Making these Stuffed Bell Peppers with a filling of brown rice, creamy tomato sauce, fennel, and spices is easy enough for a weeknight meal or to make ahead for a delicious lunch. Best of all, they are Low FODMAP, Low Lactose, and naturally Gluten Free!
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Easy Stuffed Bell Peppers
Stuffed bell peppers are such a perfect make-ahead weeknight meal. Each hollowed out veggie acts as it’s own serving, making it simple to portion out as needed. The use of coconut milk and a hard cheese like parmesan make the recipe acceptable in a Low FODMAP and Low Lactose diet without any lose of delicious flavor. The filling is even relatively healthy, made of brown rice and lean ground pork and chicken.
Stuffed Bell Peppers are a great family meal that comes together in no time and is easily reheated as needed (Talk about a great lunch for work!). After years of testing out various recipes, these Stuffed Bell Peppers are my favorite, and I hope it becomes a family favorite for you too.
Multi-Colored Bell Peppers
Did you know bell peppers are pretty good for you? They are full of antioxidants and vitamin C. Green peppers have the least amount of vitamin C (half that of red peppers), but have a crisper, more bitter taste. For the most part, yellow, orange, and red peppers are just ripened green peppers, becoming sweeter as they deepen in color from yellow to red. And while bell peppers aren’t spicy, they do contain capsaicin, which is known for its various health benefits.
While green bell peppers can have their place (and are the cheapest since they spend the shortest time on the vine), I almost always recommend red bell peppers due to the taste and increased health benefits. Depending on market prices, I often mix and match yellow, orange, and red peppers for some colorful variety.
Low FODMAP Creamy Tomato Sauce
Not being able to have garlic and onion on a regular basis, I’m used to making my own simple tomato sauce. The recipe below mimics my typical Creamy Tomato Sauce, except I used canned coconut milk rather than heavy cream to keep it compliant to a low FODMAP and low lactose diet. The coconut milk adds it’s own particularly special sweetness, but if dairy products aren’t a problem for you or your family, feel free to substitute heavy cream for delicious results.
Easy Stuffed Bell Peppers with Brown Rice & Creamy Tomato Sauce
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It is
- 6 bell peppers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup fennel, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, diced
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoons pepper
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare the bell peppers by neatly slicing off the tops and removing the ribs and seeds. Keep the tops, but discard the ribs and seeds. Arrange the hollowed-out peppers in a baking dish. The sides of the baking dish do not need to tower over the peppers, but should come up most of the way to avoid any spillage.
If you have not made it ahead of time, start the Creamy Tomato Sauce (recipe below).
Start the Filling: Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Saute the diced fennel for about a minute. Add the rosemary, and saute for another minute. Add the ground pork and chicken to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Saute the meat until browned and no longer pink, about 10-12 minutes.
Stir the pre-cooked brown rice, one cup of the grated parmesan, and two cups of Creamy Tomato Sauce into the meat mixture. Remove the skillet from heat, and carefully stuff each hollowed out bell pepper until full. Top them with the remaining sauce, pouring any extra sauce and filling into the pan around the peppers. Set the tops back onto the peppers, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cover the peppers with foil, and bake another 30 minutes.
Remove the peppers from the oven and top each serving with the remaining parmesan cheese and a few bits of basil.
To Make the Creamy Tomato Sauce:
Stir together the cans of tomato sauce and roasted diced tomatoes in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk (or heavy cream) until combined. Add most of the basil, and season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Let the sauce reduce over low heat while you work on the other components (15-20 minutes). The sauce can be made 1-2 days ahead and stored in the fridge until use.
Make-Ahead Dinner: Once made, stuffed peppers can be frozen in pairs or individually in freezer-safe containers. Make sure to top each with some extra sauce. When ready to eat, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then either transfer either to a baking dish to reheat in the oven or to a microwave-safe plate for reheating in the microwave, depending on your preference.