Stuffed peppers are a global favorite. Try this recipe stuffed with quinoa (photo © Whole Foods Market).
Peppers stuffed with lamb and feta (photo and recipe © McCormick).
 Red and green bell peppers (photo © Burpee).
 Sultanas (above) and slivered almonds (below) perk up almost any stuffed pepper recipe (photo © Faire).
 Slivered almonds (photo © Murray’s Cheese).
Stuffed peppers are enjoyed in cultures around the world. They’re a versatile food: for a first course, a light lunch or dinner or a side. You can stuff them with anything, including leftovers. And you can find them in “holiday colors,” from red and green for Christmas to purple, gold and green for St. Patrick’s Day.
A large pepper* is hollowed out (removing the ribs and seeds), stuffed and baked. The same technique is applied to eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and other vegetables.
In more recent recipes, small stuffed peppers are served as hors d’oeuvre and snacks:
Baby bell peppers, cooked or raw, are stuffed with soft cheese or other ingredients.
Jalapeño poppers stuff the bite-size chiles with a mixture of cheese, spices, and sometimes ground meat; they are then deep fried (recipe).
August 28th is National Stuffed Green Bell Pepper Day. But if you want to use orange, purple, red or yellow peppers, go right ahead.
November is National Pepper Month.
STUFFED PEPPERS AROUND THE WORLD
Get inspiration for your own recipes from these:
India: Bharvan mirch stuffs bell peppers stuffed with cooked meat, potatoes and onions, seasoned with chili, cilantro, coriander, lemon juice and turmeric. Mirchi bajji, a street food, is a large green chile stuffed with a roasted, spiced flour mix, sometimes battered, and then fried.
Mediterranean: Greek food fans know that dolma are stuffed grape leaves; but peppers and other vegetables are stuffed in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. In Greek yemista, bell peppers are stuffed and baked with a rice and herb filling. In Tunisia, filfil mahshi are stuffed with spiced rice and ground beef or lamb.
Mexico: Chiles rellenos are made with roasted green Pasilla or poblano peppers stuffed with queso fresco cheese and sometimes minced meat, covered in an egg batter and fried.
Scandinavia, The Baltic States & The Balkans: Peppers are stuffed in a way familiar to Americans, with ground beef or pork, rice, vegetables and spices. In Bulgaria, stuffed peppers are usually eaten with yogurt.
Spain: Pimientos rellenos, a Basque specialty, stuff piquillo peppers with cod in a béchamel sauce, ground beef or Manchego cheese.
RECIPE: MEDITERRANEAN STYLE STUFFED PEPPERS
The delicious stuffing features ground beef, brown rice, golden raisins and almonds seasoned with flavorful, aromatic spices.
The recipe (photo #2) is also different because it slices the peppers in half, vertically, rather than cutting off the top (photo #1) to create a deep dish.
Prep Time is 10 minutes, cook time is 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Ingredients For 8 Servings
2 teaspoons rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon oregano Leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound lean ground beef or lamb
1 can (14 ounces) tomato sauce
1/3 cup golden raisins (sultanas—photo #4)†
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds (photo #5)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 egg, beaten
4 medium green bell peppers (photo #3), halved lengthwise, stem and seeds removed
1/2 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
1. HEAT oven to 375°F. Mix rosemary, cinnamon, oregano and salt in small bowl. Set aside.
2. COOK ground meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally to break up meat. Drain fat. Add spice mixture; cook and stir 1 minute.
3. STIR in tomato sauce, raisins and almonds. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add rice and egg; mix well. Arrange bell pepper halves, cut-side up, in 13×9-inch baking dish. Spoon beef mixture evenly into bell pepper halves. Pour 1/4 cup water into dish. Cover with foil.
4. BAKE 45 minutes or until bell peppers are tender. Sprinkle filling with feta cheese. Bake, uncovered, 12 to 15 minutes longer or until cheese is lightly browned.
*We find it easier to use shorter, wider peppers rather than taller, narrower ones.
†You can substitute conventional purple raisins, or currants.
RECIPE TEMPLATE: MIX & MATCH
Create your own stuffed pepper recipe by choosing different ingredients from among these:
Beans and legumes: black beans, white beans, lentils, etc.
Grains: barley, corn, rice, quinoa and breadcrumbs
Nuts & fruits: cashews, pine nuts or other nuts; apricot, currants, dried cherries or cranberries, prunes, raisins
Proteins: cheese; chicken, beef, pork or other meat, ground or diced; egg; sausage; seafood; tofu
Vegetables: anything and everything, cut small enough to cook evenly. Ideas: grated carrots, edamame, kale, mushrooms, onions, potatoes (diced or mashed), spinach, squash
Herbs: cilantro, dill, mint, parsley, oregano
Spices: cinnamon, cumin, curry
Why don’t we include fish? While the Basque cod-stuffed pepper is very popular, and brandade (mashed cod in olive oil) works, we haven’t found other recipes that really sing. The delicate flavors of most fish (or shellfish) get buried.
If you have a great recipe, we’d like to try it.