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Cheesy Sausage and Rice Stuffed Peppers

Cheesy Sausage and Rice Stuffed Peppers

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Bell peppers stuffed with a cheesy mixture of sweet Italian sausage, brown rice and Parmesan cheese make a hearty fall meal.

(Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)

Yield: 6 servings

1 ½ cups tomato sauce, divided

6 large green bell peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

2 large cloves garlic, minced

½ yellow onion, chopped

1 cup cooked white or brown rice

1 cup fresh diced tomatoes, or 14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon dried thyme

Pinch of crushed pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Chopped parsley, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Pour 1 cup of tomato sauce into a casserole dish.

3. Slice off tops of bell peppers, then remove the membranes and seeds and discard. Arrange empty peppers standing up in prepared casserole dish. Alternatively, slice peppers lengthwise, remove membranes and seeds and place on their sides in a casserole dish.

4. Add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes, breaking the meat up into small pieces. Add garlic and onion, and cook until softened, another 2 minutes. Stir in cooked rice and tomatoes, and stir to combine. Add oregano, thyme and pepper flakes, along with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in Parmesan.

5. Spoon sausage mixture into bell peppers and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Drizzle remaining ½ cup tomato sauce on top.

6. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake about 20 minutes longer or until peppers are fork tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Recipe by Gretchen McKay

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