Chili-Stuffed Peppers

by on June 30, 2011
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Chili-Stuffed Peppers

My husband’s been suggesting for years that I stuff some bell peppers, and he always wondered why I would roll my eyes and tell him he could stuff them himself. The truth came out over dinner the other night. It turns out that both of our mothers made stuffed peppers, but while D remembered them fondly, I shuddered at the memory. (Mom, if you’re reading, I’m sorry!) Mom stuffed green bell peppers with hamburger and cooked them in cream of mushroom soup.  Oddly enough for a future vegan, I could tolerate the filling but hated the peppers themselves. To me they tasted bitter, and I always left their limp shells empty on my plate.

Homegrown Gypsy and Jalapeno Peppers

Homegrown Gypsy and Jalapeno Peppers

Cooking styles change and tastes change, so when our garden started producing pretty little Gypsy peppers, I began to think that I might be able to devise a stuffed pepper that I would be able to eat in its entirety. I think the trick is having a filling that complements–and is complemented by–the pepper.  To me, peppers cry out for beans, corn, and other peppers, especially jalapenos and chili powder, so that’s where I began.

Along with those semi-traditional chili ingredients, I decided to add a natural meat substitute: diced portobella mushroom. Mushroom haters, do not turn away! I can almost guarantee that you won’t be able to taste the mushroom in this filling because of the other seasonings. It adds a certain savoriness as well as a touch of meaty texture, but not a lot of flavor, and you can chop it up tiny if the texture bothers you. Mushrooms add loads of antioxidants and phytonutrients, support your immune system, and guard against cancer and heart disease. You can get their health benefits without noticing their taste and texture if you give this recipe a try.

I suggest red bell peppers because they taste sweeter and less bitter than the green peppers my mom used.  I used the two small gypsy pepper from our garden and one red pepper from our fridge and had about half of the filling left for E (not a fan of peppers of any color) to eat in soft tacos. I’m guesstimating that this will fill about 5 regular-sized bell peppers, but if you have any filling left over, wrap it up in a tortilla along with lettuce and tomato or use it atop a salad for an easy lunch.

Chili-Stuffed Peppers


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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christina June 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm

I love stuffed peppers, but in my country we make them traditionally with rice or beans and LOTS of onion – almost the same as the Greek gemista. In fact it is a traditional Christmas eve dish – red bell peppers (fresh or dried) stuffed with backed beans, tomato and onion filling and the dish is backed in the oven.

I enjoy your blog very much, although none of us is vegan (and not even vegetarian) – your recipes always turn out well and I love trying new dishes.

Greetings from Bulgaria.


2 Dana June 30, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Yum! Looks delicious! I’ve made vegan stuff pepper before as well and used mushrooms as the “meaty” part…yum yum! Also, a trick to the pepper part to blanch them first before stuffing them and they are a little softer when you eat them and makes them taste better!


3 Dana June 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Sorry for the typo, “stuffed peppers” I meant.


4 Nichole June 30, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Love your blog! Although I have been following it for a while, I’ve never posted before. I have to admit I shared your opinion of stuffed peppers for the same reason. I did Not enjoy the way my mom made them. Imagine my surprise/horror one night as a teenager when I showed up to babysit and the kids’ Mom said here were stuffed peppers in the oven for dinner! She always fed me dinner because I typically was there for about 6 hours and her food was always fantastic. Turns out so were her stuffed peppers. Nothing like what I was used to. They were fabulous! However, I have only made them once myself. I used her recipe, just swapped the rice for quinoa and added green chiles! Stuffed peppers definitely need heat and another pepper. Thanks so much for giving me another option!


5 moonwatcher June 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Hi Susan,

I can be picky about stuffed peppers, too–I agree, what’s in them has to go with the peppers. This looks really really good and I will definitely try it. The addition of the big portobello is inspired, and lucky for me, I can eat those without any problem. Later in the season, Septemberish, one of our vendors at the farmer’s market has an amazing variety of peppers. You can bet some of those beauties will be stuffed with this filling when the time comes!





6 Nikki @ The Tolerant Vegan June 30, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I’m going to have to make this with both peppers AND tortillas! I have a feeling it’s going to be added to the regular rotation of eats in our home 🙂


7 Kim Millican June 30, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Yum. I’m definitely going to try this recipe!

We grow our own peppers too and have been experimenting with different ways to stuff peppers. My favorite creation is potato stuffed peppers. You can find the recipe on my website at


8 Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) June 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm

The stuffed peppers my Mom made were always stuffed with ground beef and the mexican flavored rice a roni… The only part I didn’t like what the mushy green pepper!? When I made my own, I always use sweet peppers cooked to al dente (can a pepper be al dente??) 😉


9 Shannon June 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I love the idea of using portobello mushrooms as a meat substitute! I too dislike cooked green bells, but might enjoy the red ones. I’m definitely going to try this.


10 anon June 30, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I wish I lived at your house! All of that yummy food…. 🙂


11 Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner June 30, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I have yet to try a stuffed pepper, but with your recipe, I HAVE TO TRY IT! I love your blog so much. Thank you so much for all of the hard work you put into your blog. It has changed me for the better.


12 Laina June 30, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Looks absolutely delicious, Susan! 🙂

Wondered if you could recommend some other spices from Penzey’s? Can’t wait to try that spice combo for this recipe. While purchasing, if there’s others you’d recommend, I’d like to get them too.

Thanks for all your recipes and your giving of yourself for all of us cyber followers.

Appreciate you more than you’ll ever know!


13 SusanV June 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Laina, I absolutely love their maharajah curry powder, so if you like curry, do get that. That’s the only other seasoning blend that I’ve tried, but all their herbs and spices have been good.


14 AikoVenus July 1, 2011 at 3:36 am

Those look so beautiful and tasty! I love making chili for all sorts of things. ^^ Do you mind if I add you to my blogroll?


15 SusanV July 1, 2011 at 6:21 am

I’d be honored!


16 laloofah July 1, 2011 at 6:30 am

I also shared your low opinion of stuffed green peppers from childhood, able to tolerate (just) the filling but loathing the limpid, bitter pepper portion. I’m jealous of your ability to leave them behind on your plate – I had one of those mothers that wouldn’t let me leave the table until I’d eaten everything (grossly unfair, given that the only foods I didn’t like were soft-boiled eggs – blech – and those repugnant peppers!) Once I grew up, I never considered making them, of course. Being an adult has its privileges!

Then several years ago I visited a very close and accommodating non-vegan friend and her family, bringing some of my vegan cookbooks with me at her request. We spent the first morning going through them to select recipes so we could shop for the ingredients, and wouldn’t you know it – one of the recipes she chose (from Vegan with a Vengeance) was stuffed bell peppers! I tried not to grimace and make gagging noises. Imagine my surprise when I (and everyone else) loved them! Though Isa’s recipe is quite different from yours, it too uses red bell peppers, and I think that does make a big difference. And her filling was far more delicious than my mother’s sad ground beef affair. I can’t wait to try yours, since I love mushrooms with all my heart while my husband loves jalapeños and smoked paprika with all of his, and your recipe looks simpler, too. The idea of stuffing tortillas with this filling instead of peppers is equally appealing. So, into my recipe box this goes! 🙂


17 Archana July 2, 2011 at 8:11 am

Love the look of these peppers. I had stuffed capsicum with potatoes which are well enjoyed by my family but the same with rice had them breathing fire down me. I thought both tasted good. Needless to say I have never again tried the rice version.

Like this one and will try them out again in capsicum.


18 oaemmerich July 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

Thanks for the recipe.. my husband loves bell peppers and hates mushrooms, and I am the opposite. I will try these and see if we can meet in the middle! Do you think the filling can be frozen? I am a “soccer mom” and need good, fat-free vegan recipes that can be frozen in individual servings for super quick dinners and lunches. Any other suggestions for the freezer? Thanks for your great recipes!


19 Regina February 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Stuffed green peppers usually freeze very well once assembled and are great for microwave lunches. These will probably be the best frozen lunch ever!


20 Gena July 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm

A wonderful vegan recipe for the long weekend! Nice work, friend 🙂


21 photogenik July 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm

This meal was amazing! I loved it and scored big with the hubby. It’s ridiculous how easy it was to make. This has to be in my top 10 from your recipes. Thanks Susan and keep them coming!


Cindy a.k.a photogenik


22 Maya (The Keen Kitchen) July 4, 2011 at 11:34 am

For some reason cooked green peppers are kind of yuck… bring on the red, orange and yellow! These look scrumptious.


23 michael July 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Just found your site in a search for vegan lasagna. I’ll try that next but your stuffed peppers were so appealing that I had to have a go at them. Excellent! Easy, too.

I really appreciate the nutrition facts. One dinner guest is on Weight Watchers and was thrilled to have the points. Thank you.


24 Andrea @ Vegvacious July 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I love this recipe! I’m like your husband and have very fond memories of stuffed peppers (but they were stuffed full of beef). I love finding vegetarian and vegan recipes that let me enjoy some of the meals I loved as a kid! Black beans, corn, jalapenos, cumin & chili powder together is one of my all-time favourite combos!!


25 Alexis L. July 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm

This looks like such a delightful recipe! I came across your website while looking for a soy yogurt recipe and am so glad I did. I can tell that I will be a frequent reader as I’m always looking for healthy vegan dishes. Thank you for sharing!


26 Joann July 6, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I love this idea! And the peppers look so pretty. I have got to try this. Thanks.


27 Carolyn July 9, 2011 at 9:22 am

Susan, you’ve hit on the fix for the pepper-haters out there- use small peppers, so there’s more filling-to-pepper ratio. I actually love green peppers as well as red peppers, because I like a little bitter in with the sweet. But when they are big, as well as being overcooked, well they are just not so appetizing. I love your mushroom addition, and those creminis waiting patiently in my fridge may be meeting their destiny this weekend.


28 Marsha July 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Hi, I stumbled across you page when I did a google search on “vegetarian vegan blogs.” I am glad that I found you and this recipe.



29 Georgette July 11, 2011 at 10:49 am

Thanks for this great recipe! I have always loved stuffed peppers filled with ground beef and rice, topped with tomato soup. But this will be a perfect vegan alternative. I wonder how tempeh would be in them? Thanks for sharing!


30 Elise July 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I have never liked stuffed peppers either, I think because (along with nut roast) it was one of the only things provided to me as a young vegetarian, and more often than not cooked really badly! But I’m prepared to give stuffed peppers another go. Thanks for the great looking recipe.


31 Jenny July 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Another wonderful recipe. The part where you tell your husband he could stuff them himself made me laugh out loud. This is the exact phrase I use when my husband asks for stuffed cabbage.

Thanks Susan!


32 do July 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Thank you very much for your wonderful receipes!
Always a pleasure to drop by in your kitchen, 🙂
Greetings from Quebec


33 Elettaria August 4, 2011 at 9:44 am

This has immediately become a favourite in my household. I make them in bulk and freeze them to cook later. I skip the chillies, since I can’t tolerate them, use kidney beans (I don’t think you can get tinned black beans around here), and probably put a bit more mushrooms in. I use olive oil for sautéing the veg, and it still comes in at only 12% calories from fat, although I end up microwaving them individually rather than baking them in a dish with oil, so it probably works out as a similar level of oil. They’re lower in fat and calories than my usual peppers with a rice-based stuffing, and higher in protein and fibre, plus I found that rice is unreliable in stuffed peppers and can easily come out soggy. And they are utterly yummy.


34 Lois Gowen August 7, 2011 at 11:34 am

I think they are too much work, I would rather cut the peppers up and cook them with the filling. I also think they are bitter.


35 anne August 21, 2011 at 3:21 am

Your recipe sounds awesome. Will have to try it! There are so many alternatives…

We make (whole) stuff peppers with grated potato, carrot, onion, garlic + some sweet paprika and fresh parsley + black pepper & salt. (with some olive oil over the peppers, usually, but you can skip that) Baked for 30 mins under aluminium foil then 5-10 more just to brown them. (better to use peppers with thinner skin for this recipes, instead of those big juicy bell peppers.)


36 rita September 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Just made this for the second time, delicious. Thanks for this.


37 Katie September 6, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Thanks so much for this suggestion! I just made vegan stuffed peppers tonight and they were yummy (fresh organic green peppers delivered today, boiled for 5 minutes before stuffing–makes a big difference in taste and gets rid of all the bitterness), but we are a big fan of Mexican so this is added on the recipe list for next week.


38 Tatiana September 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I made this recipe last night for some friends and it was a HUGE success. I received a bunch of sweet gypsy peppers from my CSA and needed to find something delicious to make with them. The peppers were fairly delicate so the flavor didn’t overpower the chili and the filling was the perfect mix of hearty and spicy. I used one jalapeno and a chipotle, which made it on the spicy side, and used about 6 crimini mushrooms instead of a portabello. I served them with balsamic-glazed brussel sprouts, which were a bit sweet and helped take the edge off the chili spice, and a salad. Perfection.


39 Lula October 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

LOVE these peppers! Prep takes no time and I can get on with my life while they’re in the oven. 🙂 We’re turning over a new “healthy eating” leaf in my house and both my husband and I are incredibly picky eaters, but this recipe makes us both happy. Thanks so much!


40 Katasha December 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

I made these yesterday for christmas and everyone loved them….Thank you for the recipe


41 Jenny May 11, 2012 at 9:06 am

Hi! Does this recipe ask for crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes? Thanks!


42 Susan Voisin May 11, 2012 at 9:38 am

Diced. Sorry about that! I just edited the recipe to include that.


43 Jenny May 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Thank you so much. This recipe is delicious. I made it before and I think I used crushed and just realized it doesn’t say crushed or diced, so thanks for clarifying. I’m making this for my Nana for Mother’s Day, she’s been wanting to try it.


44 Kris Boschee December 30, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I noticed your stuffed pepper recipe and think I will try it. I wanted to let you know of my favorite stuffed pepper recipe that I invented which most people really love.

Stuffed Peppers

Colored Peppers
Spaghetti Sauce


balsamic vinegar

I cut the peppers in equal halves (and sometimes I pour a little balsamic vinegar and honey in each pepper)
I then fill them with cooked carrots, zucchini and onions
Then I top them all with Ragu Spaghetti sauce and bake for probably an hour at 350.

Hope you enjoy and hope I remembered correctly (I recently finished chemo and beat my stage 4 aggressive lymphoma, but my memory is not always accurate!!!)


45 Renata June 17, 2014 at 9:04 am

I made this last night and it was really delicious. I used Great Northern Beans instead of black, added two cloves of garlic and a pinch of cumin seeds…having leftovers for lunch. Yumm!


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