Shrimp Stuffed Poblano Peppers
June 13, 2017 by Nicole Collins
It's Taco Tuesday! But, we're celebrating in a different kind of way today.
I was thinking the other day about what life would be like if every day of the week had a Mexi inspired meal plan. Let's just say I was thinking outside of the Taco Tuesday box.
Here's what I came up with: Margarita Monday. Taco Tuesday (can't mess with the classic). White Queso Wednesday. Taquito Thursday. Fajita Friday. Sangria Saturday. And Sunday, can be our day of rest.
What do you think? Think we could make that a thing? I totally think we could start a revolution...
Anyways, I need you all to think a little outside of the Taco Tuesday box with me today. Because, here's what we're doing. Instead of stuffing all of our yummy fillings in a taco shell, we're stuffing them in a poblano pepper. Doesn't that sound so fun?!?!? I promised you guys a string of healthy recipes, and today's meal is no different.
This is actually one of the very first recipes I created after I started the 21 day fix plan. See, the thing with the 21 day fix plan that was the hardest for me was cutting down on carbs. When I first started the plan, I was allowed 4 carb allowances per day. I remember how impossible that felt. Currently, I'm allowed 2 carb allowances, and I certainly go days where I don't use either of them.
I'm sure I've told you before that I'm a salty snacker; so in snacks alone, I was getting more than my recommended carb intake. Chips, pretzels, popcorn...carb, carb, carb. Then, there's the potatoes. I lived for potatoes. Baked, fried, scalloped, tots...breakfast, lunch, or dinner...there was almost always a potato on my plate. Well, 1 whole potato equaled 2 carb allowances. And that's if I ate a medium sized one. But I like the big jumbo babies; so realistically, that was probably 3 or 4 carb allowances. Whoa...
I also ate A LOT of sandwiches in the old days (because who doesn't love a good sammie). But each slice of bread counted as 1 carb allowance. I couldn't bare to waste 2 out of 4 allowed carbs on one little sandwich. So, I knew I had to figure out a way to win the game. My health was the prize, after all.
I've always been a taco junkie and a huge lover of Mexican inspired food, so that style of cuisine was my comfort zone. That's why my carbless meal experiment had to come from that flavor profile. And, boy am I glad that inspiration came from necessity on this one, because this is one of my favorite meals ever to make.
Our shell is the poblano pepper. I really like poblanos in this for a couple of reasons. One, they're generally not incredibly spicy, but they still give you a little zing that you won't get from a bell pepper. (However, the last time I made these I somehow managed to find the spiciest poblanos in the universe, and my mouth was on fire! That's never happened before, and I make these all the time.) Two, they're the perfect size to be our taco boat. They're not too deep, but not too shallow. Just right, and stinkin' adorable while they're at it! And three, they cook up fairly quickly without much prep work.
Now, the stuffing is really the star of the show here. We start by roasting some shrimp tossed in a spice mix. Then, we chop it up and mix it with some Laughing Cow cheese wedges. When I first started making this, I used the Chipotle Queso Fresco wedges, and I seasoned the shrimp with a fajita seasoning. But then, I couldn't find that flavor in any of the stores in my area; so I switched over to the Spicy Pepperjack wedges, and I now use chipotle chili powder in my spice mix. Both are delicious, but the second combo (which is the one listed in the recipe below) definitely has a little more of a spicy kick to it. You could absolutely tone it down even more by using one of their non spicy cheeses like the swiss or the asiago.
There are really no substitutes for the cheese wedges. It might sound strange, and I know there are some people out there that think that seafood and cheese don't belong together, but hear me out. We dice the wedges up in to small cubes. So, the cheese doesn't melt, but it gets this crust on the outside while the cheese gets just a little gooier on the inside. It's so incredible. It just adds a creamy element to the stuffing that can't be beat.
Anyway, once the cheese and shrimp are diced, we mix them together, stuff the shells, then top the peppers with just a little more shredded cheese for good measure. We roast them up, spritz them with a little lime juice out of the oven, and the rest is magic.
But, we're not done. When we're ready to eat, these already delicious peppers get topped with some fresh made guac, a little sour cream, a drizzle of hot sauce, and some crushed tortilla chips. Are you drooling yet?
These peppers are so amazing, you won't even miss the taco shell or the carbs! And since we're saving carbs, I think we have permission to have a Margarita Monday/Taco Tuesday collaboration...just saying.
And you guys, we've been doing so well with our healthy eating that I might just have a sweet treat for you VERY soon!
Enjoy, and let's eat!
Shrimp Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Serves: 4 Print
For the Shrimp:
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed if frozen)
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp chipotle chili powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
For the Guacamole:
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
¼ cup prepared pico de gallo
juice of 1 lime
¼ tsp salt
For the Peppers:
4 poblano peppers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed
1 wheel (8 wedges) pepperjack Laughing Cow cheese, unwrapped
½ cup shredded cheddar (or cheddar blend)
juice of ½ a lime
sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and hot sauce for topping
olive oil cooking spray
Make the shrimp: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil. Place shrimp on pan, drizzle with olive oil, and season with spices. Toss everything together with your hands, and spread shrimp in an even layer. Roast for 8-10 minutes until shrimp are cooked through. When the shrimp are finished, drop the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
When the shrimp is cool enough to handle, chop shrimp in to bite size pieces, and transfer to a bowl. Take the cheese wedges, and dice in to similar size pieces as the shrimp. (This step is a little messy, but hang in there!) Add the diced cheese to the shrimp, and toss to combine.
Line a sheet pan with foil. Place pepper halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Lightly spritz the outside of the peppers with olive oil cooking spray. Flip the peppers over. Take the shrimp mix and evenly divide between the peppers. Top each pepper with shredded cheese. Place in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the guacamole: Place avocados in a bowl and mash with a fork. Mix in pico de gallo, lime juice, and salt. Stir to combine.
When the peppers are finished, remove from oven, and immediately squeeze juice from the lime half over each pepper.
To serve, top peppers with guacamole, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and hot sauce, if desired.
*These peppers will store well in the fridge without the toppings. Just reheat in the microwave when you're ready for them, and top them with fresh guac and your other toppings.
*These definitely have some kick to them between the poblano, chipotle powder, and pepperjack cheese. Use a non spicy cheese flavor, like the swiss or asiago to tame the heat a bit.
*The Laughing Cow cheese doesn't melt, which is kinda what I love about this recipe. It gets a little crust on the outside but gooey on the inside. So, don't be scared that you're going to have a cheesy mess on your hands. Also for that reason, don't try to substitute with regular shredded cheese for the filling.