If you’re a fan of stuffed peppers, Dorie Greenspan’s Rice Packed Peppers with garlic, spinach and cheese will hit the spot!
A vegetarian side dish or entree, once I coerced the picky hubby to take a bite, he changed his tune on stuffed peppers!
Dorie Greenspan’s Rice Packed Peppers
Our recipe this week for French Fridays with Dorie was a lovely side dish called Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach. Doesn’t that sound delectable? Dorie often suggests a Bonne Idée, a twist to the main recipe. And it’s frequently brilliant! I jumped at the chance to stuff some lovely bell peppers with this fabulous “almost” risotto. I picked out some jewel toned bell peppers knew they’d look as beautiful as they were destined to taste. Dorie’s rice packed peppers were phenomenal!
How to Make the Pepper Filling
I made Dorie Greenspan’s stuffed peppers recipe for the first time while my dad was visiting back in 2010. I think the last time I ate stuffed peppers was my mom’s version with rice and ground beef, which he always adored. So I knew he would appreciate these. In fact, he asked more than once if they were ready to eat, especially after I gave him a sample of the filling composed of Arborio rice, spinach, onion, garlic, Gruyère and cream.
The rice was made by bringing it and chicken broth to a boil, reducing the heat and allowing it to cook and simmer with the lid on. The addition of cream gave the illusion of risotto without all the babysitting involved with the traditional technique. Then mixed with onions, garlic, spinach and cheese, the delicious filling was ready to be packed into vibrant fresh bell peppers and popped into the oven.
These pepper were marvelous, even the picky spouse agreed, but he needed to be coerced to take an initial bite. You know I don’t like stuffed peppers, he griped. But you love sausage and peppers, fajitas and other dishes with cooked peppers was my logical response. Truthfully, I think he was most worried that these were the entree, not a side dish. Thank goodness I was convincing as he ate every single bite!
Tips for Making the Stuffed Peppers
These Rice Packed Peppers were made with rice, duh! But other grains can be used. Other cheeses can be used. Herbs can be added to the mix. The options are endless. Here are a few tips for making terrific stuffed peppers.
- Select unblemished fresh bell peppers from the produce department of your favorite market. I like using a variety of colors for a beautiful presentation, red, yellow and orange. Back in the day, my mom would use green bell peppers, which aren’t as sweet but are another option.
- I like to slice a bit off the bottom of my peppers so they stand up straight in the casserole dish. Place them in the dish first, and observe which way the peppers tilt, and trim just enough without cutting an opening into the pepper.
- I cut off the tops of my peppers and created a lid which can be baked on top of the filling. I like the way these look! You can also cut the peppers in half from top to bottom and place the pepper halves on their side. This will create double the servings for lighter appetites.
- Place the peppers in a casserole dish where they fit tightly. If your peppers are too wobbly in an ordinary baking dish, try a muffin tin or Bundt pan.
- A little water in the dish and a cover of foil allows the peppers to cook in a steamy environment.
- An additional 15 minutes cooking time uncovered lets any residual moisture evaporate. If desired, this would be the perfect time to add an extra sprinkle of cheese to the top of the peppers.
- As mentioned above, stuffed peppers are very easy to customize. Start with quinoa instead of rice. Add some diced bell pepper to the rice mixture. Add some minced fresh herbs or pesto! Shredded chicken or ground beef would please the meat lovers.
- Fill your peppers with leftovers from your fridge. Save extra taco filling, rice, veggies and make up your own version!
This recipe can be found in Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.
If you love peppers, here are some more delicious pepper centered recipes to try. These Taco Stuffed Peppers from Wine and Glue are easy enough for a busy weeknight. Kalyn’s Kitchen shared Ten Low-Carb Stuffed Peppers and how about this Feta Stuffed Red Bell Peppers appetizer from Give Recipe?
This 2011 “Rice Packed Peppers” post was updated with new photos and text.
- 3 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces spinach, long stems trimmed and chopped
- 1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 medium bell peppers
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the rice and cover. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the broth is almost all absorbed, and the rice is almost cooked. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to finish cooking on the burner.
Preheat the oven to 400º.
Heat the butter in a large saute pan. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes, and then add the the garlic. Continue to cook until the onion is tender, and then stir in the spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts.
Add the rice to the spinach mixture, then the cheese and cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir until everything is well combined. If the rice looks too dry, add a bit more cream.
Prepare the peppers by cutting off the tops and removing the seeds and ribs. Place in a greased casserole dish that will fit them snugly. Divide the rice between the peppers, replace the tops, then pour 1/2 cup of water into the dish.
Cover loosely with foil and bake fro 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
Use your favorite Swiss cheese. I used a mixture of Gruyere and Emmenthal
Serving Size:1 pepper
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 322Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 1089mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 13g