Today, we’re diving into one of my all-time favourites – Mediterranean stuffed peppers or as I called them beef and rice stuffed capsicums. Or as some people like to call them, Mediterranean stuffed capsicum. Whichever name you prefer, these Mediterranean stuffed bell peppers are guaranteed to tantalise your taste buds and give you a warm embrace from the Mediterranean coast!
When I think of the Mediterranean, I picture sun-kissed shores, bustling markets with the freshest ingredients, and family gatherings over hearty meals. This dish encapsulates it all. Filled with flavours, colours, and textures, it’s more than just a meal; it’s a journey.
My tips on making the best Mediterranean stuffed peppers recipe
Following this Mediterranean stuffed peppers recipe is not just about filling a vegetable with ingredients; it’s about choosing the right capsicum, preparing it with care, and enjoying the process along the way. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to creating a dish that’s not only delicious but also a feast for the eyes.
Colour Matters For Your Mediterranean Stuffed Capsicum
The colour can make a big difference when it comes to your Mediterranean stuffed capsicum. While you can use a mix of yellow, red, or green capsicums to add some vibrancy to your plate, many agree that red capsicums are the best for stuffing. And hey, I use red capsicums too, as they are sweeter, and that adds a nice twist to the flavour.
Size and Shape: Bigger Can Be Better
Look for medium to large capsicums with a sturdy structure. You’ll want to find ones with enough room to hold all the delicious stuffing you have planned. The wider and flatter the bottom, the better they’ll sit in your pan without tipping over.
Freshness is Key
When you’re on a mission to create the most mouth-watering Mediterranean stuffed peppers, the freshness of the produce is vital. Look for vibrant colours, a firm texture, and smooth skin. Avoid those that are wrinkled or have soft spots; they won’t hold up well when you stuff them.
Maximise Your Stuffing
The stuffing I suggest is similar to my meatball recipe! What I love about this is that any leftover stuffing can be rolled into small meatballs and popped into the sauce around the capsicums while they cook. This is not only a creative way to avoid wastage, but it adds an extra layer of deliciousness to your meal. Not to mention, this is also a great way to use up extra stuffing if your pot only fits 4 capsicums!
If you’ve ever wondered why some dishes stand out more than others, it’s often due to the quality of ingredients used. For example, invest in high-quality olive oil and tinned tomatoes for that stellar sauce. You’ll be amazed at how much difference a good quality olive oil can make in this Mediterranean stuffed peppers recipe. It lifts the flavour, making it robust and rich. And those juicy tomatoes? They require minimal seasoning, making your job a tad easier.
The Great Tomato Debate: Tinned vs. Fresh
I get this question a lot: “Which is better? Tinned or fresh tomatoes?” Well, while I personally have a soft spot for tinned tomatoes when whipping up this sauce, fresh tomatoes can work wonders too. If you’re a fresh tomato enthusiast, just remember to follow the recipe carefully, ensuring that the tomatoes are well-cooked and blend seamlessly with the basil.
Add Finishing Touches to Your Mediterranean Stuffed Bell Peppers
Before serving, always taste your sauce. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. A sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper or a drizzle of olive oil can elevate your dish to the next level.
If you have any questions or would like to leave a review, please do so here! I always love answering your food and recipe related questions and hearing your feedback on my recipes.
Beef and rice stuffed capsicums/peppers
Tomato basil sauce
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic peeled
- 400 g whole peeled tinned tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
- 6 large capsicums
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup white stale bread sliced (or 3 slices)
- 500 g beef mince
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 20 g fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 cup pecorino romano grated + extra to serve
Tomato and basil sauce
- In a deep and large Dutch oven pot on a medium heat, bring the olive oil to heat. Add the garlic cloves to the hot oil and cook for 2 – 3 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and discard.
- Turn the heat to low. Remove the tomatoes from their tin and crush them with your hands over the pot. Add the tomatoes to the pot with the water. Season very generously with salt and pepper. Add the fresh basil leaves and sugar if using. Stir through and bring to a low simmer and place the lid on.
- While the sauce is simmering, prepare the capsicums. Combine the milk and bread and leave to sit for 10 minutes.
- Cut the top off the capsicum roughly 4cm down from the top. Remove the core of the capsicums by running a knife along the edges. Pull the core and seeds out. Wash the capsicum under cold water to ensure all the seeds have been removed. Set to the side.
- In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, including the bread and milk and mix together with your hands until well combined. Using a spoon, stuff the capsicums with the beef and rice and filling, ensuring to pack it in nice and tight. Only fill the filling ¾ of the way to the top of the capsicum as the rice will expand.
- Place into the pot with the simmering tomato and basil, and sauce and top with their hats. The sauce should cover them ¾ of the way. Place the lid onto the pot and simmer on a low heat for 1.5 – 2 hours or until the rice has cooked.
- Take off the heat and serve with the sauce and a generous sprinkling of pecorino romano.