Ever since I first made this fast and easy dinner recipe, I was hooked! It is balanced, gluten-free, dairy-free, low carbohydrate (you can even make it paleo by omitting the rice) and so, so tasty. There are a couple of reasons in particular why I love this recipe:
It’s healthy and nutrient dense. Fats, carbohydrates and protein, it’s all there. You will finish your meal feeling satisfied, nourished, and full of good energy. I never leave the table feeling heavy after eating these.
It can be easily changed based on the ingredients you have available. If you want to make it Mexican-style, add some chopped olives, cheddar cheese and salsa or guac. Mediterranean? Feta, green olives and spices like cumin or Za’atar. For a vegan, paleo, or protein-packed bell pepper, substitute quinoa for the rice or for the meat. The list goes on.
It requires very little clean up. You’ll need a total of 5 tools for this recipe: 2 bowls (large and medium), rice cooker, sautee pan, and a round or square dish to bake them in.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Total Time: 1 hr 35 minutes
Active Time: 40 minutes
1 cup white or brown Jasmine rice
1.5 to 2 cups water or broth (to cook rice)
1 Onion, chopped
1-2 Garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup Cherry, Grape, or Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 lb organic, grass-fed ground beef
Spices such as cumin, smoked paprika, chili flakes, rosemary, thyme
4 bell peppers (any color)
Avocado oil or butter
Sauce: Ketchup, Sriracha, Coconut aminos, BBQ sauce
Cook the rice with water or broth in a rice cooker, usually with a 2:1 or 1½:1 ratio of water to rice. Place around 1 cup of cooked rice in a large bowl. This will be your “fillings” bowl. This should take about 20 minutes.
To save time later, make the sauce now while the rice cooks. Combine ketchup, sriracha, coconut aminos, BBQ sauce or any combination thereof together in a medium bowl. I switch it up pretty much every time I make these based on whether I want a little more sweetness (coconut aminos), smokiness (BBQ sauce), or spiciness (sriracha). In general, I would start with about ¼-½ cup ketchup to use as your base, then ⅛ cup of coconut aminos and/or BBQ sauce, then 1-3 TBSP of sriracha depending on desired heat. You will be your best judge of the flavors you like, so just taste it after each addition and see the flavors bloom in front of you! P.S. It may need a little salt too ;)
Once your sauce is perfection and your rice is cooked and placed into your large “fillings” bowl, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cover a round metal pan with foil and parchment paper, or a square glass dish. You just want to make sure your bell peppers can stand up.
Sauté the onion in a little bit of oil, drizzled with salt, until translucent. Then add in your garlic. When cooked, add those to your large bowl containing the rice.
While the onion and garlic or sautéing or after they are done, chop tomatoes and place in the same bowl as the rice, onion and garlic. Also wash the bell peppers and remove their tops/stems (I call them "lids"), making sure to gut out the seeds inside. You can either discard the bell pepper lids or keep them and bake them with the stuffed bell peppers for a nice presentation at the end. Place the bell peppers in your square or round pan and drizzle the insides with oil or butter. I usually prefer to use avocado oil because it has a very high smoke point and is still a healthy, monounsaturated fat.
In the same large bowl as the rice, onions, garlic, and tomatoes, combine 1 lb ground beef, about 1-2 tsp of salt, pepper, and spices of your choice. The easiest way I found to combine everything is with my hands. As for spices, I am purposefully not giving too much guidance because it is fun to experiment based on the flavor profile you would like to achieve. Get creative and don't be afraid to try something new!
Stuff (using your hands or a spoon to place) the filling mixture into each of your bell peppers, preferably all the way to the top. Then drizzle HALF of your sauce over each bell pepper. If you decided to keep your bell pepper lids, place these in the same pan as the stuffed bell peppers. Then add 1-3 TBSP water to the bottom of your pan. This will create a little bit of steam and give the outside of the bell peppers a nice little wrinkle/cook on them.
Bake your stuffed peppers for 40 to 50 minutes or until the internal temperature of your fillings reach at least 160 degrees F. Once you take them out of the oven, drizzle the remaining sauce over your bell peppers. Serve and enjoy!