For the first time in eight years, the bell peppers in our garden are growing like weeds. Year after year we always plant them and keep our fingers crossed, but for some reason, they usually start shriveling up before they take on color and ripen. This year, I’ve picked two bowls of gorgeous red and yellow peppers so far, and there are lots more coming! I love peppers and have no problem coming up with ideas on how to use them, and recently when I was stuck for dinner ideas and didn’t want to make a trip to the store, I decided to make stuffed peppers. Unfortunately, homegrown peppers do not seem to grow straight with long sides like the ones you buy in the store, and instead are twisted and squatty so do not always work well for stuffed peppers. I had however, four reasonable size peppers, all yellow, that were relatively straight that I thought would work well for my stuffed pepper recipe.
You can simply cut off the tops where the stem is, scoop out the membranes and seeds and stuff them that way, or cut them in half lengthwise and stuff each half as I did. The choice is yours! I used a mixture of sausage, onions, zucchini, celery, and brown rice as my stuffing because I had all those ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry. You could use mushrooms in place of the zucchini if you prefer, and you could substitute just about any cooked grain for the brown rice I used.
Deborah Mele 2017
Sausage And Rice Stuffed Peppers
- 4 Large Straight Sided Bell Peppers, (Red or Yellow) Cut In Half, & Cored
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 3/4 Pound Italian Sausage, Mild or Spicy, Meat Removed From Casings
- 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
- 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Zucchini
- 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Celery
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 Cup Cooked Brown Rice (See Notes Above)
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Parsley Leaves
- 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 3 Cups Quick Tomato Sauce Or Tomato Sauce Of Choice
- In a frying pan, over medium heat, then cook the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks until no longer pink and beginning to brown.
- Drain the excess oil and place the sausage meat into a bowl.
- Add the olive oil to the pan, and cook the onion, zucchini, celery, and garlic until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Dump the vegetables into the bowl with the sausage and cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In an oven-proof casserole dish, spoon the tomato sauce on the bottom, then arrange the pepper halves cut side up.
- Add the rice, oregano, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and parsley to the mixture in the bowl and mix well.
- Spoon the stuffing mixture into each pepper half, pressing firmly with your fingertips.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top, then bake the peppers until tender, about 35 minutes.
- Cool for 10 minutes then serve.