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 irresistible!
I totally realize the thermometer shows like 95″F outside, but seriously, who doesn’t love good comfort food regardless of the weather? And is there anything out there that even comes close to a home cooked meal like this? Me thinks not!
The best stuffed bell peppers!
- the different color bell peppers are loaded with sweet flavors and nutrition.
- healthy – can be made 100% plant based, meatless, stuffed with flavorful wild mushrooms (or chopped up rehydrated soy curls or crumbled tofu) instead of ground up animals like chicken, beef or pork sausage filling.
- cooked in the tastiest broth /sauce, made with San Marzano tomatoes and vegetable stock. The best way to cook stuffed peppers truly is in all that flavorful tomato sauce because nobody likes a dry stuffed pepper.
- super easy to make, gluten free + can be prepared a couple of days in advance.
- depending on the size of your biggest dutch oven pot, these peppers will feed 7-8 people.
- recipe variation – swap the risotto rice for quick cook brown rice, quinoa, couscous, barley or lentils.
I could try and describe more in depth the magical combination of flavors going on in these peppers, but honestly I wouldn’t do it any justice. You’ll just have to make some.
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.
Can you freeze 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 ciabatta, focaccia or Italian crusty bread.
- mushroom bruschetta
- tomato cucumber salad
- basil walnut pesto.
Italian Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers Recipe
- 7-8 medium size bell peppers mixed colors
- 3/4 cup risotto rice
- 1 lb wild mushrooms
- 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)
- 1 tsp sea salt + more to taste
- black pepper -to taste
- Preheat your oven to 375" F or just cook them on the stovetop.
- Rinse the peppers and cut the tops and empty the seeds and membrane. Reserve the clean tops also, you’ll need to place them back on top after you fill the peppers.
- Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add a layer with juices to the bottom of a large enameled cast iron pan.
- 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.
- Stir in the risotto rice and let cook together for about 5 min. Mix in the mushrooms (or you can use chopped up rehydrated soy curls) and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the thyme leaves, parsley, 1 tsp sea salt, pepper and paprika and mix well together. Cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms start to soften a bit and remove from heat.
- 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 heavy bottom sauce pan on top of the tomato layer. Pour in the 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 cover the peppers)
- Add the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and transfer the pot to the preheated 375"F degrees oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
- 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.
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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