This brightly colored and flavorful stuffed peppers recipe with ground beef and spinach is truly a special treat and such a well-rounded meal. Adding spinach is a fantastic way to add a little extra boost of green veggies to your plate, and you have a full meal in one dish.
Growing up my mom made stuffed peppers as a special meal. It always seemed like so much work to end up with mushy green bell peppers stuffed with deliciousness. I enjoy crisp fresh bell peppers, but cooked like that, not a fan. I always loved the center, not the exterior. My kid mind thought we could have made them without pepper and I’d have been happy plus my mom would save time.
But here’s the thing with stuffed peppers (and life), you grow up and learn that you need those mushy icky seeming exteriors to make the rest of it the best it can be. Just like that stuffing won’t develop the full flavor without being cooked inside the pepper, you can’t know the beauty of slowing down and taking time to enjoy the process of life if you haven’t experienced the hurry.
Sometimes I need to just slow down and enjoy the moment. It’s easy to get lost in the hurry of life. When I start feeling scattered and like everything is imploding around me, I know it’s time to take a step back and just be. To create instead of check off lists. I don’t do a very good job of it but I’m working on that. I’m not very crafty but preparing food is my creative outlet. It grounds me. Centers me. Helps me focus on the here and now.
Taking time to make this dish also gave me time to think. I can really start to hate cooking when it is just by rote hurry up and slap food on the table. Somewhere in life we lost the value of slowing down and savoring life – breathing in and out, a hug, silence, a long bubble bath, sitting down around the family table to enjoy a meal.
I’m as guilty of this as the next person. I get so caught up in the every day, overbooking schedules, the need to be busy, and training my kids that life is always about “the next thing.” Little by little I want to reclaim a slower way of life. Not just for me but for my kids. To teach them and myself to take time and enjoy the bright colors and flavors of life (and food). I want YOU to reclaim that life. To not view it as a guilty pleasure but a way of life. To carve space out to enjoy life. You’re welcome to start with this stuffed peppers recipe with ground beef and spinach.
- 6 red bell peppers
- 2 lb. ground meat
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 4 ounces fresh spinach leaves
- 1 medium onion
- 1 – 24-25 ounce jar pasta sauce*
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces mozzarella, shredded
- Cook rice per instructions on package. I usually make 2 cups dry rice so there is leftover rice.
- While rice is cooking, fill a large pot 2/3 full with water and set over high heat to boil.
- Wash peppers and half lengthwise. Carefully remove stem and seeds.
- Heat a large frying pan or wide bottomed pan with higher sides on medium/high heat.
- Chop onion and mix ground meat, onion, salt, pepper, and parsley and add to heated pan.
- Fry until meat is almost cooked through.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Meanwhile, when water comes to a boil in large pot, put pepper halves in it and blanch for 3 minutes.
- Fill a bowl with ice and water.
- Put blanched peppers in it to cool for 3 minutes.
- When meat is almost done cooking, roughly tear up spinach leaves and add to meat mixture, cooking a few more minutes until the spinach is wilted.
- Add 2 cups cooked rice and sauce to meat mixture and mix in well.
- Stuff peppers and place in 9 x 13 baking dish or 2 smaller dishes.
- Spread mozzarella over top.
- Cover dish and bake 30 minutes.
- Take cover off and bake another 30 minutes to crisp tops a bit.
*Use low sodium and/or no sugar added pasta sauce or cook crushed tomatoes down a bit to remove some extra liquid to lower sugar and sodium.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 294
By the way, I have 2 different secrets to skipping that mushy turn off and enjoying the stuffed pepper from start to finish.
Tip 1: Don’t precook your pepper. You end up with a somewhat crunchy but fresh tasting stuffed pepper like these quick easy stuffed peppers.
Tip 2: Swap green bell peppers for red bell peppers like I do in this recipe. I blanched them to make them easier to work with and they do end up quite soft BUT I find red bell peppers taste just fine a little softer because the sweetness comes out instead of the bitterness of green peppers.
Another favorite stuffed pepper recipe with fresh crispy bell peppers.