Italian Stuffed Peppers

4.53 from 36 votes
2 hours
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Italian Stuffed Peppers are the ultimate comfort food!  Green bell peppers are stuffed with ground beef and farro, then topped with a lively tomato sauce for a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meal! Serve with Baked Cabbage Wedges or Roasted Cauliflower on the side!

“Great stuffed peppers. I’ve made Italian stuffed peppers before, but they all lacked serious flavor. Not so with these. Thanks for another successful recipe!”

Four Italian Stuffed Peppers in deep white round baking dish.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

I’ve made this Italian Stuffed Peppers recipe many times throughout my personal chef career, and it’s always a hit!

These Italian Stuffed Peppers are a twist on classic stuffed peppers. Beef, nutty farro, a lively, chunky tomato sauce, and two kinds of cheese create a rich, savory, and satisfying taste profile of classic Italian flavors. They’re a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dinner!

This Italian stuffed peppers recipe is:

  • So good! There are a few steps involved for these beef stuffed peppers, but once you pull these hearty, awesome stuffed peppers out of the oven and dig in, you’ll agree it was all worth it!
  • Leftover-friendly! Italian stuffed peppers make leftovers everyone will fight over. They reheat beautifully and are one of those things that taste better the next day.
  • Freezer-friendly! Enjoy one or two now, and freeze the rest for a meal that’s ready to go!

Let’s make ’em!

Three Italian Stuffed Peppers in deep white round baking dish.

How to Make Italian Stuffed Peppers:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe for Italian Stuffed Peppers, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Bell Peppers: For this stuffed peppers recipe, I like to use green bell peppers, but sweet red, yellow, or orange peppers can also be used. Try to find big, blocky peppers, which’ll be easier to fill and work with.
  • Farro: Although rice is traditionally used as the filler in most stuffed bell peppers, this recipe uses farro, an ancient grain. Farro is an excellent source of dietary fiber, iron, and protein.  It has a satisfying “chew” similar to barley and even looks like barley. Farro is derived from wheat, so it’s not gluten-free. Short-grain brown rice makes a great, healthy substitute for a gluten-free diet.
  • Ground beef: For most recipes that call for ground beef, I like to use ground chuck. Ground chuck is 80% lean meat and 20% fat and comes from the shoulder area of the cow, which means it will have a higher fat content. That fat content contributes to taste, tenderness, and juiciness. If you want to cut the fat content, use a leaner 90/10 ratio, but it may not be as tender. You can also use ground turkey or chicken in this recipe. Combining beef with Italian sausage is yet another option as is ground lamb.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Anything labeled “Parmesan” cheese is produced outside Parma, Italy (generally in the United States). Cheese labeled “Parmigiana Reggiano is only made in and around Parma (Emilio-Romagna region).
  • Mozzarella Cheese: Fontina or provolone are suitable substitutes for Mozzarella.
  • Broth: Use beef, chicken, or vegetable broth.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a large, deep baking dish.
  • Cook farro in salted boiling water until tender but still al dente. Keep in mind the farro will cook again inside the peppers.
  • NOTE: Cooking the farro can take 30 minutes or so. Alternatively, place farro and 3 cups water in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker and cook on high for 10 minutes.
  • Drain in a colander and run under cool tap water. Drain again.
Cooked farro in glass bowl.
  • While the farro is cooking, remove the tops from the green bell peppers and carefully hollow them out. If necessary, shave a little off the bottom so they stand level.
Italian Beef and Farro Stuffed Peppers - Green bell peppers prepped for stuffing with seeds and membrane removed
  • Reserve the tops of the peppers, pull out the stem, and coarsely chop the remainder.
Four uncooked green bell peppers with the tops cut off and chopped green pepper on wood cutting board.
  • Rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then place upside down on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool.
  • The peppers will release some of their water during this process. Drain off and discard the excess liquid.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and chopped green bell pepper tops. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Add the garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, basil, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Bring it to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to meld the flavors and thicken the sauce. Let cool slightly. Taste and add a pinch or two of sugar if needed.
  • Transfer 1 cup of the sauce to a bowl. Add beef, egg, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of Mozzarella, salt, black pepper, cooked farro, and half the parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Transfer 1 cup of the sauce to a bowl.
  • Add beef, egg, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of Mozzarella, salt, black pepper, cooked farro, and half the parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the dish.
  • Fill each pepper with equal amounts of the beef-farro combination and place them upright in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over each pepper.
  • Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into each pepper registers 160 degrees.
  • Top with remaining cheese and return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is nicely melted and the peppers are at 165 degrees.
  • Garnish with remaining chopped fresh parsley.
Baked bell peppers in deep white round baking dish with cheese placed on top.
  • Cheesy. Meaty. Hearty. Spicy. Delicious!
  • Make these hearty Italian Stuffed Peppers!  Farro lovers, you’ll also love my Tomato Farro Risotto!
Four Italian Stuffed Peppers in deep white round baking dish with serving spoon and blue napkin.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • Although this Italian Stuffed Peppers recipe makes four mega-stuffed green bell peppers, you can cut them in half before or after baking for eight smaller servings.
  • Baking the peppers upside down for 15 minutes allows them to release some water so it doesn’t collect in the bottom of the peppers.
  • If you’re not a bell pepper fan, the beef and farro combination and this spicy, chunky sauce are excellent in cabbage rolls, too!
Four Italian Stuffed Peppers in deep white round baking dish with serving spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where did stuffed peppers originate?

Filling peppers with a savory meat filling is believed to have originated in Hungary. However, many different cuisines worldwide have a version, including popular Mexican chile rellenos. Stuffed peppers appeared in cookbooks as far back as the 1890s, and your grandmother or mother probably made them.

Why are my stuffed peppers watery?

Some stuffed pepper recipes call for boiling the peppers first, but you also boil away flavor. Also, you can’t remove water if what you’re doing is placing peppers into water. The best solution is to bake the peppers for 15 minutes upside down so some of the water in the bell peppers is removed. After the filled peppers are baked, you won’t have water in the bottom, and the peppers will be perfectly tender.

Can you make beef stuffed peppers ahead of time?

Yes! You can get everything prepped and ready to bake up to 24 hours in advance. However, the ground beef must be freshly ground, or the package was just opened on the day you prep the peppers. Ground beef deteriorates quickly and has to be cooked within 1 to 2 days (2 days tops). Otherwise, it’s not safe to consume.

Four Italian Stuffed Peppers in deep white round baking dish.

Storage and Reheating:

  • Refrigerate any leftovers. Enjoy within five days for the best results.
  • Reheat in a 350-degree oven until the peppers reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • TO FREEZE: Bake, cool, and store in an airtight container in the freezer for 1-2 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator.  Reheat in the oven, toaster oven, or microwave.

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Three Italian Stuffed Peppers in deep white round baking dish.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

4.53 from 36 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Italian Stuffed Peppers are the ultimate comfort food!  Green bell peppers are stuffed with ground beef and farro, then topped with a lively tomato sauce for a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meal!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Beef
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 849 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup farro - uncooked
  • Salt
  • 4 large green bell peppers
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil - divided plus more for baking dish
  • 1 medium onion - finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery - finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - finely chopped
  • 1 can (15-ounce) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs - undrained
  • 1 can (15-ounce) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef broth - or chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch - or two of sugar (if needed)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg - lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese - divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a large, deep baking dish.
  • Cook farro in salted boiling water until tender but still al dente. (This can take 30 minutes or so. Alternately, place farro and 3 cups water in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker and cook on high 10 minutes.) Drain in a colander and run under cool tap water. Drain again.
  • While the farro is cooking, remove the tops from the green bell peppers and carefully hollow them out. If necessary, shave a little off the bottom so they stand level. Reserve the tops of the peppers, pull out the stem and coarsely chop the remainder.
  • Rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then place upside down on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool. The peppers will release some of their water during this process. Drain off and discard the excess liquid.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and chopped green bell pepper tops. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  • Add the garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, basil, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to meld the flavors and thicken the sauce. Let cool slightly. Taste and add a pinch or two of sugar if needed.
  • Transfer 1 cup of the sauce to a bowl. Add beef, egg, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of Mozzarella, salt, black pepper, cooked farro, and half the parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the dish.
  • Fill each pepper with equal amounts of the beef-farro combination and place upright in baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over each pepper.
  • Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into each pepper registers 160 degrees.
  • Top with remaining cheese and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is nicely melted and the peppers are at 165 degrees.
  • Garnish with remaining chopped fresh parsley.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD: Prepare to the point of baking and refrigerate no longer than 24 hours. (Make sure ground beef is extremely fresh!)
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Bake, cool and store in an airtight container in the freezer for 1-2 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator.  Reheat in the oven, toaster oven or microwave.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 849kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 174mg | Sodium: 1387mg | Potassium: 973mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1682IU | Vitamin C: 140mg | Calcium: 545mg | Iron: 6mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great stuffed peppers. I’ve made Italian stuffed peppers before but they all lacked serious flavor. Not so with these. Thanks for another successful recipe!

    1. Hi, JD, Thanks so very much and so happy you love this recipe! I know what you mean about stuffed peppers; they need some sort of flavor development or they can be bland. That flavor development is what I aimed for in this recipe. Thanks again!

  2. 5 stars
    These Italian stuffed peppers are ideal for our weeknight dinners. So much flavor! I love your chef tips as always. We’ll be making these on repeat!

    1. Thanks so much and so happy you love this recipe! As I mentioned, it has a few steps, but boy, when you take them out of the oven and they’re all bubbling hot and cheesy, it really is all worth it. Thanks again!!

  3. 4 stars
    Very good! Not pre-cooking the beef before stuffing the pepper yielded a more ‘Meaty’ flavor to the end product. Took 50 min to get to 165. Will make again.