Breakfast has been designated the most important meal of the day for a reason. It should be something nutritious and filling, but often we opt for a quick bite that includes a ridiculous amount of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and fat instead. That all changes when a beautiful breakfast of Huevos Rancheros stuffed into bright red bell peppers come into play!
The idea for using bell peppers as the vessel for the huevos rancheros comes from the idea that tortillas and refried beans may be too much fat and carbs. These two things definitely are good to fill one up first thing in the morning, but they include a lot of calories and can easily be swapped out for something that is better for the mind and body to get you going for the day. The peppers pack a sweet but mineral and nutrient-rich punch to boost mood, the immune system, and much more making it an ideal addition to any meal, not just breakfast.
Refried beans are essential to the huevos rancheros experience. It’s just not the same without them, but they can be made in a better way like what has been done with what I like to refer to as “faux refried black beans”. This version gives a similar texture but doesn’t include lard or much-added oil to make the smooth, paste-like consistency. Black beans have also been considered one of the highest protein containing beans that also includes a good amount of fiber to help that blood sugar stay even and with minimal spikes.
Eggs are well known to be an awesome ingredient when trying to eat a healthy breakfast. They are also essential to this dish because of the flavor and texture they add with a rich runny yolk. Just cutting into a runny yolk and letting it ooze over the black beans, is all the added healthy fat needed to make a perfect bite!
Top it all with a quick and freshly made pico de gallo and avocado to enhance not only the visual appeal but the flavor and salubriousness of the dish and you have the perfect breakfast!
Now, one might be wondering what happened to the tortilla that is so loved in the original huevos rancheros dish. Not to worry! Instead of full tortillas, strips of tortilla are used and then quickly fried in a little olive oil until crisp and crunchy. This dish was designed to enhance and make healthier, not to deny anyone of anything that made the original great.
Let’s get in the kitchen and get started!
Huevos Rancheros Stuffed Peppers
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 1 lime
- ½ bunch cilantro
- 1 red chili pepper
- 3 cups canned black beans
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- Salt to taste
- 4 eggs
- 2 6- inch corn or wheat tortillas
- 1 avocado
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and remove the stem. Dice the large part of the tomato and set it to the side. Dice the tops of the tomatoes and set them in another pile. Dice the onion and separate into two even piles. Cut off the cilantro stems and mince them. Roughly chop the leaves. Remove the stems from the peppers and cut them in half lengthwise, and put them on the prepared baking sheet. Cut the lime in half.
- Transfer the large pile of diced tomato into a bowl with half of the onion and the cilantro leaves. Slice the chili pepper thinly and add it to the bowl. Squeeze the lime juice into the bowl and season the pico de gallo with a pinch of salt. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Rinse the black beans under cool water to remove any liquid from the can.
- In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat half of the olive oil. Add the remaining onion and cilantro stems to the pan and cook 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomato tops to the pan and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the black beans to the sauté pan. Stir well to combine. Using the back of the spoon, smash the beans. Add just enough water to cover the beans, stir, and let it come to a simmer. Let the beans cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed. When the liquid has reduced and the mashed beans have become more paste like, mash it again and turn off the heat.
- Spoon the beans into each of the pepper halves and make a dip in the middle with the spoon. Crack the eggs and separate half of the egg whites from the yolks. Pour the yolks and left over white into the dip in the beans in each pepper.
- Bake the filled peppers about 15 minutes. They are ready when the white has set.
- Cut the tortillas into strips on a cutting board.
- In a clean sauté pan, heat the rest of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Transfer the tortilla strips to the hot oil in a single layer to fry. Let them cook about 2 minutes on each side.
- Transfer the cooked tortilla strips to a plate lined with paper towels and season them with salt.
- Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. Make a crosshatch cutting patterned on the flesh of the avocado and use a spoon to scoop out the cubes. Transfer the cooked peppers to a plate and serve immediately with the pico de gallo and avocado cubes on top.
STEP ONE – PREPARE THE VEGETABLES
Turn the oven on to 350 F and let it heat up while preparing everything. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Remove the top half inch off of the tomatoes. Remove the stem and dice the rest of the top and set it aside. Dice the rest of the tomato and put it in a separate pile. Peel the onion and dice it before dividing it into two separate piles. Cut the stems off of the cilantro and mince them and set them in their own pile as well. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and put them in another pile.
Cut the red bell peppers in half and remove the stem before placing them on the prepared baking sheet. Roll the lime back and forth on the cutting board to soften it just a bit and release the juices before cutting it in half.
STEP TWO – MAKE THE PICO DE GALLO
Put the two diced tomatoes, half of the onion and the cilantro leaves into a large bowl. Slice the red chili pepper and add it into the bowl.
Squeeze the lime into the bowl and season with a pinch of salt to taste. Stir well and cover with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in the refrigerator until ready to use.
STEP THREE – RINSE THE BLACK BEANS
Pour the black beans into a sieve or colander and rinse them well under cool water. This will remove any leftover liquid from the can.
STEP FOUR – SAUTÉ THE BASE FOR THE BEANS
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the rest of the onion and chopped cilantro stems to the pan and stir well.
Let them cook about 2 minutes before adding in the last of the tomato, stirring again. Cook 2-3 more minutes.
STEP FIVE – COOK THE BEANS
Add the rinsed and drained black beans to the pan and stir them to combine. With the back of a wooden spoon, gently smash some of the beans into the pan.
Pour a bit of water, just enough to barely cover a single layer of the beans, and stir well.
Bring it to a simmer, but make sure to stir it frequently so the beans soak up the liquid a bit and nothing sticks.
Once the beans have soaked up a bit of the liquid and what’s left has become thick, mash the beans again with the back of the spoon.
STEP SIX – STUFF THE PEPPERS
Spoon the prepared black beans into each pepper half. With a spoon, make a hollowed out space in the middle of the beans for the egg.
Crack the egg and remove most of the yolk by transferring the yolk back and forth between the shell halves. Add the yolk and white attached to it to the black beans in the pepper. Repeat with all of the peppers.
STEP SEVEN – BAKE THE PEPPERS
Slide the baking sheet with the filled peppers into the oven to bake about 15 minutes. They will be ready when the egg white has set and the skins on the peppers have wrinkled a bit.
For a hard yolk, cook a couple minutes longer. For a softer, runny yolk, a couple minutes less, but make sure the white has cooked through.
STEP EIGHT – PREPARE THE TORTILLAS
Lay the tortillas on a cutting board, one on top of the other, and cut them into 1 inch thick strips.
STEP NINE – PAN FRY TORTILLA STRIPS
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Lay the strips of tortilla in the pan in a single layer and allow them to cook about 2 minutes on each side. They will be crisp and brown when ready. Repeat with the other tortilla.
STEP TEN – SEASON TORTILLA STRIPS
Line a plate with paper towels and move the cooked tortilla strips to it. Blot the tortillas with another paper towel to remove any excess oil from frying them.
Sprinkle coarse salt on the tortilla strips while they are still hot.
STEP ELEVEN – ADD AVOCADO AND PLATE DISH
Cut open the avocado and remove the seed. Cut the green flesh down lengthwise, not going through the skin, and then across horizontally. With a spoon, scoop out the avocado cubes. Plate the stuffed pepper and add a spoonful of pico de gallo, some avocado, and a couple strips of the fried tortilla. Serve immediately.
As you can see, these huevos ranchero stuffed peppers are a beautiful and healthy way to start the day! The flavor can be altered just by changing this basic pico de gallo by adding more peppers like this one here, or use topping similar to these citrus chicken tacos.
To make this easier, try the black beans from this recipe in this homemade steak burrito recipe and just double it to use them for breakfast leftovers.