Comforting and hearty. Budget-friendly. The ingredients can be found in my pantry. These are on my wish list for nearly every recipe that I make, though I don’t always succeed with checking each box. But this recipe for Italian Stuffed Peppers? It fits them all!
I think my favorite part is that the recipe makes great use pantry ingredients. Here’s the ingredient list by location:
White or brown rice
8 oz can of tomato sauce
Fresh parsley (garnish only—completely optional)
Considering that I usually have ground beef and shredded mozzarella in my freezer, the only item I needed for this recipe was the bell peppers. Win!
These Italian Stuffed Peppers (and also these Southwestern Stuffed Peppers) are a dish that I make when I want something “different” for dinner. I usually get stuck in the meat, starch, veggie rotation: chicken with rice and roasted broccoli, pot roast with potatoes and a salad, etc.
Maybe it’s because my mom didn’t make stuffed peppers growing up, but these Italian Stuffed Peppers just seem special enough to be out-of-the-ordinary. And it helps that my husband Longe gobbles them up!
I start by halving and de-seeding bell peppers, and then steaming them in the oven. Meanwhile, the rice is cooking and I’m making the meat and onion mixture. I absolutely love recipes when I’m able to multitask like this. I feel so productive! 🙂
You could easily make this a vegetarian dish by substituting white beans for the ground beef. Sautéed zucchini and sundried tomatoes would be a nice addition. Chopped olives would be delicious, too! You could also use a shredded provolone or Italian blend cheese instead of the mozzarella. Use what you have or what sounds good to you!
Italian Stuffed Peppers
- 4 bell peppers I used red and green
- ½ cup uncooked white or brown rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 lb ground sirloin 90% lean
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- For garnish: fresh chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Halve the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Place the peppers in a 13x9 inch baking dish, cut side up. Pour ¼ cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
- Meanwhile, place the rice and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook according to package directions (my white rice took 20 minutes). Let rice sit for 5 minutes after cooking, then uncover and fluff with a fork.
- While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 2–3 minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the ground sirloin, and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 5–6 minutes until no longer pink. Stir in the garlic cloves, oregano, basil, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Cook for 30 seconds longer.
- Add ½ cup of the mozzarella, tomato sauce, and cooked rice to the meat mixture. Stir to combine.
- When the peppers are tender, remove them from the oven. Carefully lift the foil—there will be steam! Remove the peppers from the pan and pour out the water. Pour out any water that has collected in the peppers as well (I use tongs for this as the peppers are still hot).
- Season the inside of the peppers with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Divide the meat and rice mixture evenly among the peppers. Top with the remaining 1 cup cheese.
- Bake for 5–7 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the peppers are warm throughout. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.