Traditional Stuffed Bell Peppers

The Perfect Stuffed Peppers
At Delish, we love stuffed peppers. Bell peppers are strong enough to hold their shape and large enough to accommodate various fillings, making them perfect for countless combinations. This versatile meal is simple to make, feeds families big and small, and is a weeknight dinner legend. While experimenting with different variations is fun, this classic, straightforward recipe is hard to beat. Make it as-is using all my tips and tricks, then get creative to create your own dream stuffed peppers.

1/2 cup uncooked white or brown rice
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 lb. ground beef
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 bell peppers, tops and cores removed
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
Chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°. Prepare rice according to package instructions.

Step 2: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Drain excess fat.

Step 3: Stir in rice and diced tomatoes; season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.

Step 4: Arrange peppers cut side up in a 13″x9″ baking dish and drizzle with oil. Spoon beef mixture into each pepper. Top with cheese, then cover baking dish with foil.

Step 5: Bake peppers until tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until cheese is bubbly, about 10 minutes more.

Step 6: Top with parsley before serving.

How to Make Stuffed Peppers
Preparing the Ingredients
Cook white or brown rice according to the package instructions. Tomato paste is a key ingredient; freeze leftovers for future use. Choose ground beef with your preferred fat content. Use canned diced tomatoes, preferably with minimal additives. Select bell peppers of similar size for even cooking. Monterey Jack cheese adds a buttery, nutty flavor, but feel free to use your favorite cheese. Garnish with parsley or any green herb.

Step-by-Step Instructions
Preheat Oven and Prep Rice: Start by preheating your oven to 400° and making your rice if needed.

Prepare Peppers: Cut off the tops, remove the cores and seeds, and rinse if necessary. This makes filling them easier.

Cook Filling: Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and tomato paste in stages, cooking each briefly. Add ground beef, cook until no longer pink, and drain excess oil. Stir in rice and diced tomatoes, then season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook until the liquid reduces.

Fill and Bake Peppers: Arrange peppers in a baking dish, drizzle with oil, and fill with the beef mixture. Top with cheese, cover with foil, and bake. Uncover for the last 10 minutes to let the cheese bubble.

Serve and Enjoy: Garnish with parsley before serving.

Tips and Variations
Cooking Peppers: I prefer not to cook the peppers before stuffing to retain some texture. If you pre-cook them, don’t over-bake.

Make-Ahead and Storage: Prep peppers and filling a day ahead. Store separately in airtight containers in the fridge. Fill and bake when ready. You can also freeze assembled peppers for up to three months. Defrost overnight or bake from frozen, allowing extra cooking time.

Try Different Stuffed Pepper Recipes
Shawarma Stuffed Peppers: For a Middle Eastern twist.

Chicken Parm Stuffed Peppers: For an Italian flavor.

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Falafel: For a meatless option.

Let me know how it went in the comments below!

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