Do you love bell peppers? You know, those large red or green peppers that typically end up as a pizza topper or in a bed of salad. You can also see them in many Mexican dishes, like fajitas and burritos, as well as Asian stir-fry cooking. Truly, the humble bell pepper can be seen virtually everywhere.
Well, if you love munching on these vibrant goodies, then you will definitely love what we are going to talk about today.
One of the things most often say about this fantastic fruit (yes, pepper is technically a fruit) is how plain and boring it is when eaten by itself, but there are numerous ways that you can serve with bell peppers that give it that extra pizzazz. One great way is to stuff them with a variety of meat, cheese, and veggies. There are dozens of ways to make your own stuffed peppers. Here are a few examples of stuffed bell pepper fillings.
Ground beef, tomatoes and cheddar cheese: Cook some ground beef, chopped onions, tomatoes, and peppers in a skillet. Stir until the meat is brown and add Worcestershire sauce. Top with a good serving of shredded cheddar cheese and mix until the cheese has melted, then stuff it inside the boiled bell pepper cups.
Tomatoes, pesto, rice and goat’s cheese: Chop some tomatoes and cook them in a skillet, then add cooked rice and mix in about two tablespoons of pesto. Keep stirring until the ingredients are well mixed. Add some sliced goat’s cheese on top and keep cooking for about 6 minutes, then stuff it inside the boiled bell pepper cups.
There are many more bell pepper stuffing recipes that you can try. Just do a quick search on the internet and you will be rewarded with dozens of must-try recipes.
One of the most common misconceptions about stuffed peppers is that they are only good as an appetizer. I have used stuffed peppers as the star of my dish many times. You just need to know what the right pairings are to use. Here are some of my favorites:
Ah, the amazing potato. What dish doesn’t go well with this carb? So it will come as no surprise that the humble potato is one of the best pairings to eat with stuffed peppers. I suggest adding a bit of sugar before tossing the mixture of potatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper. This will give the potatoes an added sweet crunch that compliments the spicy taste and saltiness of the stuffed peppers.
Sweet potato is the more nutritious cousin of the potato and when it’s deep fried, it makes the perfect snack accompaniment for the salty, spicy taste of bell peppers. The added crisp of the coating of the fries will add a fantastic textural compliment to the juiciness of the stuffed peppers.
If you’re making an all meat and cheese stuffed bell pepper, then pairing it with an aromatic carb, like rice pilaf, will be a perfect match. Use a nuttier grain like brown rice or red rice to add some earthiness to your pairing. I once tried making rice pilaf with almonds and sweetcorn, and I can tell you that it goes very well with stuffed peppers. This is a healthy meal that will quickly fill you up.
Western coleslaw is a great pairing with stuffed peppers. However, giving it an Asian zing will make sure your dish is tastier and spicier with a bit more edge. For speedy convenience, get a coleslaw mix and toss it in with some shredded cabbage. Then for the Asian zing, give it a dose of sesame oil, as well as Kikkoman soy sauce, white vinegar for acidity, and olive oil. Top it all with some nuts (almonds or cashews are great choices) for an East meets West fiesta.
Roasted mushroom is another lovely accompaniment for stuffed peppers. Add some cauliflower into the mix to make it a real hearty, healthy meal. Just toss the brown mushrooms and cauliflower in with the olive oil and add chopped garlic to the mix. Give it about 25 minutes in the oven, then sprinkle seasoning on it. This is the simple recipe I like best, although some of my friends prefer to add a dash of balsamic vinegar and some cherry tomatoes. But as I always say, go with what you like best!
If you want something simpler to highlight the fantastic flavors of your stuffed bell peppers, then select some fruit and vegetables to add to the dish. Try this combination: peaches, watermelon, red onions, and cherry tomatoes. Don’t forget to choose fresh produce! Then, drizzle it with refreshing mango vinaigrette and put some crumbled feta cheese on top. Goat’s cheese is a worthy substitute for this dish. Finally, sprinkle on a little basil and you are good to go.
You can also use mango and kiwis as fruit alternatives (or add them to the dish as well if you like). Try various combinations and see which ones excite your palate the most. You can also pair the stuffed peppers with a refreshing fruit smoothie. Just think of that while relaxing on your front porch!
I became an immediate fan of this pairing after trying it recently. Garlic bread is generally known as a great sidekick for pasta, but you might think differently after tasting it with stuffed peppers. Just make a butter, parsley, and chopped garlic mixture and slather it over slices of French bread (my own personal favorite.) Heat it inside the oven until the butter is fully melted. The crunch and garlicky taste of the garlic bread adds an amazing punch to the juiciness of the stuffed pepper. It’s just a great and formidable pairing all around.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved writing this list. It is fun and challenging to take some common beliefs about cooking and then play around with them. Cooking is not something that should be set in stone, or in this case cookbooks. You should an ongoing quest to be creative with your cooking and constantly try to perfect it.
So even an overused ingredient like the bell pepper, which may seem really boring, can be made exciting and fun with a bit of imagination. It just needs some fantastic food partners to give it that extra pizzazz.
I’ve listed a few of my favorite pairings above, but the there are many more you can try. All that’s required is a little creativity and some experimentation to push this humble ingredient to its limits. But then again, isn’t that what cooking is really all about?
If you have any other stuffed pepper pairings you would like to share, please write to us in the space provided below. We just love to discuss food and would love to hear from you. If you enjoyed our topic today, please share this article with your friends and family. Finally, don’t forget to keep on cooking and challenging yourself in the kitchen! Until the next time!