Hands down the best Italian Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers recipe ever, easy, hearty and healthy made with wild mushrooms and arborio risotto rice. Meatless, cooked in a San Marzano tomato sauce, can be finished on the stove top, in the oven or even your crock pot.
Italian Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
You guys, I’m just here to talk about what is the best meatless stuffed bell peppers recipe of all time! I swear on my saffron, they are irresistibly delicious finished with a drizzle of dairy-free sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Super easy to make, can be prepared a couple of days in advance on the stove top or oven and the leftovers individually frozen for a chili day. Is there anything out there that even comes close to a hearty home cooked meal like this? Me thinks not!
- The Peppers – the different color bell peppers are loaded with sweet flavors and nutrition and their shape makes them quick and easy to stuff.
- Arborio Rice – Because i had some leftover from a lemon risotto i made; also it’s so creamy and comforting and really makes a great pepper filling. For a healthier option you can swap the risotto rice for quick cook brown rice without sacrificing any flavor, the texture is still light and fluffy.
- Meatless + healthy – this recipe is 100% plant based, stuffed with rice and flavorful wild mushrooms. You could also use chopped up rehydrated soy curls, smoky tempeh, crumbled tofu or beyond Italian sausage instead of ground up animals like chicken, beef or pork sausage filling. Quinoa, couscous, barley, farro, beans and even lentils could be used in the filling.
- The Broth – it’s made with San Marzano tomatoes and vegetable stock. The best way to cook stuffed bell peppers truly is in all that flavorful tomato sauce, because nobody likes a dry stuffed pepper. If you like lots of broth / sauce in your bowl make sure to add some extra water to the pot and cook this recipe more like a stuffed pepper soup.
- Dutch Oven – depending on the size of your biggest dutch oven pot you can fit 7-8 bell peppers, enough to feed at least 4 hungry people.
Can you freeze Italian vegetarian stuffed peppers?
Yes you can definitely freeze them in individual freezer proof lidded containers surrounded by the broth. Remember to thaw them out in the refrigerator the night before reheating.
What to serve with stuffed peppers?
- a drizzle of dairy free sour cream or creamy greek yogurt.
- homemade bruschetta, ciabatta, focaccia or Italian crusty bread.
- mushroom bruschetta
- tomato cucumber salad
- basil walnut pesto
- homemade garlic knots.
Italian Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers Recipe
- 7-8 medium size bell peppers mixed colors
- 1 cup risotto rice (or quick cook brown rice)
- 1 lb mushrooms (chopped)
- 1 medium onion -diced
- 3 tsp fennel seeds
- 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 8 sprigs thyme -leaves only
- 8 sprigs thyme -whole
- 1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 28 oz canned San Marzano tomatoes -whole in tomato puree
- 1/2 qt vegetable stock -seasoned to taste
- 3 leaves bay
- 1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt (optional for serving)
- 1 tsp sea salt + more to taste
- black pepper -to taste
- Preheat your oven to 375" F or just cook them all the way on the stovetop.
- Rinse the peppers and cut the tops, empty the seeds and membrane. Reserve the clean tops as you’ll need to place them back on top after you fill the peppers.7-8 medium size bell peppers
- Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add a layer with juices to the bottom of a large enameled cast iron pan.28 oz canned San Marzano tomatoes
Make the Filling
- In a large saute pan heat up the olive oil and saute the onion with a pinch of sea salt until softened and translucent. Add the fennel seeds + a pinch of chili flakes for heat if desired.1 medium onion, 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 3 tsp fennel seeds
- Stir in the mushrooms and cook until wilted and almost all moisture has evaporated. Stir in risotto rice and let cook together for about 5 minutes stirring often with a wooden spoon. Add the thyme leaves, parsley, 1 teaspoon sea salt, pepper and paprika and mix well together. Remove from heat.1 cup risotto rice, 1 lb mushrooms, 8 sprigs thyme, 1 tsp sweet paprika, 1 tsp sea salt, black pepper, 1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley
- Stuff each pepper with the rice mixture ¾ of the way up (very important not to over stuff them). Put the tops back on, just to make sure the stuffing will stay inside..
- Arrange the peppers in the pot on top of the tomato layer. Pour in the vegetable stock and the remaining crushed tomatoes making sure it comes all the way up the sides of the peppers and slightly covers them. (Add some water if need be to barely cover the peppers)7-8 medium size bell peppers, 1/2 qt vegetable stock
- Add the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with its lid and either finish cooking on the stove top or transfer the pot to a preheated 375"F degrees oven for 1 hour.8 sprigs thyme, 3 leaves bay
- Remove the pot of stuffed peppers from the oven very carefully and allow it to sit covered for 10 min before serving.
- Serve with a drizzle of sour cream and garnished with fresh parsley and thyme.1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
Crock Pot / Slow Cooker Method
- Follow the recipe above and add the peppers to a large slow cooker making sure they are covered in broth. Cook on low for 6 -8 hours or until tender and the rice is cooked through.
- Serve the stuffed peppers warm surrounded by the broth they were cooked in and drizzled with dairy-free sour cream or greek yogurt.
- If you happen to have any rice mixture leftover after stuffing the peppers, just spoon it in the pot around the peppers to cook together.
- storage - the cooked bell peppers can be frozen in individual freezer proof lidded containers surrounded by the broth. Remember to thaw them out in the refrigerator the night before reheating.
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