Stuffed peppers is one of my favorite go-to main dishes. They're delicious, easy to make on a weeknight, and extremely flexible because you can make the filling with whatever ingredients or leftovers you have available. Stuffed peppers also cover all your bases for a healthy and complete meal. You get your vegetable intake from the bell peppers, starch from the white rice or brown rice mixture, protein from the ground beef or other meat, dairy from the cheese, and fiber if you're adding beans. No matter what ingredients you decide to use for your stuffed peppers, you really can't go wrong!
Peppers also have lots of dietary benefits and are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. Take advantage of all of this by stuffing those peps full of delicious goodness.
We've come up with a list of helpful tricks and tips so you can make the perfect stuffed bell peppers this week. And don't forget to check out our favorite stuffed pepper recipes that prove you should really stuff peppers!
1. Prep your peps.
The star ingredient for stuffed peppers are the bell peppers, right? Red, yellow, orange or green bell peppers make the perfect vessel for holding all of that tasty filling for classic stuffed peppers. You can use only one color of bell peppers or a variety of colors. I like to use a variety of bell peppers because each one has a different level of sweetness to it.
There are two ways you can slice you bell peppers:
- Some folks like to keep them whole with only the top cut off and the seeds removed. Helpful tip: use a paring knife, which is smaller to carefully remove all of the seeds.
- If you want to change it up a bit, try slicing your bell peppers in half. This cuts down the baking time and makes it easier to fill each bell pepper.
2. Save the bell pepper tops.
I have a hard time seeing good food go to waste, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Whenever I'm making my favorite stuffed pepper recipe, I always dice up the pepper tops and throw them into my filling.
If you're not slicing your bell peppers in half and using them whole, you can also use the tops of peppers as a lid. This adds to presentation of the stuffed peppers and you can also eat the lids, minus the green stem. Make your stuffed peppers Italian with Italian seasoning and mozzarella cheese, or go for Mexican with black beans, cheddar cheese and salsa!
3. Pre-cook those beauties.
Have you tried pre-cooking your bell peppers? This extra step shortens the overall cooking time of the stuffed peppers and ensures that the filling doesn't overcook. While I'm making the filling, like to pre-cook my bell peppers in a baking dish with a little water, broth or tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan in a preheated oven. I also cover the baking dish in aluminum foil to keep in the steam, which helps the bell peppers cook. You can also cook them in a microwave, slow cooker, or in a large saucepan of boiling water.
Another way to pre-cook your bell peppers is by placing them in a large skillet directly over the flame (about medium-high heat) on the grill or stove top (just keep an eye on them). Your bell peppers will roast beautifully and will cut down the cooking time. They'll be all set to add that cooked rice in when you're ready.
4. Make the most of baking pans.
A square 8x8 baking dish doesn't always do the trick for the perfect stuffed peppers. You risk them tipping over and all of the delicious filling spilling out all over the place. If you own a few baking pans, you can really put them to good use when you're making stuffed peppers.
Sometimes round instead of square is the way to go! Arranging your stuffed peppers in a bundt pan makes for a snug fit so they'll stay upright.
This one really has me asking myself, 'Why haven't I thought of this all along?!' I'm sure you have a few muffin tins hanging around the kitchen, and instead of using them for making the perfect batch of cupcakes or muffins, use them for making stuffed peppers. Whether you use green peppers or red bell peppers, it's the perfect fit!
I have a ton of ramekins in my kitchen in a variety of serving sizes. I love to use them when I'm baking, but they also make a nice holder for stuffed peppers. This is helpful if you're only planning on making a few stuffed bell peppers instead of a whole batch.
If you don't have any of the suggested baking pans listed above, you can always use a square baking dish. To prevent the stuffed bell peppers from tipping over, use a paring knife to slice off the bottom of the pepper, which will help them be a little more stable.
5. Use leftovers in your stuffed peppers.
Like I mentioned before, I really don't like to waste food. If your refrigerator is like mine and filled with leftovers like: lean ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey from taco night, or leftover white rice from stir fry night. Even quinoa is a great choice. Don't throw it away and use the turkey or beef mixture and white rice in the filling for stuffed peppers.
Mix in some extra roasted veggies like zucchini and diced tomatoes and you have yourself a great recipe with minimal prep time. Add in some pepper jack cheese and black pepper for spice, or mix in kosher salt, garlic powder, cilantro and tomato paste for extra flavor.Do you have any tricks or tips for making the best stuffed peppers?
This post was originally published on June 23, 2018.