Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
4 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (preferably round in shape)
3 tablespoons cooking fat
¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
4 kale leaves, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
1 pound ground meat (beef, lamb, bison)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup finely chopped peeled winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.)
This dish just begs you to use up all of the leftover vegetables you have in your fridge. Add some chopped mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, or broccoli in place of or in addition to the kale. The more vegetables you add to the mix, the more peppers you’ll need to hold all that stuffing, so buy one or two extra just in case—or enjoy any filling that doesn’t fit in the peppers on top of a salad or in a bowl drizzled with some Pesto or Ranch Dressing for lunch the next day.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a deep baking dish with parchment paper.
With a paring knife, slice around the top of each bell pepper and gently pull up on the stem. Discard the seeded core. Place the peppers in the prepared dish. Bake for 10 minutes, until softened. Set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the cooking fat in a large skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat the bottom. When the fat is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the kale and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula or wooden spoon and stirring it into the vegetables, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook until the meat is mostly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in the squash and cook until the squash is slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Divide the meat and squash mixture evenly among the softened bell peppers. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until the peppers look wrinkly and the beef is slightly browned on top.
✪Stabilizing Peppers If your peppers won’t stay upright in the pan, gently slice across the bottom to create a flat surface. Only skim the bottom of the pepper with your knife, however—you don’t want to cut too much away and create a hole for the meat and juices to leak through.