Comforting and hearty. Budget friendly. These Italian Stuffed Peppers are the perfect weeknight meal!
Stuffed peppers are serious comfort food. And they don’t require any special ingredients. In fact, most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry!
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!
Here’s what you’ll need, organized by location. 🙂
- White or brown rice
- Olive oil
- Yellow onion
- Garlic cloves
- Dried oregano
- Dried basil
- 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- Kosher salt
- Bell peppers
- Ground beef
- Shredded mozzarella
- Fresh parsley (garnish only—completely optional)
How to make Italian stuffed peppers
1. Halve and de-seed the peppers, then place them in a 13×9 inch casserole dish. Pour ¼ cup of water into the dish, cover with foil, and bake the peppers for 20 minutes.
2. Place the rice and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork.
3. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in olive oil, then add the ground beef. Cook until the beef is cooked through, then add the garlic, oregano, basil, and salt. Cook for 30 seconds.
4. Pour in the tomato sauce, then add ½ cup of cheese and the cooked rice. Stir to combine.
5. Stuff the mixture into the cooked peppers and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 5–7 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve.
I love that this recipe calls for multiple things to be cooked at once. While the peppers are cooking the first time, the rice is cooking, and you are sautéing the onion and beef mixture. It saves tons of time to be able to multitask while cooking!
How can I make vegetarian stuffed peppers?
To make vegetarian stuffed peppers, substitute one can of beans per pound of ground meat. For Italian Stuffed Peppers, substitute one can of white beans (like cannellini) in place of the ground beef. For southwestern peppers, substitute black beans.
Can I add other ingredients to the peppers?
Yes! 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.