Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Stuffed Peppers (Plus 2 Recipes To Try At Home!)

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Whenever I have a near-empty fridge, I make stuffed peppers. A fridge that is lacking in obvious ingredients forces you to get creative in the kitchen, and stuffed pepper recipes are a fantastic option when it comes to playing around with leftovers (from the fridge, freezer, and pantry). Think of bell peppers as a blank canvas just waiting to be filled with your favorite healthy ingredients!

We guide you through the entire process of making delicious stuffed peppers, from basic bell pepper prep and super-nutritious ingredient suggestions to recipes to try for yourself.

Basic Bell Pepper Prep for Stuffed Pepper Recipes

First things first, you’ll need to wash and dry the peppers. Next, cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise using a sharp chef’s knife. You want to end up with two pepper “boats” that can be stuffed with filling. Using a paring knife, trim away the white pith and seeds, leaving the stem intact for decorative purposes.

If the bell pepper halves are wobbly, you can even them out by making a shallow cut across the base of the pepper half so they’ll be able to stand up on their own. If you know you’ll be short on time, bell peppers can be prepped a day ahead and stored in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to fill them.

Now that you know how to prep your peppers, here are two tasty stuffed pepper recipes to try at home.

Tuscan-Style Turkey and Brown Rice Stuffed Peppers

These Tuscan-style stuffed peppers are perfect for weeknight suppers while still being elegant enough for a dinner party with friends. Serve these stuffed peppers with grilled or steamed asparagus and a big green salad with a citrusy dressing.

Nutrition Information*

Calories: 300

Protein: 18 grams

Dietary Fiber: 6 grams

Sugars: 6 grams

*Per serving, not including the optional grated cheese, fresh basil, or parsley

Time: 30 Minutes Active Time + 1 Hour Cook Time

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings (1 Whole Pepper per Serving)

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 sweet bell peppers, prepped (see above)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tsp. dried onion powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. dried chili flakes (or more, to taste)
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated in hot water and then finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 4 cups of roughly chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1 ½ cups chilled brown rice
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or water
  • Freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese (optional)
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup fresh basil, cut in a thin chiffonade*

*To cut basil into a chiffonade, stack multiple basil leaves on top of one another and roll into a tight, cigar-shaped tube. Using a sharp paring or chef’s knife, cut the basil leaves across the width of the roll into fine ribbons.

Special Equipment:

  • Cutting board
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Chef’s knife
  • Paring knife
  • Sauté pan (this model from >Cuisinart will last you a lifetime and it looks great in any kitchen!)
  • >Silicone or wooden spatula
  • 9” × 13” casserole dish
  • Aluminum foil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a large sauté pan before crumbling in the ground turkey and seasoning with ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt.
  3. Using a silicone or wooden spatula break the ground turkey apart and continue cooking until the meat is no longer pink inside.
  4. Transfer the cooked ground turkey to a bowl and wipe down the inside of the sauté pan with paper towel. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the sauté pan and return to medium heat.
  5. Sauté the shallot, dried onion powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, and dried chili flakes in the oil until fragrant.
  6. Next, add the rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and kale.
  7. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale has completely wilted.
  8. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the cooked ground turkey and brown rice, gently stirring with the spatula until combined.
  9. Remove from heat and set aside.
  10. Using a large spoon, divide the ground turkey and brown rice mixture amongst the bell pepper halves.
  11. Evenly space the stuffed peppers in a 9”× 13” casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray, adding ½ cup water or vegetable stock to the bottom of the dish.
  12. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Larger peppers may need up to 10 extra minutes (55 minutes total) baking time.
  13. Remove the foil and sprinkle liberally with parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, cooking the stuffed peppers under the broiler for another 5 to 8 minutes (keep an eye on the peppers to make sure they don’t burn).
  14. Serve the stuffed peppers while hot or at room temperature, garnishing with fresh parsley and basil before serving.

Vegetarian Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

With half your recommended daily allowance of dietary fiber, these filling vegetarian quinoa and black bean stuffed peppers are an ideal work lunch throughout the week. Serve with salsa or pico de gallo, guacamole, and Greek yogurt.

Nutrition Information*

Calories: 269

Protein: 12 grams

Dietary Fiber: 13 grams

Sugars: 9 grams

*Per serving, not including the optional crumbled cheese, scallions, or cilantro

Time: 30 Minutes Active Time + 1 Hour Cook Time

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (1 whole pepper per serving)

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 sweet bell peppers, prepped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced (seeds and white pith removed)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder (test the spice level before using and adjust as necessary)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups corn (fresh or frozen works best—avoid canned)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cut into a small dice (fresh or frozen will work)
  • One 15.5-oz. can of black beans, drained
  • 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa, chilled
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • >Cooking spray
  • Crumbled >cotija or mild feta cheese (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3 scallions thinly sliced, white and pale green parts only

Special Equipment:

  • Cutting board
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Chef’s knife
  • Paring knife
  • Large sauté pan
  • Silicone or wooden spatula
  • Large spoon
  • 9” × 13” casserole dish
  • Aluminum foil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Add the olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, jalapeño, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt to the pan.
  3. Sauté for 5 to 6 minutes or until the onions have softened.
  4. Next, add the corn, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and butternut squash to the onion and spice mixture.
  5. Stirring frequently, cook the vegetables for 8 to 10 minutes or until softened.
  6. Add the black beans, quinoa, and ½ cup vegetable stock to the sauté pan, stirring until the stock has been absorbed.
  7. Using a spoon, divide the quinoa and black bean mixture amongst the bell pepper halves.
  8. Coat the bottom of a casserole dish with cooking spray and add the stuffed peppers halves.
  9. Add the remaining ½ cup of vegetable stock to the casserole dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes; larger peppers may need up to 10 extra minutes (55 minutes total) baking time.
  11. Remove the foil from the casserole dish, crumble the cotija or feta cheese over the stuffed peppers. Run the stuffed peppers under the broiler until it begins to brown (it won’t melt). Remove from the oven.
  12. Serve the stuffed peppers hot or at room temperature. When ready to serve, sprinkle the stuffed peppers with plenty of fresh cilantro and sliced scallions.

Still not convinced you can nail homemade stuffed peppers? Check out our stuffed pepper FAQs:

Can I make stuffed peppers ahead of time?

Peppers that have been stuffed but not yet cooked can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge overnight. Just keep them covered with plastic wrap or in a reusable container. Take the stuffed peppers out of the fridge 20 minutes before you plan to cook them and then follow the baking directions outlined in the recipes above.

How long can I store cooked stuffed peppers in the fridge?

Refrigerated stuffed peppers that have already been cooked can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to four days. Make extra stuffed peppers to keep in the fridge and you’ll have a highly nutritious and filling lunch to take to work throughout the week.

Can I freeze stuffed peppers?

Absolutely! When Andrea Hardy, RD at >Ignite Nutrition makes her famous vegetarian >Mediterranean Lentil-Stuffed Peppers, she always preps and freezes the bell peppers beforehand.

Hardy tells HealthyWay, “Stuffed peppers are a bit of a labor of love—they aren’t a 15-minute recipe—so I tend to batch cook and freeze them. Always pre-bake them first to soften them up; you can do this on the BBQ too, though! That way they don’t take too long to cook and are the right texture when you stuff them and bake them the second time.”

To freeze stuffed peppers, blanch the prepped pepper halves in boiling water for two to three minutes (or follow Hardy’s advice and grill them). This will help prevent the peppers from becoming slimy when they warm back up. Transfer the blanched peppers to a paper towel and let cool to room temperature before stuffing them with the cooked filling. Wrap each stuffed pepper with at least two layers of plastic wrap and store each wrapped pepper in a resealable freezer bag or container (these precautions will help prevent freezer burn). Stuffed peppers can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

When you’re ready to eat the stuffed peppers, simply transfer them to a casserole dish, add a half cup of water or vegetable stock, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake from frozen. Depending on the size of the stuffed peppers, you may need to increase the baking time by up to 30 minutes (not including broiling time, which will be the same as indicated in the recipe).

How do I know my stuffed peppers are cooked?

Stuffed peppers are cooked when they’re warmed all the way through and feel hot throughout. Because the meat used in stuffed peppers is usually pre-cooked, the risk of potential cross-contamination is very low. Thanks to the aluminum foil used to cover the peppers as well as the addition of water or stock, the stuffed peppers are lightly steamed as they cook. For melted cheese or breadcrumbs toppings, running the peppers under the broiler for 5 minutes after baking will result in a pleasantly browned crust.

Are all bell peppers the same?

Despite the fact that peppers come in a rainbow of different colors, ranging anywhere from green to deep red, bell peppers all come from the same plant. Green bell peppers are still relatively unripe, yellow and orange bell peppers are just beginning to ripen, and red peppers are the most mature. All bell peppers contain an impressive amount of nutrients and are very low in calories, but since >red peppers spend the longest amount of time on the vine (most vegetables have the highest nutritional value when picked at >the height of maturity) they have a nutritional advantage over >green peppers in terms of beta-carotene and vitamins A and C.

What’s the best cooking method for stuffed peppers?

Stuffed peppers can be cooked in the oven, on the grill, in the microwave, or in a slow cooker. Although the microwave and slow cooker are convenient, stuffed peppers cooked in this manner are often quite soggy. The oven method produces the best results in terms of overall texture and taste because it’s the driest cooking method (even though the stuffed peppers are still being lightly steamed under the aluminum foil). Five minutes under the broiler at the end of the cooking time helps to achieve a lightly browned topping and adds a pleasantly crispy texture to the finished stuffed peppers.

Why are stuffed peppers so good for you?

Stuffed peppers offer a huge array of nutrients in a compact meal. Hardy loves stuffed peppers for their positive effect on gut health. Her take?

I love stuffed peppers. From a nutrition perspective, you can pack them with things that are high in fiber to help feed the bacteria in your gut. When your gut bacteria are well-fed they produce anti-inflammatory compounds and keep your gut healthy. My favorites tend to be lentils, as they’re soft and the texture blends with almost anything, but I’ve done black beans too for Mexican stuffed peppers!

Deborah Murphy MS, RDN, and creator of the food blog >Dietitian Debbie Dishes (try her incredible >Vegetarian TVP Stuffed Peppers) praises stuffed peppers for their generous nutritional impact:

I love stuffed peppers because depending on the filling you use, they are essentially a complete meal in one dish. Use brown rice or cauliflower rice for your filling to boost the fiber content and add some beans for a healthy source of plant-based protein. The bell peppers themselves are also high in nutrients like Vitamin C [giving you more than 100 percent of your] daily value, vitamin B6, and potassium.

Stuffed Pepper Tips and Hacks From the Pros

Both Hardy and Murphy are seasoned pros when it comes to stuffed pepper recipes and they have some helpful tips for making them at home. For example, Hardy likes to work around a theme. She elaborates:

I typically choose a “theme” and base my ingredients off that. My two go-tos besides my Mediterranean peppers [are Mexican and Greek-inspired]. For Mexican: cilantro, rice, black beans, ground beef, peppers, onion, cheese, and taco seasoning. For Greek: rice, feta, olives, peppers, onion, and Greek seasoning.

Murphy also likes to be inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean and recommends you stuff your peppers with rice, chickpeas, feta cheese, and olives. Looking for some new vegetarian protein options? Murphy loves tempeh.

“As a vegetarian, I always try to incorporate some source of plant-based protein like beans or tempeh into my stuffed peppers,” she says. If you aren’t familiar with tempeh, it is made from fermented soybeans which are pressed into a patty that can be sliced or crumbled depending on the recipe. Adding tempeh to stuffed peppers is a tasty way to try it in a more familiar dish.

If you’re a fan of heat, try stuffing larger spicy peppers with your favorite filling (poblano and banana peppers work well, just make sure to wear gloves when removing the seeds and white pith to avoid unexpected contact burns).

Stuffed Peppers: the Perfect Meal-in-One

When you select your fillings with nutrition in mind, stuffed peppers are literally stuffed with nutrients; they’re full of important vitamins and minerals, high in dietary fiber, can be made ahead or brought to work for lunch, and can be customized to suit any taste. Although they require more time than some other recipes, much of the work can be in advance (plus, the filling can be mixed and peppers can be stuffed by younger kitchen helpers!). They’re also the perfect meal for when you need to clean out your fridge or freezer before a big grocery haul.

Super-nutritious, great for gut-health, and endlessly customizable? It’s time to try one of our delicious stuffed pepper recipes for yourself!

Source : https://www.healthyway.com/content/stuffed-pepper-recipes/

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Stuffed Peppers (Plus 2 Recipes To Try At Home!)
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