are! Any leftover peppers you have can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
If stored properly (in an airtight container in the fridge), your peppers will last for up to 5 days.
If you’re reheating leftover, refrigerated peppers, feel free to pop them in the microwave or back in an oven-safe dish until warmed through.
Stuffed peppers are a great thing to freeze and have on hand for a really convenient, pop-in-the-oven, complete meal. If you’d like to go this route, I’d recommend assembling your peppers and freezing them before popping them into the oven. Then, when you’re ready to enjoy, you’ll pull them out of the freezer and pop them into a 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes, until fully warmed through.
- 1 cup white quinoa rinsed
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt divided
- 4 red bell peppers pre-roasted (see note below)
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 lime juiced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- ½ cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
- 1 avocado cubed, for garnish
- Sour cream optional, for garnish
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- Combine the quinoa, water, butter or olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small pot on the stovetop over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, fluff with a fork and pull off of the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- While the quinoa is cooking, chop the tops off of your bell peppers, and remove the inside membranes and seeds (if you haven’t prepared/roasted as mentioned below). Then, place your peppers in the baking dish.
- Add the ground beef to a skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil, sea salt, and taco seasoning, and cook and crumble the ground beef until it is browned and cooked through.
- Add the cooked quinoa to a bowl, and mix in the fresh chopped cilantro and lime juice until well combined.
- Spoon the cilantro-lime quinoa into your hollowed peppers until each pepper is halfway full, pressing the quinoa down as you fill. Next, top the quinoa stuffed peppers with the crumbled cooked ground beef, again, pressing the beef down as you fill. Finish the peppers off with the shredded cheese over top.
- Bake the peppers for 30 minutes covered, and then pull the aluminum foil off of the dish and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the cheese is melted. If you prefer your cheese to have a crust, put the peppers under the broiler for 60-90 seconds just before serving.
- Garnish the peppers with avocado, cilantro, and sour cream (if desired), then serve and enjoy!