These easy Stuffed Bell Peppers are a hearty but healthy comfort food from my childhood that is family approved and can be made ahead for an easy weeknight meal. Perfect for left-overs, too!
There are always those recipes that stay with you from childhood, no matter how long it’s been. Comfort food is interesting that way. I’ll always remember enjoying my mom’s stuffed bell peppers, nachos, and corned beef and cabbage as long as I live. These memories are so heart-warming and familiar, it’s hard to believe we can go so long without them, yet the memory is so strong.
Since I live states away from my mom and my need for comfort food is real, I wanted to create my own version of the stuffed bell peppers recipe she used to make. While hers was pretty healthy, I made a few changes to add in some additional fiber and remove some of processed foods.
For example, my mom would use white rice, but I’m always partial to brown rice as a super easy and high-fiber, unrefined alternative. You could choose another grain or quinoa as well, but the rice does provide a real creamy, yummy texture for the stuffing.
It’s crazy how easy these bell peppers are to make, even just from memory. The whole recipe is quite forgiving so you can add an extra ingredient here or leave out another there and it’ll still be delicious. You could also use the filling to stuff tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash, or whatever you happen to have on hand, though I’m def partial to the bell peppers. On that note, I like red or green bell peppers the best for this recipe, but any will do.
Can You Freeze Stuffed Bell Peppers?
These Stuffed Bell Peppers can be stored for up to a week in the fridge and will reheat perfectly. If you’re interested in meal prepping for the week, these stuffed bell peppers are a GREAT option. In fact, I happened to use these babies in my $75 Whole Foods 5 Day Meal Plan in case you’d like to check it out.
If you are reheating a make-ahead stuffed bell pepper, a quick tip is to slice the whole pepper in half before heating as this will make it a lot faster to reheat. I store theme in these meal prep containers.
If you’re wondering if you can freeze stuffed bell peppers, the answer is YES. Freezing these babies is an awesome way to make sure you have quick meals on busy weeknights. They’ll last up to 3 months in the freezer, too. Here are some tips for how to freeze stuffed bell peppers:
How To Freeze Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Cook the bell peppers according to the recipe. You want everything to be completely cooked through before freezing to make it easier and quicker to reheat later. Once cooked, allow the stuffed bell peppers to completely cool before freezing.
- The best way, I’ve found, to freeze stuffed bell peppers is to freeze them in a large casserole dish that is freezer-safe. This will make it much easier to grab and go when it’s time to reheat.
- Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and then wrap the entire dish in plastic wrap to completely seal. Any open areas will lead to freezer burn which we don’t want.
- When you’re ready to enjoy these easy stuffed bell peppers for a tasty dinner, just remove all the wrapping and bake, frozen, at 350 degrees F until they are thawed and heated through, about 45 minutes to one hour. If you’d prefer, you can also thaw them in the refrigerator before cooking and they will heat through faster.
Nowadays, I get to enjoy this comforting meal with three kiddos and think back on my own happy childhood memories at the same time.
What is it about comfort food from our childhood? Is it just a food we enjoyed that our mom or dad or grandma made for us? Is it just that is was familiar and so it became comforting? Or was there something so special about that moment in time where we were cared for and the food just created that memory?
I wonder what my kiddos will remember when they’re older – will it be something I hardly ever made? A routine weeknight dinner? Or – yikes – will they even remember me as a good cook? lol
I guess first thing’s first – all I can control is to provide a loving home for my family and share the best food and meals I can. Hopefully, this will instill a love and appreciation for food, cooking, and family in them as they grow up. It seems to be working so far…
Man! Stuffed Bell Peppers and some deep thoughts today, eh? That’s what comfort food will do to ya, I guess. 🙂
I sure hope you enjoy these bell peppers – they’re simply delicious and a great weeknight dinner that can be used for lunches throughout the week as left-overs. Just one pepper is all you need for a meal, which makes it go far and cuts down on cost, too. So yay.
Maybe this could turn out to be one of those lovely memories for you and your family as well 🙂
What are your cherished comfort foods from your childhood?
Stuffed Bell Peppers
These easy Stuffed Bell Peppers are a hearty but healthy comfort food from my childhood that is family approved and can be made ahead for an easy weeknight meal. Perfect for left-overs and freezing, too!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 cup brown rice uncooked
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 8 oz tomato sauce low salt
- 6 medium bell peppers red or green
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
- Italian parsley for topping
- Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a deep pot, heat the brown rice with low sodium chicken broth over medium-high heat. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until rice is mostly tender.
- Now, in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and allow to heat up.
- Add the lean ground beef, diced yellow onion, minced garlic, sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, dried oregano, and paprika and stir to combine. Cook until the meat is well-browned and the onions are tender, about 6-8 minutes.
- Next, add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and cooked brown rice (should be approximately 3 cups) and stir to combine.
- To prep the bell peppers, carefully slice off the tops of each bell pepper, leaving as much of the pepper as possible. Then, clean out each pepper and wash thoroughly.
- Place each pepper in an oven-safe baking dish, cut side up. (NOTE: If you find the pepper wont stand up on its own, it may be necessary to slice off some of the bottom of the pepper to make it level.)
- Gently spoon mixture into hollowed-out peppers and top with shredded parmesan cheese.
- If there is extra stuffing, you can spread it around the peppers in the baking dish.
- Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
Can be frozen for up to three months. When ready to eat, place in the oven, frozen, and bake at 350 degrees F until they are thawed and heated through, about 45 minutes to one hour.
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