These Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers are stuffed with a tangy rice mixture that is bursting with flavour, they take only a few minutes to prepare, and they cook in the oven! Stuffed peppers are constantly a go-to dish for me because they're hands down the easiest vegetable to stuff.
The stuffing for these Mediterranean Stuffed peppers is inspired by my mother's dolma recipe. If you've never had dolma... it's likely because you don't have nice Arab friends like me to make it for you and/or you are too intimidated to try it. Let me tell you: it's the best dish ever. and THESE stuffed peppers are your gateway to dolma. Why? because they're much easier to make and taste so similar!
Dolma stuffing is traditionally made with ground beef, but I decided to go vegetarian for various reasons. It's quicker to make, lighter on the stomach, and lighter on the planet. Don't get me wrong, I love to eat meat, but every now and then, it's good to keep it light.
Oh and if you are looking for more vegetables you can stuff, malfouf is a great stuffed cabbage dish that has a different flavour profile from these peppers but its equally delicious! And for more middle eastern rice recipes, check out my round up of all my favorites.
How to make Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
The process for making these Mediterranean stuffed peppers is pretty simple. I wasn't kidding when I said it takes about 10 minutes to prepare (unless you chop very very slowly). Here's how it goes down:
- Preheat your oven so its ready to go
- Hollow out the peppers, which is so easy to do. It takes a sharp knife and making a round cut around the stem. Then you simply pop the stem off and empty out any seeds
- Chop the onions, peppers and garlic that go into the stuffing, then mix all the stuffing ingredients together
- Stuff the peppers about three quarters of the way through, and place them in your dutch oven or baking dish
- Mix the sauce ingredients together and pour it inside of the peppers and all around
- Bake it and get ready to dig in
I serve mine with a salad, usually either a good fattoush or tabouli.
What type of peppers should I use for stuffed peppers?
My personal favorite peppers to stuff are yellow, red, and orange sweet peppers. I don't enjoy the taste of cooked green peppers, but if you do, you can certainly use those too. As for size, I like to go for the medium sized peppers you may see at your grocery stores. Not the regularly sized large peppers, nor the super small mini ones. They're medium in size and tend to be so much sweeter than the larger ones.
You can still go for the big peppers but keep in mind that you will need either more stuffing or less peppers. And it would actually be fun to do this with mini sweet peppers. I bet that would look super cute.
If you try making these Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers, I would LOVE to hear your feedback. Let me know by leaving me a comment and a review! I can't wait for you to try them!
For more Vegetarian recipes, check out:
Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers (Vegetarian)
For the peppers:
- 10 medium peppers if using large peppers, you will need less
For the stuffing:
- 2 cups rice any type - I used Basmati
- 1 onion
- 1 medium pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses see notes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon seven spice or replace with allspice or cumin if unavailable
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons oil
For the sauce:
- 1 cup tomato sauce dry cup
- 3 cups water
- 1 stock cube vegetable or chicken
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons oil
For the garnish:
- Handful of parsley or mint optional
- Start by preheating the oven to 450F
- Wash and dry your peppers, then hollow them by creating a round cut around the stem and removing it. Also remove the seeds and any extra skin from the inside
- Finely dice the onion, garlic and pepper for the stuffing
- Mix all the stuffing ingredients together well
- Stuff each pepper with the stuffing about ¾ of the way through (the rice will expand)
- Place in a dutch oven or an oven safe dish, preferably with a lid (you can also use aluminium foil to cover)
- Mix together the sauce ingredients well and ensure the stock cube is dissolved by using hot water
- Pour the sauce over the peppers, ensuring that each you pour some into each pepper then pour the rest around the peppers in the pot
- Cover and bake for 35 minutes
- After 35 minutes, uncover and baste the peppers with the sauce. Check that the rice and the peppers are soft (if not - continue baking covered for another 10 minutes)
- Bake uncovered for a further 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken
- Serve with a side salad and enjoy!
- All measurements for cups are using dry measuring cups
- If you don't have pomegranate molasses, replace with 2 tablespoons lemon and 1 teaspoon sugar (mix together and add)
- This dish is best made in a dutch oven or an oven safe dish that has a lid to allow the peppers to steam well. If using aluminium foil to cover, make sure you seal it well
Suggestions for making ahead? I want to make and reheat a day or two later! Thanks
Amina Al-Saigh says
Hi Lauren. You can prepare the stuffing ahead of time and store it in the fridge in an air tight container. You can also follow the recipe and stuff the peppers, but before baking them, simply put the casserole in the fridge and cover it. Take it out the next day, prepare the cooking sauce and continue with baking. Hope that helps
eugene sommerhauser says
Oitstanding. The best stuffed peppers we have ever had
The rice was half raw in mine... was I suppose to pre-cook it
Hi Denny! That's odd. Did you ensure to add the recommended liquid called for in the recipe? Also ensure that you add some of the sauce inside each pepper. Finally, make sure that it bakes covered at first and that you baste it. If the rice still feels raw, feel free to keep it baking for a little while longer until it softens. Depending on your oven and the type of rice, there may be some variation there. Hope that helps!
Tastiest stuffed pepper recipe ever! This will be In rotation for sure! This was probably the only time I was sad to not have a surplus of leftovers. Would have eaten this for days 🙂
Haha Fatimah - that's exactly how I feel with no leftovers after a meal. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this!
This recipe and photos look amazing!! Growing up, stuffed peppers were constantly in rotation (meat & rice filled) ...so I will be making your recipe for sure! And my momma always used green bell peppers, I like using all the colors because it looks pretty. This recipe also reminded me, I need to buy more Pomegranate molasses. I will post when I make this!
my go to stuffed pepper recipe!
That's so awesome to hear Sharika! Thank you 🙂
Morey LIpsett says
Are you supposed to cook the rice before mixing in the filling?
Hi Morey! No, you don't need to cook the rice beforehand. 🙂