How do you get out of your stuffed pepper rut? We’ve got the answer. Hint: It may involve stuffing that pepper with queso or maybe even leftover pizza.
The standard way to make stuffed peppers is to prepare and cook a filling before stuffing it into the peppers. This is traditionally a combination of cooked meat, cooked rice, tomato sauce, spices and a sprinkle of shredded cheese. We have a recipe for Classic Stuffed Peppers that are just like that over here. They are seriously good but who says you have to stick with tradition? There are tons of other pre-cooked fillings to try.
For example, this Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Pepper uses a quickly-cooked mac & cheese filling made with a two-cheese sauce. A spattering of panko (Japanese bread crumbs) gets brown and toasty on top while the peppers cook.
Here are a few more that look pretty sweet:
- Southwestern Stuffed Peppers
- Turkey & Arugula Stuffed Peppers
- Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- Couscous & Feta Stuffed Peppers
- Tuna & Avocado Stuffed Peppers
If you’re short on time, leftovers are a great place to look for pre-cooked filling inspiration. All you need to do is stuff your leftovers into some peppers and heat them through. Voilà! A whole new dinner!
Here are some leftovers for serious stuffed pepper perfection:
- Leftover Chili
- Leftover Turkey and Stuffing
- Leftover Rice and Black Beans
- Leftover Taco Toppings (ground beef, beans, cheese and tomatoes. Top it with warm queso before serving like in the picture above.)
- Leftover Roasted Chicken, Broccoli and Quinoa (I’d add some cheese in there!)
- Leftover Flank Steak with Bell Peppers and Provolone Cheese (Philly cheesesteaks anyone?)
- Leftover Risotto
- Leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Leftover Pizza
Leftover pizza? Say what? I’m not even kidding. Chop it up, mix it with tomato sauce and stuff it in. It’s crazy good.
Really, any dinner leftovers will work. In fact, I’ve got some leftover meatloaf, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy in the fridge. And a bell pepper or two. So what if it’s 9:37 am? Game on. Now.
This post originally appeared in October, 2015 and was revised and republished in August, 2018.