Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers are a delicious example of a Mediterranean comfort dish. They are easy to make, but richly satisfying at the same time. Our version contains a filling of ground bison, rice shaped orzo pasta, our basic tomato sauce and lots of gooey mozzarella cheese! We lightened them up a little by using ground bison, instead of ground beef, and part skim mozzarella cheese.

Ground bison tastes a lot like ground beef, but has significantly less fat. You’ll notice that there is no need to drain the cooked bison and onion mixture before added the rest of the ingredients for the filling.

We like to use orzo pasta in the filling instead of rice for a nice twist. You can make this dish your own by mixing up different ingredients to stuff the peppers with. We use specific ingredients based on our favorite version; however, you can easily substitute leftovers. Extra ground pork or turkey and last night’s side of rice can become part of your filling. You can also add in leftover veggies, if you’d like. The cheese will become the unifying factor.

Should you precook your Bell Peppers?

When making stuffed bell peppers there is always the question of should I precook the bell pepper or not? It really depends on your preference. Do you like a softened fork tender pepper or do you prefer a crisper pepper? Joe likes his peppers soft, so this recipe calls for the peppers to be precooked. If you like them a little crisper, fell free to omit that step.

Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers freeze well

We tend to make extra portions since this dish freezes really well. It can be easily defrosted as a last minute entrée. Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers are also a great option when you have unexpected dinner guests and not enough food. (Joe never thinks we have enough food!) Just throw them straight into the oven, top with some extra cheese and you’ve got a tasty dish to serve.

These Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers are great as a main dish or side item, but above all, anyway you serve them, they are sure to be a new family favorite.

Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Recipe by Joe Sanfelippo Course: Main DishCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


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Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers are a delicious example of a Mediterranean comfort dish.


  • 4 4 large bell peppers

  • 1 tbsp 1 salt

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 orzo pasta

  • 1 lb 1 ground bison or ground beef

  • 1 1 small onion, diced

  • 1 tbsp 1 olive oil

  • 1 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 garlic salt

  • 1 tsp 1 dried oregano

  • 1 tsp 1 crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 1/2 tbsp 1 1/2 pine nuts

  • 3 tbsp 3 pecorino-romano cheese, grated

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

  • 2 1/2 cups 2 1/2 basic tomato sauce or your favorite tomato sauce


  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Pour 6 quarts of water, with 1 tbsp salt, into a big pot, and bring to a boil.
  • Cut the peppers in half length-wise slicing thru the middle of the stem and remove seeds. Once the water has come to a boil, add the peppers and cook 3-5 minutes, until fork tender. Remove the peppers and set aside.
  • Now add the orzo pasta to the boiling water. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain.
  • While the orzo is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once it is hot, add the ground bison or ground beef and the diced onions, and cook until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Drain, if using ground beef. (The bison is very lean and does not need to be drained.)
  • Add garlic salt, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, pine nuts, pecorino-romano cheese, and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese; cook 1 minute longer. Turn off the heat.
  • Stir the drained orzo into the meat mixture. Add 2 cups of basic tomato sauce, mix well.
  • Spread ½ cup of basic tomato sauce on the bottom of a large baking pan (at least 9″ x 13″) and place the pepper boats on top of the sauce. Fill with meat mixture. Cover and bake for 10 minutes or until almost warmed through. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining ½ cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.

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