These Baked Italian Stuffed Peppers are savory, rich and will have you reaching for seconds, and thirds. And, if you have ever stood in front of the refrigerator and wondered what to make for dinner for the family, well, this recipe for baked Italian Stuffed Peppers will have your problem solved.
These bell peppers will be a winner for dinner every time. Make them once and these Italian stuffed peppers will be on your dinner rotation on a regular basis. This recipe can be doubled and tripled if you are cooking for a family gathering and are virtually fuss free.
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Don't like ground beef? no problem! Substitute the ground beef with:
- ground veal to make veal stuffed peppers
- ground chicken to make chicken stuffed peppers
- ground turkey to make turkey stuffed peppers
- ground pork to make pork stuffed peppers
- tofu or eggplant- to make vegan stuffed peppers
Even though these Italian stuffed peppers are a meal on its own, you might want to pair a side dish with them.
Tips and Tricks to Making the Best Tasting Italian Baked Stuffed Peppers
There is nothing worse than cutting into a baked Italian stuffed pepper and having it crumble away before you can get a bite in to your mouth. What makes these stuffed bell peppers different is that you add rice to the stuffing mixture. The egg and rice in this recipe helps to bind the ground beef mixture and prevent it from breaking apart when you are cutting them.
The great part about the rice is that you have a choice as to whether you want to make it just prior to preparing the stuffed peppers or make the rice in advance.
Making the rice in advance is a win/win situation. Because it cuts down the preparation time by at least 20 minutes and can be done days in advance.
Cutting the Peppers
There is no right or wrong way to cut your bell peppers for this recipe for baked stuffed peppers. But, I cut my peppers lengthwise. The reason you ask? Because you can get more stuffing in two halves than you can by stuffing a whole pepper. And, there is less waste.
This means that you will have more food for each serving. But, that's my preference. If you like the look of stuffing a whole pepper, then you can just remove the stem and seeds and stuff with the ground beef mixture.
To remove the stem only, just push the stem gently down into the pepper. The stem will drop right into the pepper. You can discard the stem and clean out the seeds.
Vegetable Bouillon Gel
My second secret for making this recipe amazingly good is using vegetable bouillon in gel format. I find that using the Knorr brand vegetable homestyle stock bouillon gel is quite honestly fool proof. It dissolves so easy and adds so much flavor even though it's in a small packet.
Once I have stuffed the peppers, I actually use it to add flavor on top of the ground beef mixture. I scoop a little bit of the broth once dilluted with water right on top of the peppers.
Then I pour the extra broth in the bottom of the pan to cook with layer of tomatoes and stuffed peppers on top.
Fresh Basil vs. Dried Basil
If you don't have fresh basil on hand, don't worry! You can use dried basil or skip it all together. The basil is totally optional and isn't going to change the taste of the baked stuffed peppers drastically.
Note, though, that fresh basil tastes differently than dried basil. And cooked basil tastes different than fresh or dried.
It's really what you prefer. If you do decide to use dried basil, use it sparingly.
It's all about the Cheese!
Don't put the shredded cheese on the baked Italian stuffed peppers! Bake the stuffed peppers for at least 40 to 45 minutes, covered. Then sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of each pepper and bake uncovered for another 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the cheese to brown a little.
Putting the cheese on the peppers at the end of the stuffed bell pepper cooking cycle will prevent the cheese from burning and getting hard.
Storage of Leftover Baked Stuffed Peppers
I doubt that you're going to have leftovers of these stuffed baked peppers, but if you do, freeze the peppers in a freezer safe container for not more than a month. When you are ready to eat them, just thaw them out in the refrigerator overnight.
You can also refrigerate leftovers in a microwave safe container for not more than 4 days.
I have to say that these stuffed bell peppers make a great tasting lunch if you have leftovers.
Looking for a side dish to make with these peppers? Click here to look at possible side dishes.
Other Main Dishes You'll Love
Make this recipe for Baked Stuffed Bell Peppers now or PIN it for later here:
Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- 4 bell peppers
- 700 g ground beef
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ½ cup of parmesan cheese grated
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 basil leaves or 1 tbsp of dried basil
- ½ cups italiano cheese parmesan cheese
- 1 cube vegetable bouillon gel
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium saucepan boil the water and add the rice. Cook until al dente. (cook until still slightly uncooked) . Drain and let cool or refrigerate for later use.
- Slice tomatoes and lay them flat in a Pyrex dish covering the entire base of the dish. Salt to taste and drizzle olive oil over tomatoes.
- Cut peppers lengthwise and remove seeds. You can leave the stems if you want, or discard them.
- Salt the inside of the peppers.
- In a medium bowl, mix ground beef, rice, egg, salt, pepper, tomato paste, onion powder, garlic powder and parmesan cheese. Mix well.
- Stuff peppers ensuring that you evenly distribute the ground mixture as much as possible. If you have any leftover, just make little balls and place in dish beside the peppers.
- Mix ½ cup of water with the knor vegetable bouillon gel and spoon a little over each pepper.
- Pour remaining bouillon mixture in bottom of dish. Ensure that there is at least ½ inch of liquid in bottom of dish. Add liquid if you need to.
- Place a basil leaf on each pepper. If you don't have fresh basil then sprinkle dried basil sparingly on top of each pepper.
- Place dish in oven and bake for 45 minutes, covered with aluminum foil.
- Once peppers have been cooking for 45 minutes, uncover and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Return to oven to bake uncovered until cheese is golden.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes until serving.
Looking for other main entre ideas? Click here to get inspired.
I LOVE stuffed peppers! Yours look incredible, especially with the addition of fresh basil. Yum!
always love the idea of stuffed peppers but i've never made one still!. Pinned for later!
Ayngelina Brogan says
I have never heard of a bouillon gel before but now I want to see if I can find one here!
I have never ever made stuffed peppers! It's funny because the other day I was just saying how I would love to give them a try. These look delicious. Pinning for later.
Vanessa Gilic says
Great stuffed pepper recipe! My Mom also always put rice in the ground beef mixture growing up:)