Loco Taco Stuffed Peppers takes an old traditional standby to an entirely new loco bold level. Spicy tortilla chips, salsa, mild green chiles, and rice punch up the beef and sausage stuffing. You can easily vary the heat level through your choices of sausage, chips, and salsa. Check out my notes for variations and substitutions. Olé!
Loco Taco Stuffed Peppers Recipe
3 large bell peppers, red, orange, yellow, and green, or your choice (sweet capsicums)
1 snack bag (about 3-1/2 ounces or 2 cups before crushing) nacho cheese-flavored (or your favorite flavor) tortilla chips, divided use (see instructions)
1/2 pound chuck ground beef
1/2 pound mild or hot bulk pork sausage
1 cup instant white rice (see Notes)
1 cup prepared chunky salsa (jarred or homemade)
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1 small can (about 4 ounces) chopped mild green chiles
1 cup Mexican-blend fine shredded cheese, divided use
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin powder
Additonal fresh cilantro and salsa for garnish
Slice the bell peppers lengthwise in half. (Before slicing, examine the peppers and choose your slicing point so that the halves will sit flat when filled.) Remove the stem end and interior membranes. Set aside.
Open the bag of tortilla chips. Squeeze out the air. Fold the opening over twice and secure with a clip. Use a rolling pin to crush the chips into pieces about 1/4-inch in size, not too fine. You should have about 1 cup of crushed chips. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Place ground beef, pork sausage, instant rice, salsa, diced onions, green chiles, 3/4 cup cup of the cheese, eggs, chopped cilantro, 3/4 cup of the crushed tortilla chips, chili powder, salt, and cumin powder in a large bowl. Use a large fork to thoroughly mix until well-combined.
Mound the pepper halves and place in a 9- by 13-inch glass casserole baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional fresh cilantro and salsa on the side.
Yield: 6 servings
Loco Taco Stuffed Peppers Recipe Photo © 2017 Peggy Filippone
• Choose the color of bell peppers you like. I use a variety of colors for presentation. Yellow, orange, and red-colored are slightly sweeter than green, but more expensive. Again, your choice.
• Bulk turkey sausage may be substituted for the pork sausage. Ground turkey may also be substituted for the ground beef. You may use all beef or all sausage. Mix and match to suit your tastes.
• It is important to use instant (pre-cooked and dried) rice as opposed to raw rice. There will not be enough moisture or cooking time to fully cook raw rice.
• The heat in this recipe will depend upon your salsa. If you like it mild, use mild salsa. For hotter, use medium or hot salsa. If you are a wild and crazy chile-head, feel free to add additional hot sauce to fire it up even more.
• I know many people do not care for cilantro, but this herb gives the true taco flavoring. I highly recommend using it. However, if you must, you may substitute fresh Mexican oregano for the cilantro and reduce the amount to 2 Tablespoons.
• Most markets are now carrying bags of multi-colored mini sweet peppers. These are great for appetizers when filled with the loco-taco meat mixture. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes.