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Tell Your Peppers to “Stuff It!”

easy paleo recipe for stuffed peppers

[Updated May 9, 2015] This is an updated version of the stuffed peppers paleo recipe I first posted over 2 years ago, complete with a new photo that looks a whole lot tastier.

I’ve made a few tweaks to the original recipe I think make it even better. Also in this new version, you can either add cauliflower rice or parboiled white rice to the stuffing mixture. Please note that if you’re following the Whole30 program, only the cauliflower rice is acceptable. Otherwise, you might enjoy the more traditional parboiled rice with this recipe — and there’s more information about white rice and the paleo diet at the bottom of the post. 

whole30 compliant recipe markStuffed peppers – most of us have made them, eaten them, and maybe haven’t liked them so much.

I’ve never been that crazy about them myself…until I recently changed up my dear old mom’s recipe from 30 years ago and turned it into an easy and delicious paleo meal.

First off, she used plain old hamburger meat. Personally, I prefer ground turkey (or good grass-fed ground beef) mixed with a little pork sausage for extra flavor and a spicier kick. 

And another thing, mom always served us green stuffed peppers – again not my favorite for this recipe. Red, orange and yellow bell peppers are way better for this dish I think because they’re a little sweeter than the green ones. And besides, the vibrant colors make this dish all that more appetizing to me. And it gets even more colorful when you chop up the tops of the peppers and add them to the stuffing mix…beautiful stuff (haha, get it?)

And while your munching on this delicious and nutritious meal, keep in mind you’re getting a healthy dose of vitamins C & A, along with lots of antioxidants in every colorful bite.

Trust me on this one…this is an easy paleo recipe that rocks!

As you probably know, rice is one of those foods you should typically avoid on the paleo diet because it’s a grain. I very rarely have it myself, but made an exception for it in this recipe because I think stuffed peppers need a little rice (there’s a cup total in this recipe) to really taste awesome. Besides, I tolerate rice very well. You can just as easily make a cauliflower rice instead (here’s my recipe:cauli rice) that’s 100% paleo or just leave it out altogether. And one more thing…you might be surprised to learn that according to a number of paleo authorities who’ve done the research, parboiled white rice (cooked and cooled) can be beneficial to your gut bacteria because it includes resistant starch. I won’t go into a detailed explanation here, but if you want to find out more there’s a really good article about resistant starches posted on Chris Kresser’s site: “How Resistant Starch Will Help to Make You Healthier and Thinner.”  Check it out – you might find the info helpful in planning your own paleo diet.


Stuffed Bell Peppers

Yield: Serves 6-8

Stuffed Bell Peppers


  • 6-8 bell peppers, tops and seeds removed – reserve tops
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 lb pork sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jar fire-roasted tomatoes (14 oz), or any other kind you like, liquid drained
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (14 oz)
  • 1 cup of pre-made parboiled white rice (or paleo cauliflower rice for Whole30 compliance)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 3 tbs Italian seasoning (OR 1 tbs each of dried oregano, basil & parsley)
  • Pinch of chili flakes (add more if you like it spicier)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F
  2. Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds. Keep tops and chop them (minus the stem) and set the pieces aside
  3. Chop onion
  4. Press or mince garlic cloves
  5. In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion and chopped pepper tops in a little olive oil about 5 minutes until onions are tender, then add the garlic
  6. In the same saucepan, add ground beef (or turkey) and pork sausage to the mix and cook everything together until the meat is browned
  7. Next add the fire roasted tomatoes and 14 oz can of tomato sauce to the same saucepan, and stir
  8. Add dry seasonings and 1 cup of either parboiled rice or cauliflower rice
  9. Parboil (or microwave) the pepper shells in a pan/bowl with a little water for 3-4 mins – just until slightly softened
  10. Then in a Pyrex or similar baking dish, spread a little of the sauce across the bottom and set the pepper shells inside
  11. Taste your stuffing mixture in the saucepan one last time and add any additional salt, pepper and/or chili pepper flakes if needed
  12. Spoon stuffing mixture into peppers
  13. Bake about 30-40 minutes at 350º F uncovered to heat through (oven times and temperatures may vary)
  14. Remove from dish, serve hot, and enjoy!


Updated May 9, 2015


24 replies
  1. Betty
    Betty says:

    Have you tried making these with mini peppers, as appetizers? If so, how long do you think I should bake them for? Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes!

    • Trina
      Trina says:

      Betty, I just made little peppers stuffed with taco meat and an avocado sauce last weekend! I will post to the site soon. Great minds think a like! 🙂 And to answer your question, if baking a mini pepper, they only take about 12-15 minutes.

  2. Tish
    Tish says:

    Meal looks delicious… I’m trying it tomorrow! I am wondering though, what “sauce” is being spread across the bottom of the baking dish? Thanks! 🙂

  3. Sherry
    Sherry says:

    Recipe sounds wonderful, looking forward to trying it! Just wanted to point out though that 30 years ago your mothers “plain old hamburger” was most likely grass fed AND local. I think most of us tend to forget we grew up eating good food, at least if you’re over 40. Now we have bone broth as a trend, we grew up eating that too:-)

  4. Kathy Breece
    Kathy Breece says:

    Mmm, I will have to try this. I grew up eating this dish, my mom made a similar version which for some reason I could never quite duplicate. So I will try yours as it looks delicious!

  5. Tony
    Tony says:

    Just wanted to say that I tried this and your meatball recipe and they both turned out fantastic. I have to say that out of all the paleo sites I’ve tried I like this one the best so far. Your recipes are easy to make (as a single grad student I appreciate this!) and don’t call for crazy ingredients, and they taste great! Please keep posting them!

    • Trina B
      Trina B says:

      Tony, Thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind words. we try hard to make recipes that don’t call for complicated instructions and with ingredients you can find almost anywhere. You made my day! I hope you come back for more recipes. 🙂

  6. Christa
    Christa says:

    This RECIPE turned out AMAZING!!!! Both the teenage boy & the adult male gobbled two halves up and were so satisfied. This and the coconut chicken strips have both turned fantastic. I made this with a sauteed spinach and mushroom side as well as some fresh tomatoes sliced up for garnish. Mnnnmnnnnmnnnn.

    • Trina B
      Trina B says:

      Christa, I can’t thank you enough. I’m so happy to hear your family enjoyed the recipes. At the end of a long day, it’s people like you that put a smile on my face. And I love that you dress it all up with your yummy food as well! Thanks again! 🙂

  7. Lori Stewart Morrow
    Lori Stewart Morrow says:

    Hey your mom’s stuffed peppers were my favorite….Don’t you remember that this was my favorite meal to eat at your house growing up? If your mom was making stuffed peppers, I was finding a way to eat over.


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