Southwestern Beef and Barley Stuffed Bell Peppers are a spicy twist on traditional stuffed bell peppers you and your family will love!
The inspiration behind this dish:
I've been posting a lot of veggie-centric recipes lately and I love to eat that way. I don't think I've met a vegetable yet that I don't like!
However, sometimes a person just needs something hearty and beefy for comfort--like these Southwestern Beef and Barley Stuffed Bell Peppers. Comfort food complete with a blanket of cheese!
I crave stuffed bell peppers and have to make them at least once or twice during the fall and winter. However, I like to change them up as I did these!
Tips for making Southwestern Beef and Barley Stuffed Peppers:
- Although stuffed peppers take a little time to prep, this can all be done ahead of time and baked prior to serving.
- When cooked through, stuffed bell peppers reheat and freeze beautifully!
- Make sure your ground beef is super fresh and don't go longer than a day without baking the assembled peppers. Raw ground beef becomes hazardous quickly. When cooked through, stuffed bell peppers reheat and freeze beautifully, too!
- I used barley instead of rice (which is traditional in stuffed peppers) because beef and barley pair so well together. I especially love barley for the wonderful toothsome texture when it's cooked properly.
- Bell peppers contain a fair amount of water which can make the filling soupy so you need to extract some of that water. I'm not a fan of cutting into a stuffed pepper and having a bunch of the juice run out. Microwaving works, however, I prefer to roast them briefly before filling--10 minutes or so. Let the peppers cool and simply pour the liquid that accumulated in the bottom out.
- Make these gluten-free by substituting rice or quinoa for the barley and healthier by using super-lean ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken. Use half the cheese or 2% cheese to lighten them some more.
Whether these serve six or eight will depend upon appetite. I'm good with one pepper, but my hubby can easily eat two. Because stuffed bell peppers are so hearty, you don't need much more on the side. A salad is perfect!
More stuffed pepper recipes you'll love:
- Italian Beef and Farro Stuffed Peppers
- Southwestern Chicken, Rice and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers
- Chorizo Brown Rice Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Quinoa Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Chicken, Brown Rice and Cheese-Stuffed Poblanos
Southwestern Beef and Barley Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 4 large green bell peppers - halved top to bottom and hollowed out
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil plus more to oil the pan - or canola oil plus more to oil the pan
- ½ cup pearl barley
- 1 medium onion - finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper - optional
- 1 can (15-ounce) tomato sauce
- 1 can (14.5-ounce) beef broth
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ¼ pound ground chuck - or other form of ground such as sirloin
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
- Sour cream - for serving
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place peppers in an oiled baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
- Let peppers cool and pour out any water that accumulated in the bottom of the pepper.
- Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add salt to taste and add barley. Cook until al dente (tender but with some bite).
- Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet or saute pan.
- Add the onion and cook 7-8 minutes or until softened.
- Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and cayenne pepper. Stir, then add tomato sauce and beef broth.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Transfer 1 cup of the sauce to a large bowl and let cool. Add the barley, beef, egg, 1 cup cheese and mix well.
- Fill peppers with equal amounts of the filling. Pour remaining sauce over the peppers, cover with foil and bake 40-45 minutes or until cooked through to 165 degrees in the center.
- Top with cheese, return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
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.
Hi Carol, We had these for dinner tonight. Delicious! Added a salad with the last of our heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. Perfect😄
Hi, Margo! Thanks so much and so glad you enjoyed! That salad with the peppers sounds perfect! Yum!
These were delicious! I loved the idea of baking the peppers in an oiled baking dish for 15 minutes vrs boiling them. I used red, yellow and orange peppers instead of green... I didn't have coriander, but other than that I followed the recipe just as you had it! I definitely will make these again - Yum!
Thanks so much, Jill. So happy you enjoyed! Yes, boiling peppers for stuffed peppers just seems "wrong." Thanks again!
Made these tonight and it was delicious. Barley is a better pairing than rice and as carbs go, barley is a beneficial one. Hubby wants me to use this filling in the summer to stuff yellow squash, too. Thank you Carol for sharing this.
Hi, Teresa, Thanks so much for your comment and glad you enjoyed! I know what you mean about the barley; I love the toothsome texture. Rice tends to get lost a little bit. Thanks again and please stay in touch!
Hi Carol - thanks for sharing this. The melted cheese on top make them more delicious. Can't wait to try this!
Thanks, Jeff! This Wisconsin girl HAS to have cheese now and then!
These look and sound delicious Carol. I feel the same way about eating mostly veggies and then going all out with a meaty cheesy splurge!