Jump to Recipe
A great way to use up whole raw veggies that are lying around is to stuff them. I like to do this with a whole bunch of different crops: eggplant, zucchini, peppers, even potatoes. By hollowing out the insides, you can easily turn them into an edible vessel loaded with carbs, protein, and other veggies. Let me give share with you my ultimate stuffed bell peppers, a great way to make a meal out of a common household vegetable.
Stuffed Bell Peppers and other Vegetables
What you put into your stuffed veggies ultimately depends on how much space you have. My family likes to make little stuffed zucchini “canoes”. They are delicious and a great side, but there isn’t much room for a carb like rice, grains, or quinoa, nor is there a lot of room for extra vegetables.
For something bigger like peppers, we’re aiming to make a full meal. Choose large bell peppers. Any colour should work, so pick your favourite. I’ve noticed the green ones take a little longer to finish baking, but this is minor. Just monitor the peppers closely after the 30 minute mark in the oven.
I like to use arborio rice. It’s dense and sticky, absorbing a lot of water from boiling. Add a bit of olive oil and salt to your water when boiling for a richer texture and flavour. Cook the rice for about 20 minutes in simmering water. This rice works great for a risotto – allow it to absorb the liquid and puff up. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll may also like the Mexican brown rice side dish boiled in vegetable broth with lime zest and cilantro.
While the rice is cooking we prepare all the other ingredients. Season your meat however you like. This recipe doesn’t require anything specific.
Make sure to slice off the tops of the peppers cleanly, as we will be using them as lids for the stuffed pepper. Scoop out the stems and all the insides. Check for mold or dark spots on the inside of the peppers and carefully excise them with a small knife.
Some Handy Tips for Any Stuffed Veggies
These stuffed bell peppers are packed. If I can, I will try to fit rice, meat, mushrooms, and vegetables. Cheese is great too, but I can do without, and some people who are lactose intolerant may have trouble digesting this dish. So, no pressure. As a substitute to bind food together, you can also try eggs or “flax eggs” with ground flax seeds and water.
Reducing the water content of the stuffing is key to fitting as much into the vessel as possible. That is why we fry the mushrooms, onions, and meat beforehand. By frying them, as in the images above, the items shrink and increase the density of the stuffing.
The peppers will roast while in the oven. I keep them in for at least half an hour on 360° F / 180° C. During this time, a lot of the water content of the peppers themselves will evaporate. The peppers will shrivel a little bit and darken in colour. This is normal, so don’t be alarmed when you see this!
Adding a top layer of sliced cheese is really helpful to seal the lids of the peppers back on. The melted cheese acts a glue keeping the stuffing and the peppers together. It’s not mandatory but I find it both helpful and delicious.
I always look forward to eating stuffed peppers. They are jam packed with rich flavours, a soft chewy texture, and a good measure of spice to boot. I hope with this recipe that you look forward to making them as well!
Ultimate Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Large pot for rice and mixing stuffing
- Can opener and small strainer (if used canned peppers)
- Cutting board and knives
- Wooden spoon
- Large baking tray
- 6-8 green or red bell peppers depending on size of peppers 6 may not be enough
- 375g (~1 cup) Arborio rice
- 500g (~1 lb) ground meat beef or turkey both work well
- 1 can (540 ml) spicy red pepper pieces or you can substitute for 2 fresh jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
- 225g 1/2 lb mushrooms
- 150g 1/3 lb cheese (pre-shredded or block)
- 6 slices of cheese, to top the pepper can cut from the same block or get some from the deli; avoid processed cheese
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 ½ tbsp spice mix with oregano, marjoram, allspice, thyme, paprika, and cayenne or use your favourite burger/ground meat seasoning
- Season and mince your ground meat, until you can get it to spread evenly across the surface of a plate or pan.
- If using canned peppers, open and drain the can. Otherwise, chop your fresh peppers finely.
- Dice mushrooms and onions finely.
- Prepare cheese, grating it yourself if you choose to use fresh cheese.
- Cook arborio rice in a large pot with about 1 litre of salted water. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed most of the water in the pot. Leave the rice in the pot when finished.
- Fry mushrooms and onions until softened. Drain excess liquid from the pan, then add meat to sear for 2-3 minutes on high heat. The meat will finish cooking in the oven.
- In the pot of rice, throw in meat, veggies, mushrooms, and shredded cheese and mix thoroughly.
- (If using eggs or flax seeds to help keep the stuffing together, pour it in at the end).
- Cut off the tops of each bell pepper. Remove the stems and hollow out the insides of the peppers, but keep the tops. Check for mold or dark spots on the inside of the peppers and carefully excise them with a small knife.
- Stuff each pepper to top with mixed rice stuffing. Use a large spoon to compress the stuffing as much as you can without damaging the pepper. Place a slice of cheese, then place the top of the pepper back on.
- Bake the whole peppers in a tray in the oven set to 360° F / 180° C for ~30 minutes. After this time, monitor the peppers. If they are still hard on the outside you may want to keep them in for longer.
- Remove the peppers from the oven when they are done. Give them ample time to cool as the stuffing inside will still be hot for a while. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by! If you like this kind of article, why not check out some of my other food recipes as well?