Have you ever been stuck wondering what to make with stuffed peppers? I sure have. And it can be a bummer sometimes. Stuffed peppers are a classic dish in many cuisines. Whether you call them empanadas, piroshki, or by any other name, the ingredients vary from region to region but they all have one thing in common: a filling that is either boiled or fried and then baked inside of a hollowed pepper. I want to uncover the mystery of the stuffed pepper and explore some variations as well as side dishes that complement them nicely.
What is a Stuffed Pepper
Stuffed peppers are a delightful dish that can satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. There are many variations of stuffed peppers, but typical understanding of a stuffed pepper is a pepper with a filling.
Stuffed peppers are typically some form of bell peppers that have been hollowed out to stuff them with various other vegetables or meats and cheeses or rice. The stuffing can vary from cheese and sausages to rice and lentils. This dish is most popular all over the world with many cultures bringing their own twist on the stuffed pepper.
Typically eaten as a main dish or side dish, stuffed peppers are fantastic for any meal of the day. They can be eaten as the main attraction at dinner or can even be perfect for breakfast because you can make them with almost anything your imagination can conjure up.
Stuffed Peppers Variations
There are many variations of this delicious dish depending on the country you live in or how your family prepares them.
Stuffed peppers can be eaten in many different ways due to the fact that every country has their own twist on preparing this dish.
Here are some of the most popular variations:
Bosnian Stuffed Peppers – This variation usually consists of stuffed peppers filled with cheese and eggs, but is sometimes filled with rice.
Greek Stuffed Peppers – This Greek dish is typically made with yogurt sauce, roasted eggplant, ground beef, and sometimes also contains feta cheese.
Italian Stuffed Peppers – This Italian variation is typically eaten on top of spaghetti or lasagna. The filling for this dish is typically made with meat, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
Mexican Stuffed Peppers – In Mexico, stuffed peppers are typically made with rice, tomatoes, and chili powder. If you’re looking for what to make with leftover taco meat, this is also a great option!
Serbian Stuffed Peppers – This variation is cooked in a heavy tomato sauce and the filling contains either ground beef or pork.
Spanish Stuffed Peppers – The Spanish version of this dish has a filling of rice and ground beef, but it is typically topped with a tomato sauce.
Stuffed Peppers Side Dishes and Recipes
When working with stuffed peppers at home there are many side dishes to go along with them.
Here is a list of some great side dishes that you can serve up with these delicious stuffed peppers:
Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Spinach, Rice Pilaf with Vegetables, French Fries, Cheesy Potato Casserole. These are just a few of the many side dishes that you can serve up to include with your dinner.
For those who prefer meatless stuffed peppers there is always a wide variety of side dishes to choose from such as: Creamed Spinach, Mashed Potatoes and Beans, Spanish Rice, Cornbread. The list of options for these stuffed peppers is endless.
Rice Pilaf with Vegetables
-1 cup rice, uncooked
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
-4 cups water or broth (chicken or vegetable)
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 1/4 cup chopped onion
-1 1/4 cup diced carrot
-1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– 1 cube beef bouillon granules
-1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves
-1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1. Measure rice and set aside.
2. Combine vegetable oil, water or broth, salt, onion, carrot, cumin and black pepper in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat.
3. Stir in rice; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
4. Meanwhile, dissolve bouillon cube in green pepper in 1/2 cup hot water (or use 2 cups broth instead of water). Drain rice; transfer to serving dish. Stir in parsley, green pepper mixture and beef bouillon (dissolved in water).
Spanish rice is a dish with fried rice and tomato sauce. It has become a staple in most South American and Puerto Rican households. No one knows for sure how this dish was created but it is assumed that the recipe came from Spain. One of the most popular variations of Spanish rice is Cuban-style fried rice with white rice, yellow corn, green pepper, tomato sauce, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
-1 cup long grain white rice
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/3 cup chopped onion
-2 tomatoes finely chopped or 2 cans chopped tomatoes in boiling water for 10 minutes
-1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-salt and black pepper
-1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add rice, onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper then mix well.
2. Stir the tomatoes with their juice into the mixture then add cumin. Mix together for about 3 minutes or until the rice starts to turn light golden brown.
3. Add green pepper and cook for another 5 minutes or until rice is done.
3 pound package of fresh spinach
1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp minced garlic or 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt)
4 Tb unsalted butter
4 Tb all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1. Rinse the spinach well and discard any brown leaves. Place the spinach in a large pot with 1/2 cup of water. Cook on medium heat, stirring often. When the first layer wilts down, add another one and continue cooking until all the leaves are tender. Drain well in a colander (it is helpful to use tongs).
2. Heat the onion and garlic in the butter until the onion is transparent (about 5 minutes on medium-low). Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper. Cook until thickened (about 4-5 more minutes), stirring often. Let cool slightly. Place 1/4 of the spinach in a blender or food processor. Add the cream cheese and pulse until smooth (be careful not to overdo it). Stir the cream cheese mixture into the slightly cooled sauce.
3. Pour the sauce over the remaining spinach and toss until well mixed. Reheat gently (do not boil) while stirring constantly. Keep warm until serving time.
Stuffed peppers are a great dish to make when you want something savory and satisfying. They come in many variations, from Mexican-style stuffed bell peppers to Italian-style stuffed peppers with sausage. No matter your preference, these scrumptious dishes will be sure to satisfy any appetite!