This Vegetarian Stuffed Green Pepper Recipe is made with a rice filling and cooked in a tomato garlic sauce. They are first stove-top cooked and then oven baked. A flavor-packed family dinner for busy weeknights. They are easy to make and freezer friendly too.

This Turkish biber dolma is one of our favorite stuffed veggies. Do you love stuffing vegetables? You might want to see our other Turkish foods like stuffed onions recipe, stuffed grape leaves and ground beef stuffed zucchini too!

Rice stuffed green peppers topped with tomatoes, lemon slices and chopped parsley in a baking pan.

Although we often make cheese stuffed mini peppers as an appetizer, our choice is to make these easy stuffed bell peppers when it comes to a comforting dinner.

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Why We Love This Recipe

  • It is easy to serve them in portions.
  • This is a freezer-friendly recipe. Let them cool completely after cooked in the pot over stove-top or baked in the oven and freeze in an air tight container. Thaw and reheat with a splash of water before eating.
  • It is easy to customize. You can make these stuffed green peppers either vegetarian or with lean ground beef. Also, you can make the filling with brown rice, bulgur, wheat berries or buckwheat instead of rice.

Ingredients

Turkish peppers, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, tomato paste, rice, spices, lemon, onion and olive oil on a light background.

Peppers: We use Turkish green peppers called dolmalık biber, peppers for stuffing. But you can use regular bell peppers too. If they are too large, just cut them lengthwise in half before stuffing.

Filling: It contains white rice, onion, garlic, tomato, tomato paste, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil spices like black pepper, dried mint, paprika or chili powder (or red pepper flakes) and salt. You can use whatever rice you like, but we think long-grain rice works fine.

Garnish: Although it is not necessary, Turkish stuffed peppers are traditionally topped with tomatoes or the pepper tops we cut when preparing the peppers. They act as a lid for stuffed peppers. Also, we love to add some lemon slices in the pot for garnish and richness in the final taste of the dish.

Water, tomato paste, dried mint, garlic and olive oil photographed on a light background.

Tomato Sauce: It is a simple sauce with olive oil, tomato paste, dried mint, garlic and water. This sauce takes these stuffed green peppers to a whole new level.

Tomato paste sauce in a sauce pan and a wooden spoon in it.

Make The Sauce and Cook The Peppers: Combine olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, dried mint and 1 cup water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Pour it in the pot. 

Cook the stuffed peppers covered over medium heat for 15 minutes. 

Reduce the heat and pour the remaining 1 cup hot water into the post. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Baked rice stuffed green peppers in a white oval baking pan.

Bake: Preheat the oven at 425F/220C. If your pot is oven-proof, place it in the oven. If not, transfer the stuffed peppers and lemon slices into a baking dish. Pour all the juicy sauce in the pot into this pan. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they get golden brown.

Serve: You can serve these Mediterranean style vegetarian stuffed green peppers with rice warm or at room temperature with some yogurt on the side.

Tips

  • We either use cherry tomatoes to top the filling in the peppers or put the pepper tops we cut as a lid (please see it in the picture above). You can do whatever you prefer.
  • If the peppers you are using are larger than the ones we use, you can cut them lengthwise into two and then stuff them. You can see a sample in the picture below.
  • You really don’t need to top the stuffed peppers, we do it because we love how they look that way.
  • If you have leftover filling, you can cook it in another pan over low heat, let it cool and keep in the refrigerator. Reheat and serve it as a side dish on another day. Alternatively, you can stuff a few tomatoes with that remaining filling. To do this, cut the top of tomatoes, remove the seeds and stuff. Place them in the same pan.
  • If you want to make these with ground beef, add it (about 250g or ½ pound) into the filling with rice. 
Making Turkish Stuffed Pepper Recipe on the stove

How To Serve

I love to sprinkle sumac on top of the filling right before serving, but it’s totally optional. I love the extra tangy flavor of this Middle Eastern spice. Also, it is almost a must to serve these with lemon and plain yogurt on the side. If we make the meatless version, we mostly serve it at room temperature and with extra olive oil. We sometimes serve it with Turkish Yogurt Cucumber Dip Cacik. A fresh tomato and cucumber salad like Turkish Shepherd Salad goes well too if it’s summer time.

Stuffed green peppers served on a bluish plate with its tomato sauce and some yogurt on the side. The baking pan with the remaining dish accompanies.

How to Reheat

When heating the leftover stuffed green peppers with rice, take one tablespoon of the liquid in the pan and drizzle over the filling inside the peppers so that it doesn’t get dry and heats equally. Heat covered over medium low heat on the stove. If there is no water left in the pan, add some extra water and then heat.

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📖 Recipe

Stuffed Green Peppers With Rice

Baked rice stuffed green peppers in a white oval baking pan.

Bell peppers stuffed with rice and with or without ground beef makes the easiest weeknight dinner when prepared and frozen beforehand.

  • Author: Zerrin
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Turkish
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Filling:

      • 12 tablespoons rice (1 tbsp for each pepper)

      • 1 large onion, chopped finely

      • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely

      • 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped finely

      • 1 and ½ tablespoons tomato paste

      • ¼ cup parsley, chopped 

      • 1 tablespoon dried mint

      • 1 teaspoon black pepper

      • ½ teaspoon paprika

      • 1 and ½ teaspoon salt

      • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

      • ¼ cup olive oil

Garnish:

      • 4-5 cherry tomatoes (to top the filling in peppers)*

      • 5-6 thin slices lemon, for garnish

Sauce:

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil

    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

    • 2 cloves garlic, mashed

    • 2 teaspoons dried mint

    • 2 cups hot water, divided

Instructions

Preparing Peppers:

  • Cut the tops of peppers in the form of a lid (please see the picture above) and remove the seeds. Try not to damage the peppers.*

Make The Filling:

  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the filling. 

Assemble:

  • Stuff each pepper with 1-2 tablespoons of the filling depending on the size of the peppers. Leave a little space for rice to rise when cooked.
  • Place each stuffed pepper in a pot. If the pot is oven-proof, things will be easier.
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in two and place one half over the filling in the peppers. These tomatoes act like a lid for the peppers. Alternatively, you can use the tops you cut from the peppers as a lid too.
  • Place lemon slices on the peppers.

Make The Sauce and Cook The Peppers:

  • Combine olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, dried mint and 1 cup water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Pour it in the pot. 
  • Cook the stuffed peppers covered over medium heat for 15 minutes. 
  • Reduce the heat and pour the remaining 1 cup hot water into the post. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Bake: 

  • Preheat the oven at 425F/220C.
  • If your pot is oven-proof, place it in the oven. If not, transfer the stuffed peppers and lemon slices into a baking pan. Pour all the juicy sauce in the pot into this pan. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they get golden brown.

Serve:

  • You can serve it warm or at room temperature with some yogurt on the side.

 

Notes

  1. We either use cherry tomatoes to top the filling in the peppers or put the pepper tops we cut as a lid (please see it in the picture above). You can do whatever you prefer.
  2. If the peppers you are using are larger than the ones we use, you can cut them lengthwise into two and then stuff them. 
  3. You really don’t need to top the stuffed peppers, we do it because we love how they look that way.
  4. If you have leftover filling, you can cook it in another pan over low heat, let it cool and keep in the refrigerator. Reheat and serve it as a side dish on another day. Alternatively, you can stuff a few tomatoes with that remaining filling. To do this, cut the top of tomatoes, remove the seeds and stuff. Place them in the same pan.
  5. If you want to make these with ground beef, add it (about 250g or ½ pound) into the filling with rice.

Keywords: stuffed green peppers, Turkish stuffed peppers, Mediterranean stuffed peppers

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