Stuffed peppers provide a one-dish meal that is loaded with plenty of protein and vegetables. Make this recipe as it is, or use it as a base and add your own twist. Create a vegetarian version by substituting black beans or mushrooms for beef. You can also swap brown rice or quinoa for the orzo. Add an international spin with Greek spices and feta cheese instead of mozzarella.
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 25 minutes
¼ lb. lean ground beef
¼ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped black olives
1 can (14.5 oz.) no-salt-added, diced tomatoes
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1 cup cooked orzo pasta
¼ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
4 medium-sized bell peppers, any color
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add the ground beef and cook for 3 minutes, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Add the onion and cook 2 minutes more. Add the black olives and tomatoes. Cook, stirring often, for about 3 more minutes, or until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated and the beef is no longer pink.
Add the garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Stir in the orzo pasta and turn off the burner.
Prepare the peppers by determining if they are best standing straight up creating a cup, or if they are best on the side creating a boat. It’s okay to have a mixture of both. Place the peppers in the position you will stuff them and cut off the top quarter of the peppers. Remove the seeds, stems, and any large ribs inside the peppers.
Select a 2 to 3 inch deep baking dish that will fit all your peppers and keep them close together while baking. A small 7 x 10 inch casserole dish or a loaf pan works well. Spray the dish with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil. Arrange the peppers cut-side up in the dish.
Spoon about ½ cup of the beef mixture into each pepper. The amount you add may vary depending on the size and shape of each pepper. Pack the stuffing in and mound it slightly above the rim of the pepper. Top each stuffed pepper with 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned, and the pepper begins to shrivel and become tender. Serve warm.
Nutrition information for 1 stuffed pepper: Calories 197; Total Fat 5.6 g; Saturated Fat 2.8 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 298 mg; Carbohydrate 25.6 g; Fiber 3.5 g; Sugars 8.1 g; Protein 11.4 g