Stuffed bell peppers loaded with vitamins A,C, and K

Easy Stuffed Bell Pepper Recipe

By: Jasmine Shea

Ready to score a crowd-pleaser? These quick and easy stuffed bell peppers are the perfect game day recipe. Stuffed peppers are packed full of nutrients, are freezer safe, and are easily customizable.

Are stuffed peppers healthy?

Stuffed bell peppers full of vitamins A,C, and K

Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium. Peppers are also a great source of fiber, folate, and iron. The stuffing adds even more nutritional value to these colorful vegetables. Ground beef, tomatoes, onion, and extra-virgin olive oil make for great ingredients to add protein, healthy fats, and additional vegetables to stuffed peppers. (If you're watching your saturated fat intake, it's easy to switch out the ground beef for ground turkey, ground chicken, or your favorite plant-based protein.)

Plus, did you know that bell peppers contain more vitamin C by weight than oranges? Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects skin from free radicals and aids in collagen production for our skin.

Current dietary guidelines for Americans emphasize the importance of eating daily servings of nutrient-dense foods. The combination of the vitamins and micronutrients found in bell peppers make stuffed bell peppers a healthy option as a party pleaser—or a personal snack.

Where did stuffed bell peppers originate?

Cluster of bell peppers

Bell peppers have been cultivated for 9,000 years with origins in South and Central American civilizations. It's not a surprise that stuffed bell peppers began to emerge across a variety of regions. Their shape is perfect to hold stuffing, and their flavor pairs wonderfully with diverse ingredients.

Stuffed peppers are featured in a vast span of cultures and regions:

  • In Greek cuisine, stuffed peppers are known as gemista, a dish which often includes stuffed tomatoes as well
  • Indian cuisine includes stuffed peppers with meat, potatoes, and incredible Indian flavors
  • Guatemalan cuisine is known to stuff pimiento peppers and then bread them
  • Hong Kong has a variety of stuffed bell peppers with a tasty black bean sauce

With such a range, stuffed bell peppers are a fantastic way to have a hearty meal that incorporates cultural flavors into your cooking.

How to make easy stuffed bell peppers

Green bell pepper being stuffed with rice

Stuffed bell peppers can be made by cooking ground beef or other meat, onions and other and vegetables in a skillet with olive oil, stuffing them into raw peppers, and baking them until the peppers are softened. Bell peppers are normally 4-5 inches long. Mini bell peppers are the perfect size to use in recipes for entertaining and to use as grab-and-go finger food. (Both green peppers and red peppers are easy to find in this cute pocket size.)

Stuffed bell peppers can be created with a bit of spice, or they can be made sweet (especially with the natural sweetness from the peppers themselves). You can also make different fillings for the peppers to appeal to many different taste buds.

Top three peppers that are all great for stuffing:

  1. Bell peppers: the most popular pepper, offer plenty of room for filling
  2. Poblano peppers: smaller, with more of a kick
  3. Jalapeno peppers: for when you really want to spice things up

Are stuffed bell peppers keto?

Because you can easily tailor stuffed bell pepper recipes to be customized with your favorite ingredients, stuffed bell peppers can be made keto (high in fat and low-carb), gluten free, and even vegetarian.

What can bell peppers be stuffed with?

First, let's determine the type of dish you're looking to create. Here are some different peppers recipes and the suggested ingredients for your stuffed bell peppers. (Don't forget your favorite seasonings!)

Cuisine

Fillings

Vegetarian

Mushrooms, long-grain basmati or brown rice, and pinto beans

Gluten-free

Lean ground turkey, diced tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese

Keto

Ground beef, cauliflower rice, cream cheese, and sour cream

Dairy-free

Shredded chicken, quinoa, tomato sauce, and brown rice

Spicy

Pinto beans, corn, chopped jalapeno, and picante sauce

Breakfast

Ground sausage, hash browns, and spinach

Air fryer vs. grill: Which is best?

While you may be used to seeing peppers recipes that are baked in the oven, stuffed bell peppers cooked in an air fryer or on the grill are quick, easy, and delicious. Which is best? Use the method that works best for you!

Here are some things to consider:

  • If you're looking for minimal mess and no pre-cooking, don't have access to a grill, or would like to multitask while your peppers are cooking, then the air fryer is a great option. The air fryer cooks stuffed bell peppers (until tender) in about 15 minutes at 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you're interested in some added flavor, then cooking on the grill will allow you to create delicious stuffed bell peppers grilled to perfection. For grilled stuffed bell peppers, grill on high heat cut-side up for 15-20 minutes (until the peppers are soft).

Can you freeze stuffed bell peppers?

Red bell peppers being washed and chopped

Look in my freezer, and you'll see all the meals and snacks that I've made and then frozen to enjoy later. Not only can you freeze leftover stuffed bell peppers in a sealed container with aluminum foil, you can also intentionally make extra so you can freeze them to have on hand for when you need a quick make-ahead meal, potluck party dish or healthy snack.

Pre-baking is easy! When you're ready to enjoy your frozen stuffed peppers, simply thaw the pre-made ingredients in the refrigerator for a couple hours and then bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes or air fry at 360 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes. You can also skip the thawing step and simply increase the cooking time by a couple of minutes to reheat your peppers.

Can you make stuffed bell peppers without tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce adds flavor to stuffed bell peppers as well as acting as a binder for the ingredients to stick together in the stuffing.

The great news is that tomato sauce is simply one option of many that you can use as a binder in your recipe. Other options that will help all your ingredients bind together for easy stuffing include salsa, shredded cheese, cream cheese, ground meat, or any favorite sauce you may have.

Great Recipe: Quick & Easy Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers

Person holding easy stuffed bell peppers which are loaded with flavor

Ingredients:

  • Mini bell peppers
  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare rice as directed or in a slow cooker.
  3. Cut mini bell peppers in half (length-wise), scoop out the seeds, and set aside.
  4. Add ground beef to skillet with chopped onion and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook on medium heat until beef is fully browned.
  6. Stir cooked rice and diced tomatoes into beef mixture and stir well. Season with paprika and dried oregano.
  7. Using a large spoon, spoon about two tablespoons of the mixture into each mini bell pepper half.
  8. Place stuffed peppers in baking dish.
  9. Once all peppers have been stuffed, cover baking dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes (until peppers are softened).
  10. Remove foil, top with shredded cheese, and broil on high for 1-2 minutes (until cheese is melted).
  11. Serve warm and topped with fresh parsley for garnishing.

What goes with stuffed bell peppers?

While these stuffed peppers are packed with flavor from the beef, the seasonings, and the cheese, you can never go wrong with adding a dipping or dressing sauce to complete your stuffed pepper meal. If you're not into dipping or you want an easy way to serve the dip, simply drizzle or dollop the dip onto the peppers once they are arranged on a dish or platter.

Dipping sauces for stuffed bell peppers:

  • Marinara sauce
  • Peanut sauce
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Garlic hummus
  • Ranch dressing
  • Sour cream
  • Dijon mustard
  • Vinaigrette dressing

How do you fix stuffed bell peppers?

Stuffed jalapeno pepper topped with fresh herbs and onions

Stuffed bell peppers are perfectly complete with a garnish and a dip. I enjoy serving them in the baking dish so they stay in the juices they were baked in, or you can remove them and spread them out to be easier to grab and go.

Any fresh herb is a great addition to your stuffed bell peppers and can be topped off with any of the dips or dressings above.

My favorite fresh herbs for fixing stuffed bell peppers are parsley, cilantro, green onions, and even basil. Chop lightly and sprinkle on top. This also adds more color to the already beautifully colorful dish.

Can I get enough vitamin C from bell peppers?

Woman taking vitamin C supplement

Yes and no. A one-cup serving of bell peppers contains approximately 120 mg of vitamin C, which covers the recommended daily amount. However, a higher intake of vitamin C benefits your immune system and more. In fact, consuming up to 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily supports a healthy body.

It's important to ensure your diet consists of a variety of foods to get the proper amount of nutrients. Many people find it helpful to include a vitamin C supplement into their daily regimen (especially since we all aren't likely to be eating stuffed bell peppers every single day).

Supplementing with vitamin C is a great way to increase your vitamin intake alongside your favorite, healthy foods.

Vitamin C supplements

Vitamin C supports the immune system and cardiovascular health. In fact, vitamin C is so important that we might need more than we think.

Life Extension shares four reasons why everyone should take vitamin C:

  • Provides powerful antioxidant benefits
  • Encourages healthy immune system function
  • Promotes healthy iron uptake and collagen formation
  • Supports arterial health

Additionally, some forms, like Life Extension's Vitamin C 24-Hour Liposomal Hydrogel™ Formula, are designed to stay in your system longer. This enhances your body's absorption and health benefits.

About the Author: Jasmine Shea, MS, is the author of over a dozen e-cookbooks and the founder of Your Dinner Is Planned: the fastest and most affordable way to prepare dinners. With Jasmine's passion for sharing cooking tips, she generates over one million impressions weekly with recipe and lifestyle content to show others that eating delicious food can be easy and fun!

Website: https://www.jazzythings.com/about

References

Scientifically Reviewed By: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N

By: Jasmine Shea