Rice and Ground Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers and Onions

November 27, 2009
3 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

This is a staple of Mediterranean cuisine and has many versions. This is mine. A rice dish that comes in nice personal packaging. What I really like about this recipe that it is a method more than a recipe. Very versatile. Mix and match what ever you have at home. Stuff other veggies you have in the fridge (tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes) or change the herbs, mix in other nuts and dried fruits. If you don't eat red meat use ground chicken or turkey or take it out completely. It will still be very tasty. Make a lot of sauce. And leftovers are really good for next day lunch. —Cordelia

What You'll Need
  • Rice Stuffing
  • 6-8 bell pepper (all color, though I prefer red, i think they are sweeter)
  • • One very large onion (instead of some of the peppers, or other veggies like zucchinis or tomatoes)
  • 1 cups of long grain rice
  • 1/2-1 pounds of ground beef (depends on how much meat you want in your mix. I use meat with 15% fat)
  • 2 grated tomatoes (or a cup of chopped canned tomatoes)
  • 1 diced big onion (or 2 small ones)
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or almonds)
  • 2 teaspoons Baharat (or mix cinnamon and cumin and if you have just a touch of clove and cardamom)
  • (optional) 1/2 cups shredded carrot
  • 2-3 tablespoons of chopped mix of parsley and dill
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sauce
  • 1 diced big onion
  • 5-6 sliced cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup carrot diced to very small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can of tomatoes (pureed in the food processor)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  1. Prepare the stuffing: Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan that will fit all the peppers (or other veggies) in one layer. Add the diced onions and sauté for about 10 minutes on medium heat, until translucent and soft. Add the carrots and the garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add the Baharat (or the mix of the spices) and sauté for 1-2 minutes while mixing, until fragrant. Add the ground beef and sauté for 5 minutes or so until it is not pink anymore. Make sure you break down all the big chunks.
  2. Add the rice, salt and pepper and a cup of water. Bring to a boil and then cover and lower the heat and simmer until all the rice absorbed all the liquid (it should be half cooked). Take out of the pan and put in a bowl to cool down.
  3. Make the sauce: add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Add the diced onion and sauté for 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the carrot and the garlic and sauté for few more minutes. Add the paprika and the tomato paste and sauté for 3 minutes while mixing, until the paste is caramelized a bit.
  4. Add the pureed tomatoes, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper and parsley. Mix well and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer.
  5. Once the stuffing is cooled (does not need to cool completely) add to the mixture pine nuts, herbs and the pureed tomatoes. Mix gently but well.
  6. Stuff the peppers: cut the top of the peppers. The top needs to be thick enough so you can put it back on the pepper while it cooks. Take out the seeds and the membranes, gently without braking the peppers. Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture without pressing it down too much. Do not completely fill the pepper since the rice need some space to puff-up.
  7. For the onions: Peel the onion. Make a cut through some of the outer layers of the onion from top to bottom on one side. Put it in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Take it out and let it cool a bit. Once you can touch it, gently peel the outer bigger layers. The idea is to keep them whole. Put in the middle of a onion layer some of the rice mixture (2-3 tablespoons). Wrap the onion layer around the stuffing in a way that the edges will come one over the other to seal it.
  8. Arrange the veggies in the pan with the sauce (the peppers suppose to stand up and put the tops back). Spoon some of the sauce on top of them. If the sauce too thick or gets to thick while cooking add more water. Bring to a boil and than simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the veggies are soft and the rice is cooked through. Spoon some sauce on top of the veggies from time to time. Serve with some of the sauce.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

1 Review

suoz June 25, 2012
This is a delicious recipe! The spicing is unexpected but awesome. Next time I will probably go with with 1/2 pound of beef instead of 1 pound, and add lots of vegetables to the stuffing.

For this batch, I used brown basmati rice, which took a little longer to cook but turned out nicely. I also tried to get away with 1/2 of a 28 oz can of tomatoes for the sauce, but next time I'll use a whole one.

These would be great to make ahead of time and freeze for lunches.