Stuffed peppers are such a classic Greek dish and traditionally vegan! Meat was only added to the rice mixture on special occasions and feast days. Every day stuffed peppers were meatless and, as you’ll see with this recipe, absolutely magnificent!
One of my all time favorite meals, stuffed peppers are a simple, easy to make ahead, healthy, so yummy dish. Green bell peppers are used most often but feel free to shake things up with yellow, orange or red bell peppers for
slightly different flavors. I love them all!
The aromatics in this dish are just as simple as the rest of the ingredients and they’ll quickly fill your kitchen the most amazing aromas when your peppers are in the oven. Fresh dill and mint are, for me, such Greek herbs and only need a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper to bring them together in the perfect partnership of flavors.
When on hand, or if I have time to make them ahead, I use chopped roasted tomatoes here. Its fine to use canned plum tomatoes, just remember to drain them and chop roughly with the back of a fork. Leave them a bit chunky.
The tomato juices and 2 cups of water will help the rice to cook as it absorbs all these delicious flavors. Use a tight lid to cover the filling as it cooks on the stovetop. You can also cover the pan with foil if you don’t have the right cover. Just be very carful when removing the foil paper that the steam doesn’t burn you.
Keep the heat on low. Any more than 10 minutes and your rice filling will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. If this happens, all is not lost. Simply take a wooden spoon and push up any stuck bits up from the bottom and incorporate them into the rest of the filling. If the rice is noticeably burnt though, a dark brown or heaven forbid black, then leave it behind and just use the rice filling on top. Hopefully you’ll still have enough for your peppers even if you have to eliminate one, you won’t lose the whole thing. Just keep an eye on your time and this won’t be an issue.
Let the filling cool for at least 10 minutes before filling your peppers.
You can make your filling up to 3 days ahead of time and keep covered in the refrigerator. Take out and bring to room temperature about 30 minutes before you’re ready to fill peppers.
When filling, remember to leave a little room at the top of each pepper – don’t fill right to the tip top. The rice is going to expand some while in the oven so you want to avoid your peppers exploding or overflowing while in the oven!
- 6-8 medium bell peppers (8 medium or 6 large) in any combination of green/yellow/red
- 1 cup onion finely chopped
- 1/3 cup garlic finely minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup white rice (uncooked)
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
- 1 cup chopped, peeled tomatoes (4-5 canned, peeled plum tomatoes, drained)
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup warm1 water for pan
Sauté finely chopped onions, then garlic in olive oil on low heat until soft and translucent. Add rice, herbs, spices and tomatoes. Stir to combine completely. Cook on low for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add water, cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Make sure heat is low or rice mixture will stick to pan. Remove from heat, uncover, stir and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before filling. Rice should be almost completely cooked.
At this stage, you can keep filling covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days until you’re ready to stuff your peppers. When ready to use, allow filling to sit out for about 30 minutes and come to room temperature.
Cut off the tops of peppers and set aside. Remove seeds and veins and arrange in a pan which fits them tightly. For 5 or six medium sized peppers I usually use a 9 inch round cake pan. For anywhere from 9-12 peppers, I use my 9×13″ cake pan.
Fill each pepper with rice mixture, almost to the top. Add 2 tsp of warm water over the top of each filled pepper. Replace pepper lids and carefully brush tops and sides of filled peppers with olive oil. Add 1 cup of warm water to bottom of the pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs. Yellow and orange bell peppers can be a bit thicker skinned and may need another 15 minutes or so. Rice will be soft and tops of peppers just slightly charred.
A piece of crusty bread and you’ve got a fantastic meal!