Stuffed bell peppers are a delightful blend of savory and slightly sweet flavors, making them a perfect choice for a comforting family meal. With lean ground beef, aromatic onions, and garlic, these peppers are not only delicious but also easy to prepare in about 30 minutes. The addition of pepper jack cheese gives a delightful kick, ensuring a dish that’s both filling and flavorful.
Why You’ll Love Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Simple Ingredients: Uses everyday items you likely have in your pantry.
- Customizable: Easily adaptable for vegetarian and plant-based diets.
- Kid-Friendly: Loved by adults and kids alike for its colorful presentation and tasty filling.
- Perfect for Any Occasion: Ideal for a weeknight dinner, potluck, or special family gathering.
Stuffed Bell Peppers Ingredients & Substitutions
- Bell Peppers: Serve as a nutritious and colorful container. For a different flavor, try using different colored peppers.
- Lean Ground Beef: Provides protein; can be substituted with ground turkey or a plant-based ground meat alternative.
- Onion and Garlic: Add depth and aroma; buying pre-chopped from the store is a time saver.
- Diced Tomatoes: Give moisture and tanginess; fresh chopped tomatoes can also be used.
- Rice: Offers texture and helps to bind the filling; quinoa is a great alternative.
- Corn: Adds a sweet crunch; frozen peas or diced carrots are also great options.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Enhances flavor; soy sauce can be a substitute. For gluten-free diets, double check your label as some contain gluten.
- Cheese: Brings creamy texture and rich flavor; try different cheeses like cheddar or mozzarella for variation. Your favorite meltable plant-based shredded cheese can be used if desired.
Using substitutions may affect final taste and texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
While all the colors of the bell peppers can come from the same plant, there are differences. The biggest difference is the taste and nutrition between colors. Red peppers are the sweetest, followed by orange then yellow, then ending on green. All the bell peppers have similar mild heat. Any color of bell pepper can be used for stuffed bell peppers. Which you choose is a matter of personal preference.
Yes, you can prepare the filling in advance and stuff the peppers just before baking.
This recipe is written in a way that renders the pepper tender crisp, meaning it still has a crunch to it. if you like your bell peppers to be softer instead of tender crisp, cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes until cheese on top is bubbling and starting to brown.
Alternately, you can also parboil them before stuffing. Prepare the bell peppers as directed, but before stuffing, boil them in a pot of water for 5 to 10 minutes before stuffing and baking.
Substitute rice with cauliflower rice for a low-carb version.
Yes, you can, but you’ll need to return the skillet to the heat and cook until the corn is heated through and the ground beef is completely cooked through.
Make Stuffed Bell Peppers a Complete Meal With…
For a fresh and light addition, consider serving them with a simple green salad. This salad could feature mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a sprinkle of feta cheese. It adds freshness and balances the richness of the peppers.
Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, or green beans make for a healthful side. They complement the robust flavors of the stuffed peppers without overpowering them. For those who enjoy a bread accompaniment, a side of garlic bread or soft dinner rolls is perfect. These options are great for soaking up any delicious juices on the plate and add a comforting touch.
If you’re looking for a more substantial accompaniment, consider roasted potatoes or potato wedges seasoned with herbs. Their crispy texture contrasts nicely with the soft peppers. Alternatively, a side of quinoa or couscous can be a light yet filling addition, great for absorbing the flavors of the dish.
- Filling too dry? Add a bit more diced tomatoes or a splash of broth.
- Cheese not melting? Cover the dish with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.
- Peppers not standing upright? Slice a tiny bit off the bottom to create a flat surface.
Tips From the Chef
- Choose the Right Peppers: Opt for bell peppers that are large, firm, and have a flat bottom. This ensures they hold more filling and stand upright easily in the baking dish.
- Season the Filling Well: Don’t hesitate to taste and adjust the seasoning of your beef and rice mixture before stuffing the peppers. Proper seasoning is key to a flavorful filling. Remember, the rice and corn will absorb a lot of the flavors, so a little extra seasoning can go a long way.
- Let the Cheese Crisp Up: For an extra tasty topping, allow the cheese to crisp up slightly in the oven. This can be achieved by broiling the stuffed peppers for the last few minutes of cooking time. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
Stuffed Bell Peppers Readiness Indicators
- The peppers should be tender but still hold their shape.
- The cheese on top should be golden and bubbly.
- The filling should be heated through, which can be checked with a food thermometer (internal temperature should be at least 165°F).
Make Ahead Instructions
- Filling Preparation: The filling can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
- Partial Baking: Bake the peppers without the cheese topping, cool, and refrigerate. Add cheese and reheat before serving.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
- Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: Freeze individual peppers for up to 3 months. Wrap each pepper in foil and place in a freezer bag.
- Reheating: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Reheat in the oven at 350°F until warmed through, about 20 minutes.
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