Back when Balanced Bites was an organic meal delivery business, stuffed peppers were among the favorite dishes ordered by my clients. At that point in time, I was mixing a few different ingredients into them but I keep it pretty simple when I'm cooking at home for myself.
The inspiration and motivation to make stuffed peppers came about when I was strolling the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market this past Saturday and spotted a big yellow bell pepper that looked just perfect for this destiny. I knew I had a pound of grass-fed ground beef defrosted at home so it was excellent timing for me to whip up some stuffed peppers. The whole thing is quite simple, really… it's just a matter of pre-cooking the pepper halves a bit if you like and then making a tasty mixture that you'll like to put on the inside, and voila – stuffed peppers. I can't say I make them exactly the same every single time since I usually just go with whatever I have on-hand, but here's what I did this time.
- 2 bell peppers (I used yellow but any color is fine)
- 1 Tbsp bacon grease or coconut oil
- 1/2 large onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
- 4 small tomatoes, diced (or use 1/2c canned diced tomatoes)
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef (or lean conventional ground beef / ground turkey)
- 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 2 cups Baby spinach, finely chopped
- sea salt – to taste
- black pepper – to taste
- hot sauce – optional, as garnish
- extra basil leaves, as garnish
Preheat your oven to 375.
Halve the bell peppers and place them in a roasting dish face-down for about 10-15 minutes. Note: You can skip this step if you want to keep the peppers more firm/raw when you eat them. While the peppers are pre-cooking, you'll cook the stuffing on the stove-top. Use a large sautee pan or a large pot. I'd recommend not using cast iron for this recipe since we're cooking tomatoes and the acid of the tomatoes will react with the cast iron.
Place your bacon grease or coconut oil in the pan and then cook the onions over medium-high heat until they're slightly browned on the edges and appear cooked through (translucent). You may season them with salt and pepper to taste.
Next add the tomatoes and garlic and allow the ingredients to simmer together for a couple of minutes. Then add the ground beef or turkey, breaking it up and allowing it to cook through completely. If you have grass-fed beef, you may leave it a bit pink.
Once the meat is cooked, taste the mixture to check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Then add the chopped basil and spinach and mix them in just allowing them to wilt.
Remove the peppers from the oven when they're just a bit softened, then flip them over and spoon in your stuffing mixture. If you would like to eat them at this point, you can go right ahead. Otherwise, place them back into the oven for around 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld even more. I like to make a bunch of these ahead and either freeze them or just refrigerate them to heat up in my toaster oven later.
I also like to sprinkle a few dashes of hot sauce over the top and garnish them with basil leaves, just for visual appeal.
Depending on the size of your peppers, this will make approximately 4 pepper halves and will be around 4oz of protein in each one. One or two of these is a complete meal depending on how much you eat.