Spicy Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Spicy Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers are loaded with Italian flavor and just a hint of heat. (And if spicy isn’t your thing, skip the crushed red pepper and you’ll have an Italian-style meal that will make everyone happy.)

Served with a salad or warm garlic bread, this is a hearty meal that comes together without any fuss.

Just cook the meat, stuff the peppers, and let them roast away while you kick back on the couch with a book. Sprinkle the warm peppers with cheese just before serving and you’ll have an easy dinner on the table.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

These Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers are one of my husband’s favorite meals. I’ve been making them for at least 8-10 years now and I double this recipe almost every time I make them.

The meat mixture freezes perfectly on its own and the stuffed peppers freeze well too. I often freeze the cooked peppers individually for quick and easy lunches.

To make the recipe even easier, you can also use cooked rice leftover from a previous meal. Make rice as a side dish for your lunch and use the leftovers in stuffed peppers for dinner!

My kids and I typically eat one pepper each and my husband will eat a couple of them. They’re filling, delicious and enthusiastically enjoyed by everyone.

Spicy Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers are full of flavor with just a hint of heat. Get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

I’m a big fan of freezer meals and meals I can make ahead with ease. They let me have all the convenience of frozen and fast foods while saving money and delivering the great taste of homemade meals.

For more freezer friendly lunches and dinners, check out Sean’s favorite Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup and my favorite Chicken and Bacon Stir-Fry. Both of those meals freeze beautifully and work great for quick and easy reheating.

These Southwest Chicken Tacos are a big hit and the fact they’re freezer friendly just makes them better. This Chicken Tuscan Pasta Bake also works great as a freezer meal. For easy mornings check out these freezer-friendly Breakfast Burritos.

Stuffed Bell Peppers are so incredibly easy to customize based on your family’s tastes. You can play with different pre-made spaghetti sauces, adjust the spices and try different kinds of cheese on top of the cooked peppers.

Feel free to use this recipe as a jumping off point for making the Stuffed Peppers of your dreams. I love the ground beef in the original version but sausage crumbles and ground turkey would be good substitutes too.

My Spicy Italian Stuffed Peppers have the advantage of being convenient, easy, customizable and kid-friendly to boot. As far as weeknight meals go, can we ask for anything more?

A piece of food, with Peppers and Bell pepper

How To Freeze Stuffed Peppers

  • Prepare the filling, let cool and transfer to a zip-close freezer bag or airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating or stuffing the filling into peppers to bake. This Unstuffed Bell Pepper Skillet recipe is a great option for a freezer meal with this filling as well.
  • The cooked stuffed peppers can also be frozen once they have cooled. Place them in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator prior to reheating the peppers in the microwave.

Kitchen Tip: I use this skillet and this sheet pan to make this recipe.

Stuffed Bell Pepper Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the rice and the water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. While the rice is simmering, cook the ground beef with the onions in a large skillet.

  2. Add the olives, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to the skillet with the meat. Bring to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes.

  3. While the filling is simmering, split the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place the peppers on a large sheet pan and set aside. Add the cooked rice to the skillet with meat and stir to combine.

  4. Spoon an equal amount of this mixture into each bell pepper. Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the top of each pepper.

  5. Cover loosely with foil and bake 50 minutes in the oven. Remove foil and sprinkle with your favorite cheese. I use mozzarella, Monterrey Jack or pepperjack most of the time. Place back in the oven just until the cheese is melted, approximately 10 minutes. Enjoy!

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Spicy Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers are full of flavor with just a hint of heat. Get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Spicy Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers

5 from 1 vote
Stuffed Bell Peppers are loaded with Italian flavor and just a hint of heat. 
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 -6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 red bell peppers orange and yellow peppers are good too
  • 8 oz canned black olives drained and roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms sliced or chopped
  • 16 ounces of spaghetti sauce use your favorite homemade or canned variety (divide and set aside 1/2 cup of sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic garlic powder is fine
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese shredded or thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley chopped small

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the rice and the water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. While the rice is simmering, cook the ground beef with the onions in a large skillet.
  • Add the olives, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to the skillet with the meat. Bring to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes.
  • While the filling is simmering, split the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place the peppers on a large sheet pan and set aside. Add the cooked rice to the skillet with meat and stir to combine.
  • Spoon an equal amount of this mixture into each bell pepper. Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the top of each pepper.
  • Cover loosely with foil and bake 50 minutes in the oven. Remove foil and sprinkle with your favorite cheese. I use mozzarella, Monterrey Jack or pepperjack most of the time. Place back in the oven just until the cheese is melted, approximately 10 minutes. Enjoy!
  • FREEZER MEAL: Prepare the filling, let cool and transfer to a zipclose freezer bag or airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating or stuffing the filling into peppers to bake. This skillet recipe is a great option for a freezer meal with this filling as well.
  • The cooked stuffed peppers can also be frozen once they have cooled. Place them in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator prior to reheating the peppers in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 588kcal · Carbohydrates: 36g · Protein: 30g · Fat: 37g · Saturated Fat: 12g · Cholesterol: 95mg · Sodium: 2052mg · Potassium: 1482mg · Fiber: 9g · Sugar: 18g · Vitamin A: 7055IU · Vitamin C: 247.2mg · Calcium: 221mg · Iron: 6mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 7/8/11 – recipe notes and photos updated 3/6/19}

A close up of food, with Bell pepper and Stuffed peppers

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Michelle Potter says

    I did these tonight… Made a few changes though & OMG…. AMAZING!! I used Ground Mild Italian Sausage & tiny little round noodles. I also added a lil extra sauce to the bottom of the baking dish! Oh they turned out so good. My kids 14 & 9 each had 2 (it was there 1st time having them & my 1st time making them)I think this is a new household favorite!!

  2. Vinny says

    Stuffed bell peppers are an all time favorite. However, most of the time I make it the normal way. Will definitely try your version. Thanks a lot for sharing this Mary!

  3. eric levine says

    Taught my g-daughter this recipe to teach her how to read a recipe and cook it. Came out delicious.
    Thank you, Mary!5 stars