This 5-ingredient Best Ever Stuffed Peppers dish comes together in a flash and is ah-mazing with Italian sausage and fire-roasted tomatoes.
If you love delicious meals without a lot of ingredients, then you’re going to love my other 5-ingredient meals, like this Sheet Pan Chicken and Potatoes, this Sweet Paprika Chicken, and these Chicken Alfredo Bundles.
I’m so excited about this 5-ingredient series that I’m starting to see fives everywhere. I’m even dreaming in fives. I stare at my pantry and draw five lines between ingredients like I’m mapping a rogue spy’s whereabouts in an episode of Homeland. And I’m having the best time doing it.
It might sound silly but I love these little projects inside of projects. I am sure it’s the same for you — you read blogs you love but are more drawn to a blog you love when there is something a little different about it. Like a home design blog that features a special series on, say, the best summer flowers to plant or a fitness blog that tells you how to work your core without crunches (because…who likes crunches anyway?).
And I have to imagine that you read my food blog regularly (Hi! Thank you!) but that you might be more drawn to something new, like a series of delicious meals that you can make with only five ingredients.
And because I know you love simple, easy meals it makes me happy to create more of these and also makes me want to keep bringing you more of these kinds of unique ideas that you can implement in your own kitchen.
Enter: The BEST Ever Easy Stuffed Peppers! These little veggie bowls are so tasty when stuffed with sausage, fire roasted tomatoes, and Spanish rice. You almost (almost) don’t even have to be there for this to come together. It’s a magical little dish that has a universal appeal. And kids love them too because who doesn’t love an edible bowl of yummy sausage and rice and cheese?
HOW CAN I MAKE STUFFED PEPPERS WITHOUT RICE?
If you don’t want to add rice to the peppers or you are following a low-carb diet, that’s a-okay. You can skip the rice, but may I recommend you replace it with another ingredient or they won’t be a) filled up and b) nearly as satisfying.
You can substitute regular rice for cooked cauliflower rice. There are steamable bags of riced cauliflower in the freezer section of your grocery store now that make this sooooooo simple. Simply microwave the bag according to package directions, and add to the peppers when you would have added the rice.
If you want to skip a “rice” component all together, I’d replace the rice with veggies (diced mushrooms, zucchini, onions, and/or eggplant would all work) or add a bean instead like chickpeas, navy, or cannellini beans.
WHAT SIDES CAN I SERVE WITH STUFFED PEPPERS?
Mmmmm sides. You can serve this dish all by itself — it is a complete meal, in my eyes. Or, you can add a side to round out this dish. Some of my favorites include:
- Salad. Side salads are easy to pull together and if you don’t have the ingredients for a salad handy, you can pick up a pre-mixed bag in the produce department. There are so many varieties now, my favorites include Caesar mixes and the kind that has the sliced kale and Brussels sprouts.
- Mashed potatoes. If you’re looking for an easy side or have some potatoes that need to be cooked, then mash those babies right up. Mashed potatoes go with everything, honestly.
Oven roasted potatoes. Don’t want mashed potatoes? Can you handle another three ingredients? Then you must make these 3-Ingredient Oven Roasted Potatoes.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR MAKING THESE CLASSIC MEXICAN STUFFED PEPPERS
- In the recipe notes, I mention how to make these stuffed peppers with other proteins but I have to also tell you that these peppers taste the best with ground Italian sausage. It has the best flavor without needing to add any other ingredients or spices and tastes SO good with the rice and cheese inside a stuffed bell pepper. That and the flavor from the fire roasted tomatoes are what really sets this recipe apart and makes these the BEST stuffed bell peppers.
- You can make these peppers with any rice you have on hand. I like to use the Spanish rice because it adds another layer of flavor to the stuffed peppers. Basmati or brown rice will work as well, in addition to plain old white rice.
- Speaking of rice, you want to be sure to cook the rice first. It will not cook up with the peppers and will be dry and crunchy if you add it to the stuffing raw.
- If you’re having trouble getting the peppers to stay upright in your dish, I’d suggest picking a smaller dish with a taller side (like a circular Corningware dish) so that they can pack more tightly together and keep one another up. Or you can slice a little bit off the bottom of the pepper (being careful not to slice into the pepper itself or all the stuffing juices will leak right out). This will level the bottoms and help them stand upright.
- If you don’t have fire-roasted tomatoes, that’s okay — you can use any kind of diced tomatoes you have on hand.
- If you don’t want to waste the pepper tops, you can dice them up and cook with the sausage, rice, and tomato mixture and stuff them right in with everything else.
BEST Ever Easy Stuffed Peppers (5 Ingredients)
tops cut off and seeds and membranes removed
mild or spicy ground Italian sausage
for alternative protein options, see notes
cooked Spanish style rice, or cooked white rice
can fire roasted diced tomatoes
shredded Mexican blend cheese
cilantro or green onions for topping
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large baking dish and arrange bell peppers standing up. (If they want to tip over you can always cut off the very bottom 1/8 of an inch or so to flatten them out and help them stand!) Transfer to preheated oven and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes until tender. (Move ahead with Step 2 while peppers are baking!)
In a large pan over medium-high heat, cook sausage for 5-6 minutes, breaking apart with a spatula or spoon as it cooks, until well browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a platter, cover to keep warm, and set aside.
Add rice, water, and tomatoes to the pan, give it a good stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce to LOW, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir sausage and 1/2 cup of the cheese into the pan. Spoon mixture into the baked peppers and top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with green onions or cilantro if desired and serve.
This recipe also works well with ground beef, ground chicken, and ground turkey! For any of these options whisk together the following seasonings and add to the pan while browning (step 2): 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb blend