Italian Stuffed Peppers

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Filled with zesty Italian sausage, rice, and tomatoes, this flavorful Italian stuffed peppers recipe always satisfies. Don’t forget the cheese!

Our freezer and pantry are always stocked with a few key items: ground pork sausage, rice, and tomatoes in all forms.

No matter how the day is going, I know I’ll be able to throw together a meal if I have those staples on hand. They don’t always come together in the same dish, but when they do it’s like fate, like in these Italian stuffed peppers.

A plate of stuffed bell peppers with melted cheese, garnished with herbs, next to a baking dish with more peppers.

Are you a stuffed pepper fan? I never had them growing up, but these days I’m a fiend for bell peppers, so stuffed peppers are a frequent part of the summer rotation. It’s basically just a rice casserole in its own cup!

This version uses classic Italian seasonings for a family-friendly meal. It’s a great way to get kids to try colorful bell peppers!

Ingredients for Italian stuffed peppers

Full list of ingredients with quantities is located in the recipe card.

You’ll need:

Assorted ingredients for cooking arranged on a surface, including cooked rice, vegetables, Italian sausage, and spices, labeled with their names.

Bell peppers – You can use any variety of bell pepper. My husband likes green bell peppers, while I like sweeter red ones, so I tend to use a mix of peppers to make everyone happy.

Look for peppers that are all about the same size, and more squat than long.

Italian sausage – Either mild, hot, or sweet sausage can be used. I like it spicy! The sausage will be removed from the casing, so if you buy bulk sausage you can skip that step.

Olive oil – For cooking

Onion and garlic – Don’t skip out on these aromatic ingredients. Yellow or white onion will work here.

Cooked white rice – Often the rice in stuffed peppers does not get fully cooked, so we’re avoiding that by using cooked rice in this recipe.

Feel free to swap in brown or wild rice, or a mixture. Just make sure it’s cooked!

Tomatoes – Use fresh tomatoes, or you can swap in canned diced tomatoes.

Tomato sauce – Plain sauce, or you can use flavored if you like.

Italian seasoning – Make your own Italian seasoning blend or use your favorite brand.

Parsley – Fresh parsley adds a clean, lightly peppery taste. Flat-leaf parsley is best here.

Mozzarella – This recipe uses shredded mozzarella. You can swap in fresh mozzarella, but keep in mind it will melt much quicker, so add it in the last 10 minutes or so.

Stuffed bell peppers in red, yellow, and green, filled with rice and meat, topped with melted cheese and parsley, in a baking dish.

How to make this recipe

First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Add some water to a 9×13-inch casserole dish, so that it’s filled to about ½ inch.

Slice the tops off the bell peppers (not too much!) and remove the stem, ribs, and seeds. Check to see if your peppers will sit flat. If not, you can slice a small piece off the bottom, as long as it doesn’t cut through to the inside.

Place the peppers cut-side down in the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake the peppers for 30 minutes.

Let the peppers cool and drain the water.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent.

Add in the sausage and break up into pieces, cooking until browned. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds, or just until fragrant. Remove skillet from the heat and drain any excess fat.

Stir in the cooked rice, tomatoes, half of the tomato sauce, and seasoning. You can mix everything in a bowl if your skillet is too small.

Remove the peppers from the baking dish and lightly coat the pan with olive oil. Return the peppers to the pan, cut-side up this time.

Divide the sausage mixture equally between the peppers. Top with a spoonful of the remaining tomato sauce.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle on shredded mozzarella, then return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Let cool slightly and serve!

Stuffed bell peppers with melted cheese and chopped herbs in a baking dish.

Recipe suggestions

The Italian sausage in this recipe can easily be swapped out for another protein option. Try it with ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey. 

Add more flavor by using your favorite marinara sauce instead of plain tomato sauce.

If using fresh tomatoes, roma are a good option as they are less watery than other varieties. Make sure to core and seed any fresh tomatoes, but don’t worry about peeling tomatoes.

Swap half the mozzarella cheese for grated parmesan cheese.

Two stuffed bell peppers on a white plate, one yellow and one red, filled with rice, meat, and herbs, topped with melted cheese.

These Italian stuffed peppers are so great any night of the week. We love them!

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A plate of stuffed bell peppers with melted cheese, garnished with herbs, next to a baking dish with more peppers.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Filled with flavorful sausage and seasonings, these Italian stuffed peppers are a family favorite.
Author : Megan Myers
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 3 to 6
Calories 877 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 bell peppers
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, sweet or spicy, removed from casing
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups diced roma tomatoes, approximately 3 tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce, divided use
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Fill a 9×13-inch baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water.
  • Trim 1/4 inch from the top of each bell pepper, then remove the stem, ribs and seeds. Place the peppers cut-side down in the baking dish, cover the dish with foil, and bake for 30 minutes, then set aside to cool. Drain the water from the pan.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, approximately 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking the meat into small pieces while stirring, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 30-60 seconds, until fragrant. Remove from the heat and drain off any excess fat.
  • Stir in the rice, tomatoes, half the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Lightly grease the baking dish with olive oil. Place the peppers cut-side up in the pan, then divide the sausage mixture evenly between the peppers. Top each pepper with a spoonful of the remaining tomato sauce, spreading it evenly. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil, top each pepper with an even sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until peppers are tender.
  • Sprinkle with additional parsley and serve.

Notes

  • Serve 1-2 peppers per person. Nutrition info is for 2 peppers.
  • Cooked brown or wild rice, or a blend, may be substituted for white rice.
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes can be substituted for fresh.

Nutrition

Calories: 877 kcalCarbohydrates: 47 gProtein: 37 gFat: 62 gSaturated Fat: 23 gCholesterol: 144 mgSodium: 1913 mgPotassium: 1569 mgFiber: 9 gSugar: 19 gIron: 5 mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.

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About Megan

I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…

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