Classic Stuffed Peppers

There are a bazzillion recipes for stuffed peppers out there, every variation imaginable. But sometimes you just want the mom-style comfort of the classic. Here it is. Beef, rice, tomato sauce, cheese, good.

You have to cook rice, cook beef, mix it together. Then hollow out the peppers, put it all in there and then wait for, like, ever until the peppers are cooked and softened and everything is heated through. Instead of all that, I developed a quicker way to make peppers (basically, I cut them in half rather than keeping them whole and then make a filling out of raw meat, seasonings and cheese. The meat cooks through with no problem in the shallow pepper boat.


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 large bell peppers

  • 2  and 1/2 cups tomato sauce, divided
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the beef, salt, pepper and garlic.  Cook stirring occasionally until beef is cooked through, 6-7 minutes. Drain the fat and discard. Stir in cooked rice and 2 cups of the tomato sauce.
  3. Cut a thin slice from stem end of each pepper to remove the top. Remove seeds and membrane. If your pepper is wobbly, cut a thin slice from the bottom so it stands erect.
  4. (Optional Step) In 4 qt. Dutch oven, place peppers open-side-up and fill them with water (to avoid floating). Fill the pot around the peppers with water and bring to a boil on high. Bring temperature down to medium-low and let simmer 3 minutes. Remove from pot and place in ice bath. Drain.
  5. Stuff Peppers with beef mixture and place in a 9×13″ baking dish.
  6. If you pre-cooked your peppers: Bake 25 minutes.  If you did not pre-cook your peppers:Bake 40-45 minutes.  To test if peppers are ready: Stick with toothpick near the top of the pepper. If it slides through the skin easily, then you’re good to go. After the baking time is complete, add remaining 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce on each pepper. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Bake for 5 minutes longer, until peppers are tender and cheese is melted.