I love making stuffed peppers. They are such a versatile style of cooking that can be made to suit any palette. The main formula for the stuffing is meat (or meat alternative such as mushrooms), grain (rice, orzo, quinoa…), and sauce. In the past I have made Greek stuffed peppers with lamb, orzo and feta cheese, or these scrumptious Mexican stuffed peppers with sausage, beans and rice. I even got super crazy one time and made Stuffed Peppers with Sausage and Shrimp.
Recently I made a more traditional Italian stuffed pepper recipe. I used a combination of pork and turkey Italian sausage and brown rice to add to the “health factor” of the recipe.
I am very lucky to have kids that eat just about anything and love their vegetables. I don’t have to do anything to hide vegetables to get them to eat them. However, I still like making food fun for them. For my kids I stuffed mini peppers with the same filling. They were a big hit!
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 4 large bell peppers, cut in half length-wise and seeds removed
- Olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 pound turkey Italian sausage
- 1/2 pound pork Italian sausage
- 1 cup jarred pasta sauce
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- Cook rice according to package directions (I always use my pressure cooker).
- Preheat oven to 375. Place bell peppers, cut side down, in a microwave safe dish; add 1/2 c. water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave in high for 4-5 minutes, or until peppers are soft. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet and saute diced pepper and onion for 3-4 minutes, until they are starting to soften but aren't browned. Remove pepper-onion mixture to a bowl, add 1/2 T. more olive oil and sausage and cook until it's lightly browned, breaking apart as you go.
- Put sausage mixture into the bowl with the onion and pepper mixture and add the pasta sauce and stir to combine. Then add cooked rice and Parmesan cheese, season the mixture with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
- Stuff the filling mixture into the hollowed-out peppers, using a spoon to press the mixture down so it's tightly packed into the pepper shell. Bake peppers for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and put a generous pinch of grated mozzarella on top of each pepper. Put peppers back into the oven and bake about 10-15 minutes more, until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.