Believe it or not, I once went through a 24-oz bottle of taco seasoning mix in less than a year. (I wish I was kidding!) That was at the very beginning stage of my marriage life as well as my cooking life. I was trying to be a wife who could cook yummy food every day. However, with very little experience and lack of knowledge of the local ingredients at the time, my strong willingness wasn’t enough to make it happen, at least not quickly.
I distinctively remember the day Han introduced me to taco seasoning mix. I thought that’s it. That’s what could finally make my dishes taste better. Without hesitation, I picked up the largest package that I could find in Costco and started putting taco seasoning mix on literally everything – meat, vegetables, seafood, chicken, pasta etc. You name it, I have done it.
Hey! I was fresh off the boat. Gotta start from somewhere, right?
Fast forward to today, I have learned other ways to make delicious meals with or without taco seasoning mix. I don’t purchase the 24-oz bottle of taco seasoning mix anymore. Instead, those 1.25-oz envelopes seem to be more reasonable to have on hand when cooking at home. Duh!
There are a few things that often remind me of how I started this crazy cooking life, and taco seasoning mix is certainly one of them, especially when there is ground beef involved. About two weeks ago, I tried a stuffed pepper recipe from my go-to recipe site Food.com and it immediately became my favorite way of making stuffed peppers because as long as you have got the pepper cooking method right, you can create several different versions of the filling. That’s how these Taco Stuffed Peppers were born.
Instead of cutting the peppers lengthwise, we slice off the top, creating the maximum capacity to hold more stuff. Cooking them in boiling water prior to baking is going to ensure they turn out soft and tender. Once you get this little technique handled, I encourage you to be bravely creative for your filling.
For me, I went for a classic taco route for this recipe by combing an envelope of taco seasoning mix in addition to some taco sauce with ground beef, onion, diced tomatoes and cheddar cheese. The cheesy meat mixture was stuffed into the pepper bowls together with very generous amount of sour cream. After baking, the stuffed peppers were topped with more cheese and avocado slices. A touch of freshly ground black pepper finished off the dish nicely.
These visually stunning Taco Stuffed Peppers are very very big on flavor as well. Don’t underestimate them. They can stuff you pretty fast. As a result, consider them as an unconventional main dish. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Additionally, here are a few more ideas for the filing.
- Add 1 cup cooked rice into the meat mixture. Allow the rice to absorb the flavor before stuffing your peppers. In this case, omit the sour cream or serve it on the side.
- Other than taco flavor, fajita flavor would be my next try. Or just simply season the beef with salt, pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. It can never go wrong.
- Green onions and black olive slices would go great with the meat mixture.
- Want some heat? Add red chili pepper flakes or chop up some jalapeños and throw them in the meat mixture.
Alrighty, if you do get a chance to make these stuffed peppers, I would love to know how you put together your filling. Leave a comment below, or if Instagram is your cup of tea, post a photo and tag #gourmetpersuasian. Happy cooking as always!
10 minPrep Time
40 minCook Time
50 minTotal Time
- 6 large bell peppers, any color
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 (1 1/4 oz) package taco seasoning mix
- 1 cup taco sauce
- 1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes (I used petite cut)
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Lime wedges for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. In the meanwhile, cut off tops from the bell peppers; discard seeds and membranes.
- Chop enough of the pepper tops to make 1/4 cup, set aside.
- Cook the whole bell peppers, uncovered in the boiling water for about 5 minutes; invert and drain well. While the peppers are boiling, chop onion.
- In a large sauté pan, brown ground beef with onion and chopped peppers over medium-high heat. (Drain excess fat if there's any.) Once the beef loses the pink color, stir in diced tomatoes, taco seasoning mix and taco sauce. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes. Then stir in 1/2 cup cheese until blend. Remove from heat.
- Now preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle a little salt inside the peppers, then stuff each pepper with meat mixture and a generous spoonful of sour cream (about 2 tablespoons). Place stuffed peppers in a baking dish lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Once the peppers are done, immediately sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top evenly. (It will melt quickly). Top with avocado slices, followed by freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
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