When it comes to ingenious culinary designs, few foods are as impressive as the bell pepper. When cooked, its thin yet sturdy skin becomes sweet and tender without breaking down, and its hollow center provides built-in stuffing possibilities. While most traditional fillings tend to involve rice, any hearty grain-and-vegetable combo works well as a stuffing, and since peppers are known to walk the flavor line among several different cuisines — think Greek, Italian and Cajun — there’s no limit to ingredient pairings. Check out these best-ever stuffed pepper ideas below to get Rachael Ray’s spin on a classic, Ellie Krieger’s light, Mediterranean take, as well Food Network Kitchen’s top-rated versions.
Sweet and Sour Couscous Stuffed Peppers
These sweet bell peppers loaded with nutty whole-wheat couscous, browned beef and plump golden raisins are the foundation of a well-rounded dinner. The bold colors of the antioxidant-packed bell peppers aren’t just for decoration — the more bright colors you can pile onto your plate, the healthier your meal will be.
Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Peppers
Red bell peppers make colorful shells for a fluffy quinoa and Rachael Ray’s chile, eggplant and zucchini stuffing. Serve the stuffed peppers topped with crumbled feta.
If you don’t have time to prepare stuffing from scratch, consider repurposing your leftovers. Food Network Magazine stuffs sweet bell peppers with leftover ragu and tops them off with grated Asiago cheese.
Turkey and Rice Stuffed Peppers
Brown rice, dried currants and walnuts add excellent hearty texture to these turkey-stuffed bell peppers. Serve the peppers with a simple side salad for a wholesome and well-rounded weeknight dinner.
Cream Cheese and Ham Stuffed Peppers
These creamy and crunchy stuffed peppers are perfect for a packed lunch. Use scallion instead of parsley or deli turkey instead of ham for a variation.
Cajun Stuffed Peppers
Precooking the peppers in the microwave ensures that these quick-fix peppers from Food Network Magazine are simple to prepare in a hurry, while the andouille sausage-studded filling promises bold Cajun flavor.
Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers
A flavorful blend of spinach, bulgur and lean ground beef fills these sweet red peppers, which are sprinkled with feta cheese and baked until tender.
Spanish Stuffed Bell Peppers
These tricolored bell peppers are stuffed to the brim with savory ground veal, garlic and long-grain rice.
Lightened-Up Stuffed Peppers
Oregano, cinnamon and cumin help to boost the flavor of these lighter-than-usual stuffed peppers filled with lean ground beef, brown lentils and rice.
Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers
Cook red and yellow baby bell peppers in a skillet until the skins blister, then stuff them with ground pork and Muenster cheese to add extra smokiness. Use the same skillet to cook the meat — it’ll cut down on the meat’s cook time in the oven.