Cheesy Stuffed Peppers with Queso Fresco, Monterey Jack & Mexican Crema

Cheesy Stuffed Peppers

with Queso Fresco, Monterey Jack & Mexican Crema

50 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Stuffed, roasted peppers—a dish that takes advantage of the pepper’s hollow shape, turning it into a deliciously edible bowl—are popular the world over. In this Mexican-inspired version, we’re stuffing sweet red bell peppers (at the height of ripeness in August) with a filling of spiced rice and Monterey Jack cheese. For perfect texture, we’re adding a little water to the sheet pan before putting the stuffed peppers in the oven. As the peppers roast, the water steams off, softening them and uniting the flavors of the dish.

See Plans
  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    510 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
time-saving
tips & techniques
Cook the rice:
1 Cook the rice:

Preheat the oven to 475°F. In a large pot, combine the rice, a big pinch of salt and 2 cups of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and fluff the cooked rice with a fork.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the rice cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Grate the Monterey Jack cheese. Quarter the limes. Halve the bell peppers lengthwise; remove and discard the stems, ribs and seeds. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and stems. Crumble the queso fresco.

Make the sauce:
3 Make the sauce:

While the rice continues to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, almonds and spice blend; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato paste; cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the tomato paste is dark red. Add the raisins and ¾ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened and saucy. Remove from heat.

Make the filling:
4 Make the filling:

Add the sauce, half the Monterey Jack cheese and the juice of 4 lime wedges to the pot of cooked rice. Stir to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff the peppers:
5 Stuff the peppers:

Lightly oil a high-sided sheet pan (or baking dish). Place the bell peppers on the prepared sheet pan, cut sides up; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stuff the bell peppers with as much of the filling as possible (you may have extra filling). Evenly top with the remaining Monterey Jack cheese. Add just enough water to the sheet pan to cover the bottom.

Roast the peppers & serve your dish:
6 Roast the peppers & serve your dish:

Carefully place the stuffed peppers in the oven and roast 16 to 18 minutes, or until the peppers are browned and softened and the water has cooked off. Remove from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the queso fresco and cilantro. Serve with the crema and remaining lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Cook the rice:
1 Cook the rice:

Preheat the oven to 475°F. In a large pot, combine the rice, a big pinch of salt and 2 cups of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and fluff the cooked rice with a fork.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the rice cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Grate the Monterey Jack cheese. Quarter the limes. Halve the bell peppers lengthwise; remove and discard the stems, ribs and seeds. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and stems. Crumble the queso fresco.

Make the sauce:
3 Make the sauce:

While the rice continues to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, almonds and spice blend; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato paste; cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the tomato paste is dark red. Add the raisins and ¾ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened and saucy. Remove from heat.

4 Make the filling:

Add the sauce, half the Monterey Jack cheese and the juice of 4 lime wedges to the pot of cooked rice. Stir to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff the peppers:
5 Stuff the peppers:

Lightly oil a high-sided sheet pan (or baking dish). Place the bell peppers on the prepared sheet pan, cut sides up; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stuff the bell peppers with as much of the filling as possible (you may have extra filling). Evenly top with the remaining Monterey Jack cheese. Add just enough water to the sheet pan to cover the bottom.

6 Roast the peppers & serve your dish:

Carefully place the stuffed peppers in the oven and roast 16 to 18 minutes, or until the peppers are browned and softened and the water has cooked off. Remove from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the queso fresco and cilantro. Serve with the crema and remaining lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!

Roast the peppers & serve your dish:
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