The secret to this Better Italian Stuffed Peppers recipe isn’t anything crazy, so why does no one do it? I guess it took a hater of stuffed peppers to make the magic happen.

Stuffed bell peppers were all the rage years and years ago but I haven’t been seeing recipes lately and so I wanted to bring back an old favorite. It’s a great way to eat a little lighter and those peppers getting all roasted and tender bring so much flavor without all the fussy work.

a photo of a baking dish full of stuffed pepper covered in melted cheese.

Motherhood with Joy

My friend recently had her little boy in the hospital with a bad case of pneumonia. Anytime a child, especially one that’s still a young toddler ends up in the hospital, my heart lurches into the reality of time and love. It seems only yesterday and somehow a million years ago that I was lying in a hospital fighting to survive along with an unborn baby doing the same thing, but at my own expense. I lack an awful lot in life, certainly when it comes to parenting, but times like these always remind me of one thing, and I hope it will make sense to say it, at least I’m here.

I may not make perfect decisions or respond to situations perfectly, but oh how I perfectly ache to be a good mother. To remember to love them and to strive a little more to extend that love to those outside of my home. As I honor the gift of motherhood I find myself wondering, what is the secret to motherhood with joy?

My friend’s son made it out of a much longer stay in the hospital than expected. She had so much on her plate and could have lost faith in tomorrow, in medicine, even in God, but she continued on, giving all she could muster each day for him.

I guess that’s it. All I can do it strive each day to begin again and remember that though tempted to lose faith in many things, myself, people and the world, God never loses faith in those things. Maybe I won’t end up with adult children that think I was the best mom, but maybe they will think I was trying to love them. Maybe that’s enough. Just to try to love.

a photo of a white baking dish full of stuffed peppers that have been topped with melted mozzarella cheese and chopped fresh herbs.

The Secret to the Best Stuffed Peppers

Now what’s this babble got to do with stuffed peppers?

Well, I failed at making them and hated eating them no matter who made them. I lost faith in recipes like this one. Until one day the thought came to me that I could char the peppers, thus bringing more flavor and a new texture that was more pleasing to the palette. That’s the secret!

How to Roast Peppers on the Stovetop

My favorite way to char bell peppers is right on the stovetop of a gas stove. I like to cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and membranes, and then place them right over the flame with the heat on high skin side down. Turn them with tongs until they are charred on all sides.

Place the peppers in a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap so they can sweat. The skin will loosen as the peppers steam.

If you don’t have a gas stove, you can char peppers in the oven using the broil setting. Turn the peppers every couple of minutes so they get charred on all sides.

A photo of a fresh green and orange bell peppers that have been halved being charred on a gas stove top.

Stuffed Peppers Ingredients

It doesn’t take many ingredients to make this easy stuffed peppers recipe, but it has layers of flavor that are divine! You will find the measurements for each ingredient in the recipe card at the end of this post. Here is what you will need:

  • Bell Peppers: feel free to use any color of bell pepper
  • Italian Sausage: we usually use the sweet Italian sausage, but if you like some heat, you can use spicy sausage
  • Onion: just a yellow onion works great
  • Garlic: minced small
  • Chicken Broth: this helps cook the rice and keeps the stuffing moist
  • Plum Tomatoes: I love the fresh pop of flavor that comes from fresh tomatoes in this stuffing.
  • Brown Rice: you can use any kind of rice (long grain, basmati, jasmine, etc.) or other grain
  • Italian Seasoning: using this blend of seasonings makes adding flavor so simple
  • Salt: adds flavor
  • Basil (fresh): if you need to swap this out for dried basil, use about 2.5 tablespoons
  • Mozzarella: you can add more flavor by swapping 1/2 cup of the cheese with parmesan
a photo of a several stuffed bell peppers topped with melted mozzarella cheese and chopped fresh basil.

How to Make Stuffed Peppers

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven, halve and remove the seeds from the peppers.
  2. Char: Add loads of flavor to the peppers by charring them on the stovetop or under the broiler. This step is optional but really elevates the flavor!
  3. Cook: Brown the sausage in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop over medium high heat. Remove the sausage to a plate and drain the grease.
  4. Sauté: Place the skillet back on the stove and sauté the onion and garlic, then add the spices.
  5. Simmer: Add the broth, tomatoes and rice to the skillet and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and summer until the rice has softened.
  6. Rest: Remove the skillet from the heat and let the dish rest until the rest of the broth has been absorbed.
  7. Combine: Stir in the cooked sausage, onions, garlic and half of the basil and half the cheese.
  8. Assemble: Scoop the rice and sausage mixture into the charred peppers and place them in a baking dish.
  9. Bake: Bake the peppers for 30 minutes. Then switch the oven to broil. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the peppers and broil for a few minutes until the cheese has melted.
  10. Garnish: Add the remaining basil over the top. Serve!

These instructions are also found in the recipe card at the end of the post in full detail.

Which Peppers Can I Use?

You can use any color of bell pepper that you want…green, red, orange or yellow…or a mix of all of them! I absolutely love the bright colors of bell peppers!

Do Green Bell Peppers Have A Different Flavor Than Red?

Red bell peppers are the same thing as green bell peppers. Red bell peppers have just been left to ripen longer than green bell peppers.

Green peppers tend to be a little bitter, but bell peppers sweeten as they ripen. A red bell pepper is much sweeter than a green bell pepper.

a photo someone cutting into a stuffed bell pepper with the side of a fork.

Is Brown Rice Healthier Than White Rice?

All rice consists almost entirely of carbs, with small amounts of protein and practically no fat.

Brown rice is usually considered much healthier than white, because it is a whole grain that contains the bran and germ.

Most of the nutrients in rice is contained in the bran and the germ.

Other Additions/Variations

Stuffed peppers are totally flexible depending on what your family loves. You can swap out ingredients or add other vegetables. Here are some ideas:

  • Veggies: red onions, asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, zucchini, slice carrots
  • Proteins: chicken, ground beef, ground turkey
  • Others: olives, capers
  • Cheese: feta, parmesan
  • Grains: using any kind of rice you like, quinoa or orzo are great too

You could also skip the protein altogether and use vegetable broth and make is a vegetarian meal!

Storing and Reheating

Classic stuffed peppers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to 5 days. They also freeze extremely well. Make sure they have cooled completely, then place in a freezer safe container. They will keep for up to 3 months.

They can be reheated in the microwave or in the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, place the stuffed peppers (refrigerated or frozen) in a baking dish, cover with foil and warm up in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until heated through (you’ll need to add a few extra minutes if frozen).

If you consider yourself a stuffed peppers hater like I once was, then I challenge you to make this stuffed peppers recipe and try them again. I’m on a mission to make lovers out of everyone! Oh, and char the pepper first…you’re going to love how it tastes and the extra flavor it adds!

More QUICK AND EASY DINNER IDEAS:

The Secret to Better Italian Stuffed Peppers Recipe

2.44 from 16 votes
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Description

The secret to this better Italian stuffed peppers recipe isn't anything crazy, so why does no one do it? I guess it took a hater of stuffed peppers to make the magic happen.

Ingredients 

  • 6 Bell Peppers, large, tops cut off
  • 12 ounces Italian Sausage
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, minced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth, reduced-sodium
  • 4 Plum Tomatoes, chopped, *see note
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Rice
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, finely shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Cut the peppers in half and remove any seeds. Place in a baking dish close together. **see note
    6 Bell Peppers

Filling

  • Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain and remove to a plate. Return the pan to the stove.
    12 ounces Italian Sausage
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat, add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes.
    1 Small Onion, 2 Cloves Garlic, 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Add spices, stir thoroughly.
    3/4 teaspoon Salt, 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • Stir in broth, tomatoes, and rice. Bring to a simmer, cover & reduce heat. Simmer until rice is softened, but still moist (10 min.)
    1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth, 4 Plum Tomatoes, 1/2 Cup Brown Rice
  • Remove from heat and let stand, covered, until the rice absorbs the remaining liquid (10 min.)
  • Stir in cooked sausage, onions and half of the basil and half of the cheese.
    1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, 1 1/2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese
  • Divide filling amongst peppers. Place the peppers in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Switch your oven over to broil, top the peppers with remaining cheese and place under the broiler to melt (2-3 min.) Garnish with remaining basil.
    1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, 1 1/2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese

Notes

* 1 can fire roasted tomatoes (drained) can be used.
** If you want some extra flavor, char the peppers before stuffing them.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 533kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 20gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 704mgPotassium: 833mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 4851IUVitamin C: 168mgCalcium: 189mgIron: 3mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 200+ Easy Appetizers Recipes, Over 500 Family Dinner Recipes Ideas

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The best stuffed Italian Peppers with cheese