Dirty Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers are filled with a hearty and flavorful mix of ground beef, rice and vegetables. It’s a perfect easy meal.
The Cajun dirty rice recipe I shared serves 12 people. Great if you’re feeding a crowd, but what if you’re just feeding a family of four like I am? That’s a lot of leftover rice!
Thankfully, dirty rice freezes well. I packed away some for later, but saved a portion for Dirty Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers. I love meals that are versatile enough to pull double duty in two meals. It really allows me to stretch my grocery budget and that’s one less meal I have to plan for during the week.
Choosing the Perfect Bell Pepper
Bell peppers come in a variety of colors — green, orange, yellow, red. I’ve even seen purple. While I love using chopped green bell peppers for cooking, such as in gumbo or red beans and rice, I don’t love them for something like this. They lack the sweetness that a red, yellow or orange pepper adds.
When selecting a pepper at the grocery store, look for firm walls and shiny skin. Peppers should not have any blemishes such as scratches or holes. Stay way from peppers with wrinkled skin — this is a red flag that the pepper is past its prime.
I also turn the pepper over and look at the bumps on the bottom. Female peppers have four bumps on the bottom and tend to be sweeter than male peppers, which have three bumps. I try to look for peppers with bumps that are uniform in size and shape. You don’t want your pepper rocking back and forth like a wobbly chair while your trying to fill it.
Prepping your Peppers
Once you’re home, you want to rinse the outside of the pepper with cool water. You can cut the tops off the pepper and stand them up straight, or you can lay the peppers on their side and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds and as much of the membrane as you can.
I like my cooked stuffed bell peppers to be on the soft side when they’re done. Unfortunately, I can’t achieve that tenderness just while they bake in the oven. It’s important to precook them for a few minutes first. Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. I add salt to the water so the peppers will absorb a little of the flavor while they parboil. One the water boils, carefully add the bell peppers and let them cook for five minutes. Immediately remove them from the hot water and drain them well.
How to Make Dirty Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour one cup of water into the bottom of a 9 x 12 x 13-inch baking dish.
Brush the inside of the peppers with a little bit of olive oil. Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper. I find it’s easier to spoon the leftover dirty rice into the pepper cavity once it has been warmed up just a little. Fill the pepper cavity all the way to the top. Arrange the peppers so they are standing upright in the baking dish.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake them for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes so the top has time to form a crust.
The peppers will be pretty hot right out of the oven, so you may want to let them cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Garnish the tops with sliced green onions.
Storing Leftover Stuffed Bell Peppers
Leftover cooked stuffed bell peppers should be placed in the refrigerator after two hours. Letting them sit out any longer will encourage the growth of bacteria. If stored in an airtight container, the peppers will keep for five days.
Cooked stuffed bell peppers can also be frozen. Freeze an entire pan or as individual peppers. For an entire pan, I recommend preparing the peppers in a disposable pan so you’re not tying up one of your good casserole dishes. Once cooled, cover the entire pan with aluminum foil. Here’s a tip — write the oven temperature and cooking instructions on top of the foil so you don’t have to hunt down the recipe when you want to reheat.
To freeze individual peppers, I recommend setting them out upright on a cookie sheet with some space between them. Place the entire sheet in the freezer and allow the peppers to harden completely. Then wrap each pepper in a layer of plastic wrap and store them in a zippered plastic freezer bag.
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Dirty Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 6 medium bell peppers
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 cups of dirty rice (recipe in the notes)
- ¼ cup diced green onions
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully add the bell peppers and let them cook for five minutes. Immediately remove them from the hot water and drain them well.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour one cup of water into the bottom of a 9 x 12 x 13-inch baking dish.
- Arrange the peppers so they are standing upright in the baking dish. Brush the inside of the peppers with olive oil. Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper.
- Fill the pepper cavities all the way to the top with the dirty rice.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake peppers for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the top is golden.
- Let the peppers cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Garnish the tops with sliced green onions.