Try this Italian Stuffed Peppers Recipe for a light, healthy, and affordable meal! Juicy ground chicken is combined with tender farro and savory vegetables, then stuffed into your choice of bell peppers. With a layer of melted mozzarella on top, each bite is better than the last. Make it for a quick weeknight dinner, or serve it for guests on special occasions!Jump to Recipe
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Healthy: If you’re looking for a main dish that won’t leave you feeling weighed down, this stuffed Italian peppers recipe should be your go-to! It features lean ground chicken, vitamin-rich bell peppers, and heart-healthy olive oil.
- Easy: All you have to do is steam the farro, sauté the filling, and bake the peppers. The entire meal is ready to be served in about 30 minutes!
- Affordable: This recipe is made with pantry staples and affordable protein. For an even more inexpensive option, prepare it with lentils or just vegetables.
- Versatile: Enjoy Italian stuffed peppers as a light main on its own, or serve it with a side salad, bread, or pasta for a heartier meal.
Healthy stuffed bell peppers
Stuffed bell peppers are always a hit in my house. They are versatile, quick, and healthy! This classic recipe typically features hollowed-out peppers filled with some combination of protein, grains, and savory seasonings.
I like to use ground chicken since it’s a lean protein source, farro for Italian-inspired flavors, mozzarella cheese, and Italian seasoning. However, there are so many ways to make this meal your own just by switching up the fillings and spices.
Serve this all-purpose recipe as a main, side dish, or even an appetizer. Plus, leftovers are a breeze to store, so you can enjoy lunches and quick dinners all week long!
Ingredients & substitutions
- Bell peppers: Use any combination of colors! Try to pick bell peppers with a fairly symmetrical shape so they cook evenly, and make sure they are medium to large.
- Olive oil: To sauté the onion and brush the peppers. Quality olive oil will provide a rich texture and flavor, but you can use avocado oil or another neutral vegetable oil in a pinch.
- Onion: Adds a subtle sweetness and depth of flavor. Use white or yellow onion for the best flavors in your Italian stuffed peppers.
- Ground chicken: I prefer a lean protein source like ground chicken for this recipe. If you don’t have ground chicken, substitute it with ground turkey, pork, or beef. To increase the Mediterranean flavors, use Italian turkey sausage.
- Seasonings: For a savory and herbaceous mixture, I add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Feel free to use individual Italian spices or add some heat with red pepper flakes.
- Diced tomatoes: Provide a tangy and juicy element. If you want, you can use freshly diced tomatoes, but canned tomatoes are a much more convenient option.
- Farro: This grain has Italian roots and imparts a chewy, nutty, and hearty element to the filling. For a gluten-free option, substitute quinoa, brown rice, or even cauliflower rice.
- Mozzarella: Who doesn’t love a warm, melty, and creamy topping on stuffed peppers? It elevates the flavor so much! Feel free to swap in other cheese varieties like fontina, cheddar, or a combination.
- Parsley: Provides a pop of color and a vibrant finish. If you don’t have parsley, try fresh basil, oregano, or thyme.
How to make Italian stuffed peppers
- Pre-roast the peppers: Cut the bell peppers in half, but make sure to leave the stem intact. Remove the seeds and membranes, then brush them with olive oil and roast them.
- Cook the filling: Sauté the onions in a pan until they’re translucent, then add the ground chicken, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, break down the chicken as it cooks, then add the diced tomatoes.
- Add the grains: Add the cooked farro (or whatever grain you’re using) and grated mozzarella to the pan. Taste and adjust any seasonings to your liking.
- Stuff the peppers: When the peppers are just undercooked, remove them from the oven and spoon the stuffing into each bell pepper half.
- Roast the peppers: Don’t forget an extra layer of mozzarella cheese on top, then roast the peppers uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the cheese has melted. Serve them with fresh parsley or basil on top!
With a perfect balance of protein, grains, and vegetables, this Italian stuffed peppers recipe makes an entire meal on its own. However, if you’d like to bulk it up, try some of these garnishes and sides:
- Lemon basil pasta salad
- Focaccia or garlic bread
- A drizzle of sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Tomato and onion salad
- Roasted or steamed vegetables
- Toasted pine nuts or almonds
Frequently asked questions
Absolutely! You can use other large, mild-flavored peppers like poblano or Anaheim peppers. Just note, both of these are slightly spicy compared to bell peppers.
Yes, you can use other grains like bulgur or couscous instead of farro. For a gluten-free meal, opt for quinoa, rice, or cauliflower rice.
You’ll know the stuffed bell peppers are done when the peppers are tender and the mozzarella is melted and slightly browning on top.
Storage & reheating
For any leftover Italian stuffed peppers, just follow these storage and reheating tips:
- Fridge: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Freezer: Freeze fully cooked stuffed peppers in a covered baking dish or large airtight container for up to 3 months. You can also freeze the peppers before fully cooking them. Cook the filling and stuff the peppers, then freeze them until you’re ready to serve them.
- Reheating: Thaw frozen peppers in the fridge overnight. If they are fully cooked, reheat them in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes, or until warm. If they are partially cooked, heat them for about 10 minutes longer.
- Vegetarian: Instead of ground chicken, try lentils, chickpeas, or vegan ground round.
- Mexican-inspired: Use taco seasoning and add black beans, corn, and cilantro.
- Greek: Instead of chicken, opt for ground lamb. Add some olives and a sprinkle of feta cheese.
- Use large bell peppers: Choose bell peppers that are firm and large for easy stuffing.
- Don’t overcook: Careful not to overcook the stuffing mixture since it will continue cooking in the oven with the bell peppers.
- Avoid overstuffing: Overstuffing the peppers will prevent the stuffing from cooking evenly and properly. Fill the peppers until the stuffing is flush with the top.
Looking for more healthy mains?
If you enjoyed this Italian stuffed peppers recipe, be sure to check out some more of my favorite light and healthy mains these:
If you try this Italian Stuffed Peppers Recipe, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Healthy Italian Stuffed Peppers Recipe
- 3-4 medium bell peppers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 1 pound ground chicken or use ground turkey or beef
- 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 3 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 can diced tomatoes with juices (14.5oz can)
- 1 cup cooked farro or use quinoa or brown rice
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese grated and divided
- 2 tablespoons parsley or basil chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cut the bell peppers in half, leaving the stem intact, then remove the seeds and the membrane. Brush them with a little bit of olive oil inside out, and roast them in the oven until they’re just undercooked (about 10 minutes).
- Cook the farro, quinoa, or rice according to the directions.
- Heat a pan to medium-low heat, add the diced onion, and saute until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
- Bring the heat to medium-high. In the same pan, add the ground chicken, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and kosher salt. Using a wooden spoon or spatula break down the chicken as it cooks for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add the can of diced tomatoes, and cook for an additional 1 minute.
- Turn the heat off, and add in cooked farro (or whatever grain you cooked), and grated mozzarella. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Take the bell peppers out of the oven. They should be roasted but just undercooked.
- Spoon the stuffing into each bell pepper half, then top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Place back in the oven, uncovered for 10 more minutes. This will allow the flavors to settle, the bell peppers will be fully cooked, and the cheese will melt. Remove from oven and top with chopped parsley or basil. Enjoy with a side salad or on its own.