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Stuffed Peppers

17 June 2021

Apart from stir fried rice, this is another great way to use up leftover rice, or maybe make extra the day ahead so it’s leftover on purpose ;-). It’s light, healthy and packed full of flavour and vegetables.

The minced meat (which can be beef, lamb, pork, chicken or even vegan meat) cooks and steams in the peppers and this way stays nice and juicy. The stuffed peppers are cooked in a simple tomato sauce, if you’re strapped for time you can use storebought, but if you have 20 extra minutes even better to make yourself.

Topped off with a few dollops of sour cream and fresh parsley and you’ve got one tasty meal! Oh, and even better the next day!

Stuffed Peppers

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Dinner, lunch
By Saffron Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 1.5 hours Total Time: 2 hours


  • Tomato sauce (see notes) - makes ± 3 cups (700 ml)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2-3 anchovies (optional), roughly chopped
  • 1 can peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can filled with water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • Pepper & Salt
  • Peppers & Stuffing
  • 6 bell peppers (mixed colours)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, mined
  • 500 g ground beef (see notes)
  • ± 2 cups cooked rice (or whatever you have left)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Small bunch chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup tomato sauce (see sauce below)
  • Pepper & Salt
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • To serve
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Sour cream
  • Pepper & Salt


Tomato sauce (± 20 minutes) (if using store bought sauce move on to the peppers)


Preheat the oven to 190°C.


Heat the olive oil in a heavy based sauce pan and add the onions and garlic, sauté until fragrant and translucent, ± 4 minutes.


Add the anchovies (if using) and let them melt down, ± 2 minutes.


Add the oregano and stir so everything is coated, ± 1 minute.


Add the tomato paste and cook along while you keep stirring, ± 3 minutes.


Add the tomatoes and the water and scrape all the goodness from the bottom of the pan.


Season with pepper, salt and sugar and add the bayleaves.


Bring to a boil and let simmer for at least 15 minutes, longer if you have the time.


While the sauce is cooking you can prep the peppers.

Peppers & Stuffing


Slice the top 2 cm from the tops of peppers and cut out the stems from the tops.


Remove the core and seeds from the inside of the peppers.


If the peppers don't stand up straight by themselves remove a very thin slice from the bottoms to stabilize.


Poke about 4 tiny holes in the bottoms to let juices drain out (I used a skewer for this).


In a large bowl combine ground beef, cooked rice, parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper and 2 tbsp tomato sauce (when it's done). Mix through well, I like to use my hands.


Lightly stuff peppers with meat mixture. Spread 1 tbsp remaining tomato sauce on top of each portion of stuffing.


Place the tops onto peppers. .


You'll probably have stuffing left over, not to worry! Roll these into meatballs, you can place them in the sauce next to the peppers.


Pour the rest of the tomato sauce into a large baking dish.


Add beef stock and red pepper flakes and spread out mixture evenly over the bottom.


Place the prepared bell peppers upright in the dish, and if you have them, place the meatballs next to the peppers.


Cover tightly with aluminium foil and place in the oven.


Bake for 1 hour until the peppers are softened.


Remove the foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes until the peppers are browned and the sauce is bubbling.


Serve with some sour cream, fresh parsley and a good grind of pepper and salt.


  • If you're strapped for time you can just use store bought tomato sauce, no problem!
  • I used ground beef because that's what I had lying around, but you could also use a mix of pork and beef for extra flavour. Lamb would be great too or even a merquez sausage mixed through. To keep it vegetarian use soy based ground beef.

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