This easy, kid-friendly meal will become your new favorite dinner anytime you have leftover chicken! Making Stuffed Peppers with Chicken, black beans and rice is so simple, and the cheese and salsa tie all the flavors together. Use any color of bell peppers you like here.
I don't think there's an iteration of beans and rice that I don't love. My simple black beans and rice is a flavor base that I like to expand upon often. These stuffed peppers with chicken have black beans, leftover rice, your favorite salsa, and chili powder with cheese on top. They taste like a delicious chicken enchilada, all stuffed inside a bell pepper!
If you love red beans and rice, you have to make this meal next. This is the meal I make if we have a rotisserie chicken for dinner the previous night. Simply shred any leftover chicken and store in the fridge until you're ready to make these stuffed peppers with chicken. If you don't have leftover chicken, you can always cook 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in chicken broth until done. I really recommend trimming the fat before cooking, and then shred to get 2 cups of chicken for this recipe.
How to Make Stuffed Peppers with Chicken
To make this recipe as simple as possible, use leftover chicken, a can of black beans (instead of making my instant pot black beans from scratch), a bag of frozen rice (or boil-in-a-bag), and your favorite jar of salsa. I hope these are pantry ingredients for you, and the only thing you need to grab from the store is your favorite color bell peppers and some shredded Mexican-style cheese!
One trick I like to use when making stuffed peppers with chicken is to microwave the peppers before baking. I clean and remove the seeds from the peppers, place them in a large bowl with ½ cup of water and cook on HIGH in the microwave for 4-5 minutes to soften. This speeds up the entire cooking process in the oven to keep this meal as close to 30 minutes as possible!
- Bell Peppers. Four medium-large bell peppers of any color. Once clean, remove the stem, scoop out the seeds and membranes, and then cut in half to make 8 pepper halves for stuffing.
- Olive Oil. Do not forget to coat the baking dish with olive oil so that nothing sticks in the oven!
- Black Beans. One 15-ounce can of black beans that have been drained and rinsed before using.
- Rice. This stuffed peppers with chicken recipe is a great use for leftover rice, too! We need 2 cups of cooked rice, and it doesn't matter if it's white or brown rice--your choice!
- Salsa. One cup of your favorite tomato salsa. It's best if this salsa is very fluid and liquid-y, like a Pace or Herdez brand salsa. Super thick and chunky salsa might not have enough moisture for this recipe.
- Chicken. We need 2 cups of shredded already-cooked chicken. If you don't have leftover chicken, use 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs that have been trimmed of fat. Submerge them in chicken broth and bring to a simmer and cook until they register 165-degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer. Let cool and then shred with two forks before using.
- Chili Powder. Just so we're clear, chili powder is a spice blend that contains cumin, paprika, garlic and onion powder. It is not the same as chilE powder, which is one single type of pepper, roasted, dried and ground up. Check your labels! In addition to a good quality chili powder, you'll need one teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus a little extra for the bell pepper halves.
- Cheese. I use a Mexican-style shredded cheese bag that contains cheddar, Asadero cheese, queso quesadilla cheese and Monterey jack. Use whatever cheese you have in your fridge, because we only need ¾ cup.
- Optional Garnishes: Fresh cilantro and scallions are great on top, but completely optional.
First, preheat the oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit, and brush a 9x13-inch dish with the olive oil. Then, wash and remove the stems, membranes and seeds from the bell peppers. Cut the 4 peppers in half to make 8 halves. Place them in a dish, add ½ cup of water, and microwave for 5 minutes on HIGH to soften.
Next, make the stuffed peppers with chicken filling. In a large bowl, combine the rinsed black beans, rice, salsa, chicken, chili powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
Stir this filling together very well, and give it a taste. Since nothing in this mixture is raw, you can taste it fully before baking! Add more salt and pepper, if you think it needs it, but keep in mind we're adding cheese on top, too!
Carefully place the bell peppers into the baking dish, and then sprinkle with the extra salt and pepper. Divide the beans and rice mixture between the peppers, top with cheese. Cover the stuffed peppers with chicken with a loose layer of foil and bake for 20 minutes, just until the cheese melts and everything is warm throughout.
Other Beans and Rice Combinations:
- Hoppin John is saucy flavorful black eyed peas with ham, often served over rice.
- Yellow Moong Dal is a Indian dish of spiced split yellow lentils that is delicious spooned over rice.
- Vegetarian Jambalaya is a cozy, hearty bowl of red beans, rice and plenty of vegetables.
- Chickpea Bowls with Peanut Sauce is a delicious and vegan way to mix beans and rice.
- 4 large bell peppers, any color
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cooked rice*
- 1 cup prepared tomato salsa**
- 2 cups leftover chopped chicken***
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra
- ¾ cup grated Mexican-style cheese
- For garnish: chopped cilantro, sliced scallions
- Preheat the oven to 350, and prepare a 9x13” baking dish by brushing it with the olive oil.
- Cut the bell peppers in half, remove the stem and scoop out the seeds and membranes. In a large bowl, add about ½ cup of water and pile the bell pepper halves in the bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes, just to soften the peppers. Place the peppers in the baking dish, and then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the black beans, cooked rice, salsa, chopped chicken, chili powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir together very well.
- Divide the bean and rice mixture between the bell pepper halves. Evenly sprinkle the cheese on top of each pepper.
- Cover the dish with foil loosely and bake for 20 minutes, just until the cheese is melted. The filling is already cooked, so it just needs enough time to soften the peppers and melt the cheese.
*Rice: You can use any type of cooked rice: white or brown rice, short grain or long grain--anything works here!
**Salsa: Try to use a very fluid, liquid-y salsa. If you use a chunky salsa, it may not contain enough moisture. I like Pace or Herdez brand tomato salsas.
***Chicken: If you don't have 2 cups of leftover chicken, add 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs that you have trimmed of fat to a small pot. Cover with chicken broth, and simmer until it registers 165-degrees in the thickest part. Remove, cool and shred.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 660mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 7gSugar: 3gProtein: 19g