Italian Stuffed Peppers

(aka Pizza Stuffed Peppers)

~ These Italian Stuffed Peppers feature your favorite pizza-inspired flavors! They’re packed with Italian sausage and pepperoni, along with the traditional ground beef. Plus, they’ve got zesty sauce and a double-hit of melty mozzarella. Bonus for busy families: they’re ready in under 30, and you can make them ahead for busy nights! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Freezable    Make Ahead    Gluten Free  

No doubt, Americans love stuffed peppers. A retro comfort food that never fails to taste like home.

But maybe you’d like to shake up that tired ol’ stuffed pepper routine? This recipe is just the thing!

Partial view of six Italian Stuffed Peppers, still in baking dish and ready to serve.

It takes Italian Stuffed Peppers to whole new, glorious levels! Here’s what I mean …

Why You’ll Love These Italian Stuffed Peppers

• We pump up the Italian flavors by swapping out some of the “typical” plain ground beef for sweet Italian turkey sausage. Mmmmmm … better already!

• Then we add chopped turkey pepperoni for extra Italian flair.

• And of course, mix in some crisp green peppers and sweet onions.

• We bring it all home with even more flavor by using pizza sauce to wrap it all together.

Ingredients like pepperonis in a white bowl, a stack of sliced mozzarella, a bowl of Italian sauce, peppers and meat.

• Oh, and we couldn’t forget the mozzarella. Warm, melty mozzarella. *swoon*

Dare I say it? Yes, I will! This is pretty much the ultimate Italian Stuffed Pepper, with layer upon delicious layer of flavors.

As an added bonus for all you pizza fans out there (ummmmm … isn’t that basically everyone ever?!?) – you might’ve noticed that I basically just listed the topping ingredients for a yummy deluxe pizza … all stuffed inside a pepper!

Yep!

What you’re essentially looking at is actually a Pizza Stuffed Pepper! YESSSSSS!

Just sign on the dotted line, friends, and all this can be yours! Here’s all you have to do …

How to Make Italian Stuffed Peppers

Step #1: The Filling

Start by chopping your veggies and pepperoni.

Pro Tip: The easiest way to chop your pepperoni into small, even pieces is to stack several slices on top of each other and then cut the stack into 9 pieces, like I did in the photo below:

Cutting board surrounded by ingredients and covered in diced peppers, onions and pepperoni.

Then, fire up a nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook your ground beef, sausage, onions and peppers.

Oh yes … your house will probably be smelling pretty darn good right about now! (But wait … it just gets better and better! Trust me: your family’s gonna walk in the door and wonder what delicious alchemy you’ve been conjuring!)

Next, you stir in the pizza sauce and pepperoni, just to warm it all through.

And then a little sprinkling of shredded mozzarella. (Yep yep … there’s mozzarella in the filling … and melted on top of the peppers! You’re welcome! 😉 )

Step #2: The Peppers

While the filling is cooking, go ahead and work on the peppers. Cut 3 bell peppers in half (lengthwise) and remove the seeds and inner membranes.

You can leave the stem on if you like (as I did in my photos), since they’re kinda pretty. Or you can remove them – your choice.

Brush the peppers on both sides with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and season the insides with salt and pepper.

Hand brushing oil onto un-stuffed peppers in baking dish.

Then you just roast them briefly in the oven so they’re most of the way cooked.

Step #3 Bring It All Together!

Once you’ve got that glorious filling all ready to go, you spoon it into your waiting peppers. (Careful if your filling is really hot!)

Lay a thin slice of fresh mozzarella on top of each stuffed pepper … and broil!

Booyah – dinner is served! (And wait … what do I hear??? I think that’s your family cheering and chanting your name!)

Two hands using striped towels to hold dish of Italian Stuffed Peppers hot from the oven.

Make-Ahead Tips

To save even more time at the busy dinner hour, you can make the filling earlier in the day or a day ahead, and then gently rewarm it before stuffing it into your peppers.

In addition, the finished stuffed peppers reheat nicely, so you can rewarm individual peppers for quick meals or leftover lunches later in the week.

You can also freeze any leftover peppers. Just wrap them individually and reheat each one at 50% power for around 6 minutes. Hurray – an easy lunch whenever you want (and it doesn’t even come in a Lean Cuisine box)!

What to Do with the Extra Meats

I normally grab a pound of ground beef and a 20-ounce package of Italian sausage links to make this stuffed peppers recipe.

And then … I’ve got extra meat I need to use up.

That is 100% precisely why I created my Italian Grilled Hamburgers recipe! Problem solved!

Oh – and don’t worry a bit if it isn’t grill season. We’ve got alternate, indoor instructions for making those burgers, too.

Just buy a couple extra green peppers and an onion, plus a tomato and some buns … and you just solved two dinner dilemmas in one quick shopping trip. (And yes, your family will be positively delighted, two nights in a row. They’ll probably even crown you their Weeknight Dinner Hero. *coveted win*)

One stuffed pepper on a white plate with Italian salad.

FAQs At-a-Glance

Can I Use Green Peppers Instead of Red?

My family definitely prefers using red peppers as the “pepper boats” for this Italian Stuffed Peppers recipe, although there are chopped green peppers in the filling. But feel free to use green peppers (or any other bell peppers) for the pepper boats, if that’s what you happen to have on hand or that’s what your family prefers.

Can I Adjust How Firm the Peppers Are?

Sure! We tend to like our peppers firmer, but you can easily get softer peppers by roasting the peppers for a little longer before you stuff them.

Can I Add Other “Deluxe Pizza” Toppings to These “Pizza Peppers”?

I confess that I haven’t tried all the different options, but I can imagine that these pizza-inspired stuffed peppers would also be great if you add pizza toppings like mushrooms or canned black olives, too!

What Kind of Pizza Sauce Do You Use?

I typically reach for either Mid’s or DelGrosso, but you can use your family’s favorite brand (or – yum! – even homemade).

Closeup of one stuffed Italian pepper still in baking dish.

Pizza night meets the comforting casserole-vibe of stuffed peppers … all in one super-easy recipe.

No wonder your family’s cheering! 😉

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Closeup of one still in the pan.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Yield: 6 stuffed pepper halves
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes

These easy Italian Stuffed Peppers feature your favorite pizza-inspired flavors!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Freezable  •  Make Ahead    Gluten Free  

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces extra-lean ground beef
  • 8 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage (bulk, or links cut open)
  • 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1 cup of your favorite pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped turkey pepperoni (see note)
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim (reduced-fat) mozzarella cheese
  • 3 bell peppers (we prefer red peppers), halved vertically and cored
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook beef, sausage, and chopped onions and green peppers in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat until cooked through (about 7-8 minutes), stirring to crumble the meats. Drain.
  2. Stir in pizza sauce and pepperoni and continue cooking until warmed through, about 3 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in shredded mozzarella and remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475°F.
  4. Brush halved peppers on both sides with oil and place in an ungreased, broiler-safe baking dish. Season the insides of the peppers evenly with salt and black pepper.
  5. Roast peppers for 8-10 minutes, until mostly cooked through. (You can adjust this time slightly depending on how cooked you like your peppers. We prefer ours still a little firm.)
  6. Remove peppers from oven and preheat broiler.
  7. Carefully fill each pepper half evenly with about 2/3 cup of warm filling and lay a thin slice of fresh mozzarella on top of each.
  8. Broil for approximately 5 minutes (depending on how close your peppers are to the flame), keeping a close watch to be sure the cheese is lightly browned and bubbled but not burned.
  9. Serve and enjoy (or see notes below for making these ahead).

Notes

Chopping pepperoni: As shown in the photo in the post, I recommend stacking several pieces of pepperoni on top of each other and then making 2 vertical cuts and 2 horizontal ones, to yield 9 little sections from each piece of pepperoni.

Make-ahead tips: You can make the filling earlier in the morning or the day before. Re-warm before continuing with the recipe.

Alternately, you can make this recipe entirely ahead for meal prep, since the peppers reheat well. We like to re-warm individual peppers at 50% power in the microwave for quick lunches and meal prep dinners later in the week.

Freezing: The finished stuffed peppers can also be frozen, although they will tend to give off liquid when re-heated, and the peppers will end up softer. I generally wrap each stuffed pepper individually and pop them into zippered freezer bags, then reheat each one as needed for quick lunches. To reheat directly from frozen, unwrap and cook for about 6 minutes in the microwave at 50% power (add about 3-4 minutes per pepper for each additional pepper).

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 servings Serving Size: 1 pepper half
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 112mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 6g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

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