Colorful bell peppers are the perfect vessel for a variety of stuffing options. You’ll love the Mediterranean twist this stuffed peppers recipe takes! The secret is in the rice stuffing with perfectly seasoned lean ground beef (or turkey), chickpeas, and fresh parsley. These healthy stuffed peppers are dairy free and gluten free. They can be the main course with a side salad, or wow dish for when you have company!
Best part, you can prepare these ahead of time! Be sure to check out all the tips along with the step-by-step tutorial and video below.
We’re obsessed with stuffing all the vegetables over here! In fact, stuffed vegetables are their very own class within Mediterranean cooking. Have you seen these options: Stuffed zucchini. Stuffed cabbage rolls. Stuffed eggplant? Topping this list today is one of my absolute favorites: Mediterranean-style stuffed peppers.
My mom’s signature stuffed peppers recipe is one of those classic comfort foods I have always loved. I’ve adapted her recipe with a few of my own tweaks here.
How to Make these Stuffed Peppers?
1- This recipe is all about the tasty Mediterranean-style rice stuffing with perfectly spiced ground beef and chickpeas. We start by fully browning the meat with chopped onions, adding the chickpeas later (Yes, you can use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef). Seasoning the meat is essential, and little hint of ground allspice makes all the difference in flavor.
2- To the meat and chickpea mixture, we add rice. (I like to soak my rice in water for a few minutes to help it cook evenly and quickly.) Continuing to add flavor, we throw in some fresh parsley, paprika and tomato sauce. Of course, we need liquid to cook the rice stuffing. I simply use water. Bring to a boil to reduce by 1/2 before turning the heat to low. Then, we cover and let everything cook for about 20 minutes or so.
3- And while the rice stuffing is cooking, we get our colorful bell peppers ready for some action! Of course if you want to use just one color, say red peppers, by all means. I like to soften the peppers a bit, while adding some flavor. To do that, we throw the cored peppers on the grill and cover for a few minutes, turning as needed to create those beautiful marks (an indoor griddle works just as well.)
4- All that’s left to do is stuff the beautifully charred peppers with our fully-cooked rice stuffing…then bake! To make this process easy and clean, grab a baking dish and fill with about 3/4 cup water or broth. Arrange the bell peppers, open-side up, in the dish (the peppers can be touching.)
Then spoon in the stuffing to fill each pepper up (the stuffing is cooked already, so need to leave too much room for expansion.) Cover tightly and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Then garnish with a little fresh parsley before serving.
Can these stuffed peppers be prepared ahead of time?
You can work on this stuffed pepper recipe ahead of time. There are a couple of options here if you want to prepare these stuffed peppers a night or two in advance:
1. You can full prepare and cook the rice stuffing, and prep and grill the peppers. Store each separately in tight lid containers in the fridge. And when ready, stuff the peppers and follow baking instructions. It’s best if you can pull the rice and peppers out of the fridge to rest at room temperature for a few minutes before baking.
2. You can follow the recipe most of the way and assemble the peppers in your baking dish and stuff them. However, do not add liquid to the baking dish yet. Instead, cover tightly and store in fridge for up to one night. When ready, bring to room temperature, add the liquid and follow baking instructions.
Can you freeze leftovers?
If you end up with leftovers, you can freeze the stuffed peppers. First, be sure to cool the stuffed peppers completely. From here, you can portion and store them in tight-lid glass containers and freeze for 1 to 2 months. Thaw in fridge overnight, and warm up in medium-heated oven (it helps to add a little bit of liquid to your baking dish, and cover the peppers before placing in oven.)
What to serve with these Mediterranean-style stuffed peppers
For special dinner parties, these stuffed peppers make a beautiful centerpiece. I’d plan on 1/2 to 1 stuffed pepper per person, if you’re serving alongside other options.
To serve these stuffed peppers the main course for a light meal, plan on 1 full pepper to 1 1/2 pepper per person (I’ve had some big guys who needed 2.) Add a side of Greek tzatziki sauce or plain Greek yogurt along with a salad like, fattoush, Greek salad, or this simple 3-ingredient Mediterranean salad. My family will often enjoy a Mezze platter like this one to start with.
Watch the Video for How To Make These Mediterranean-Style Stuffed Peppers:
More Recipes to Try
Healthy, Mediterranean-style stuffed peppers. The secret is in the rice stuffing with perfectly spiced lean ground beef, chickpeas, and fresh parsley. You can even use ground turkey or chicken instead, if you like. These stuffed peppers can be prepared ahead. Be sure to look through the tutorial and watch the video!
- Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- salt + pepper
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley, more for garnish
- 1 cup short grain rice, soaked in water for 15 minutes, then drained
- 1/2 tsp hot or sweet paprika
- 3 tbsp tomato sauce
- 2 1/4 cup water
- 6 bell peppers, any colors, tops removed, cored
- 3/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
- In a medium heavy pot, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Saute the chopped onions until golden. Now add the meat and cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until deeply browned. Season with salt, pepper, allspice and garlic powder. Stir in the chickpeas and cook briefly.
- To the same pot, now add the parsley, rice, paprika and tomato sauce; stir to combine. Add the water and bring to a high simmer until liquid has reduced by one half.
- Turn the heat to low. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked and no longer hard nor too chewy.
- While the rice is cooking, heat a gas grill to medium-high. Grill the bell peppers for 10-15 minutes, covered. Be sure to turn the peppers occasionally so that all sides get charred. Remove from the grill and let cool briefly.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Assemble the bell peppers, open-side up, in a baking dish filled with 3/4 cup broth or water. Spoon in the cooked rice mixture to stuff each of the peppers to the very top.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and place it in the 350 degree F heated oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with parsley, if you like. Serve immediately with your favorite salad and a side of Greek yogurt.
- Pro-Tip: If you’re looking for an even healthier option, substitute the lean ground beef for ground turkey or chicken.
- Cook’s Tip to Prepare ahead: you can follow the recipe up to step # 3 to prepare the rice. And you can also prepare the peppers. Store each separately in tight lid containers in the fridge. OR, follow the recipe up to step #6 assembling the stuffed peppers in a baking dish. However, do not add liquid. Instead, cover tightly and store in fridge. When ready, bring to room temperature, add liquid and bake at 350 F as instructed.
- Cook’s Tip for Freezing Leftovers:First, be sure to cool the stuffed peppers completely. From here, you can portion and store them in tight-lid glass containers and freeze for 1 to 2 months. Thaw in fridge overnight, and warm up in medium-heated oven (it helps to add a little bit of liquid to your baking dish, and cover the peppers before placing in oven.)
- Recommended for this recipe Our Private Reserve Extra Virgin Olive oil. And from our all-natural spice collection, Allspice and Sweet Spanish Paprika.
- Visit The Mediterranean Dish store here.
Keywords: stuffed peppers, stuffed pepper recipe