Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers

A hearty, healthy, and delicious favorite, these colorful stuffed bell peppers are filled with tomatoey seasoned ground meat and rice mixture — a comforting old-fashioned dinner from my childhood worth revisiting! It’s a gloriously easy and balanced meal loved by the entire family.
Stuffed Bell Peppers pinit

About This Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

There are always those amazing combinations of flavors that stay with you from childhood, no matter how long it’s been. This recipe for stuffed bell peppers is one of those incredibly delicious meals that, even today, I can remember the taste of just by thinking about it.

I’ll never forget the mouthwatering aroma that would waft through the entire kitchen when my grandma would prepare these colorful stuffed peppers and the delicious mouthfuls that followed.

And because those memories are so comforting, I wanted to create my own version of my grandma’s stuffed peppers. The great thing about this recipe is that you can add extra ingredients or leave out some others, and the result will still be delicious.

You can use whatever protein you like — beef, pork, chicken, sausages, or even legumes. There are really endless customizations you can make.

The bell peppers are excellent in this recipe because they are strong enough to hold their shape, becoming a perfect vessel for the stuffing. Bell peppers come in different colors, from green to yellow, orange, and red, depending on their stage of ripeness. The green bell pepper is the least ripe and less sweet, while the red peppers are the most mature and sweet.

For this recipe, I like to use a variety of colors because it really makes a beautiful presentation on the table, but you may use whatever peppers you have on hand.

You can also prepare these bell peppers by baking them in the oven, cooking them in a crockpot, or letting them simmer on stovetop. Any way you choose to cook these stuffed peppers, you will bring a good and tasty dish to the table.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

What You Need for This Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Bell Peppers: I like to use a variety of colors because it really makes a beautiful presentation on the table. I also like to chop some green cut-off pepper tops and add them to the meat and rice mixture because it adds a lovely pepper flavor. I cut the green one because it has the most intense flavor.
  • Ground Meat: I like to use a mix of beef and pork for a rich flavor.
  • Onion & Garlic: These are the two main ingredients that give a lot of flavor to the dish.
  • Rice: For this recipe, I like to use medium-grain rice that produces moist, slightly chewy grains that stick to each other when cooked.
  • Diced Tomatoes: I like to use diced tomatoes in the meat and rice mixture because I still want some chunky tomato texture.
  • Tomatoes Sauce: Cooking the peppers in the tomatoes sauce adds a wonderful tomatoey flavor to the entire dish.
  • Chili Flakes: I like to add just a little bit of chili flakes for a touch of heat.
  • Parsley: Finely chopped fresh parsley adds a lovely aromatic flavor to the dish.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Ground Meat: I have used a mix of beef and pork, but you may also use only beef, pork, chicken, sausages, or even legumes for a vegan meal.
  • Rice: I have used medium-grain white rice, but it can be substituted with brown rice, quinoa, bread crumbs, or Panko.
  • Diced Tomatoes: I like to use diced tomatoes because I want those chunky pieces of tomatoes in the mixture, but you can also use tomatoes sauce instead.
  • Tomatoes Sauce: I like to cook the peppers in the tomatoes sauce, but you can substitute it with broth or simple water.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

FAQs

Can I make these stuffed peppers ahead of time?

Yes. You can assemble them and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days before cooking. You can even freeze them for up to 6 months.

How can I store these old-fashioned stuffed bell peppers?

You can place them in a refrigerator-friendly container and keep them in the fridge for up to one week or in a freezer for up to 3 months.

Can I make these stuffed peppers vegetarian or vegan?

Definitely. Instead of using ground meat, use legumes or walnuts for a super delicious vegan or vegetarian meal.

Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 20 min Cook Time 45 min Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Description

These old-fashioned stuffed bell peppers are one of the most satisfying meals I have ever made — the perfect comfort food for a weeknight dinner.

Yield: 4 stuffed peppers

Ingredients

How To Make Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Step By Step

  1. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic, and cook until soft, for about 3 minutes.

    Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Step 1
  2. Chop the half green pepper and add it to the onion, together with the ground meat and chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, and cook until the meat is browned, for about 5-6 minutes.

    Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Step 2
  3. Add the cooked rice, diced tomatoes, and fresh chopped parsley, and stir well. Remove from the heat, taste, and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

    Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Step 3
  4. Prepare the peppers by cutting the top off and removing the center seed pot and any remaining seeds.

    Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Step 4
  5. Preheat the oven to 180℃ (350℉). Pour the tomatoes sauce into a crockpot or a baking dish.

    Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Step 5
  6. Stuff the bell peppers with the meat and rice mixture, cover them with their top if you wish (optional), and place them standing up in the crockpot or baking dish.

    Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Step 6
  7. Cover the crockpot with the lid, or if using the baking dish with aluminum foil, and bake the peppers until they are soft and the filling is hot, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Serve the stuffed peppers drizzled with the remaining tomato sauce from the pan, and garnish with more freshly chopped parsley. Enjoy!

    Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Step 7-1

    Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Step 7-2

Note

  • For uniform cooking, choose peppers that are even in size.
  • If the peppers are too big, you may also cut them in two halves through the stem and stuff them.
  • If your peppers don’t stand up, cut a thin slice off the bottom to make it flat; otherwise, just hold them up by leaning them against each other.
  • A few modern recipes use cheese on top of the peppers and other seasonings, but I like to keep my recipe with simple ingredients, more true to the original vintage taste.
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