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Nani's Italian Stuffed Peppers

Don't we all have certain foods that bring us back to a time long ago, or make us think of a special loved one?  Nani's Stuffed Peppers is that dish for my hubby.  

These stuffed peppers evoke memories of his Italian grandmother, Nani. They are authentic Italian stuffed peppers that make a perfect family-friendly dinner.

Authentic Italian Stuffed Peppers

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Italian Stuffed Pepper
Nani's Italian Stuffed Peppers
Hubby loved these peppers so much that he was determined to learn how to make them.   Years ago, early in our marriage, he called Nani and asked her to show him how to make the stuffed peppers. He wanted to be sure the recipe would be passed on in the family.

Nani's Authentic Italian Stuffed Peppers
Like so many recipes our grandmothers used to make, this recipe was not written down. He watched her make the stuffed peppers making note of quantities. A handful of this and a pinch of that have been translated into the recipe you see on this page.

Hubby proudly makes these peppers at our house.  This is his specialty recipe.  He makes them often in the fall and winter of the year.  They are served for dinner about once a week during the cold weather seasons of the year.  We freeze them so that we always have stuffed peppers on hand.

What Ingredients Will You Need for Italian Stuffed Peppers?

Italian Stuffed Pepper Ingredients
Italian Stuffed Pepper Ingredients

This recipe does not include rice in the filling. You are most likely familiar with rice as a major component of stuffed peppers. I love that this recipe does not include rice. The filling mixture is more meatball-like because these are stuffed peppers with bread filling.

Vegetables are important in this recipe.  Italian families often relied heavily on their gardens for recipe ingredients and Nani was no exception.  The eggplant and squash in this recipe add flavor and moisture. Can you leave them out? No.

Cooked squash and eggplant for Italian stuffed peppers
The Cooked Eggplant and Squash

Use colorful bell peppers. Red bell peppers are preferred but yellow or orange peppers can be used. The sweetness of the peppers adds to the overall flavor of the dish.

The Reasons You Will Love This Stuffed Peppers Recipe

No rice.  This recipe uses bread as a filling extender.  The bread makes the filling light and tender.

Vegetables are hidden in this recipe. I doubt that the veggie haters in your family will even notice. The eggplant and squash in the recipe seem to disappear.
Italian stuffed peppers filling includes vegetables.
The Stuffing Mixture
This is a make-ahead recipe. This recipe makes enough stuffing for you to freeze the extras for future meals.

These stuffed peppers are freezer friendly.  If you are preparing more stuffed peppers than you will need for dinner you can freeze the uncooked peppers. Wrap the peppers individually in plastic wrap and store them in a sealed container or freezer bag.  

The freezing process helps the pepper to soften and you will have soft, tender pepper cups surrounding your tasty ground beef filling. You don't need to thaw before cooking. I use a meat thermometer to make sure the peppers are fully cooked through.

Italian stuffed peppers ready to bake
Italian Stuffed Peppers Ready for the Oven

Tips for Making Authentic Italian Stuffed Peppers

How should you cut your bell peppers when making stuffed peppers?

Cut the peppers in half from stem to base.  This will give you a longer pepper cup to fill. Be sure to remove the seeds.

What kind of peppers is best for Italian stuffed pepper?

Use red, orange, or yellow bell peppers. The sweetness of these peppers adds to the flavor of the dish and looks pretty.  You can make appetizer-sized stuffed peppers by using the multi-colored mini bell peppers found in most grocery stores.  

Can you substitute ground chicken or turkey in this recipe?  Of course, but you won't be making stuffed peppers like Nani made them.

Can you add red pepper flakes to spice these peppers up a bit?  You know I encourage you to make my recipes your own.  This recipe is written just as Hubby's Nani taught him to make these peppers.  You can adjust the seasonings as you wish to make this recipe your own. Sometimes I make a spicier version of this recipe.  You can find my spicy stuffed peppers here. 

More Ground Beef Recipes 

This American Chop Suey recipe is a 30-minute meal. 

Everyone loves this simple, homemade Shepherd's Pie recipe.

This easy Crustless Taco Pie recipe makes a yummy weeknight dinner.



Nani's Authentic Italian Stuffed Peppers

Italian Stuffed Peppers with bread stuffing, authentic Italian Stuffed peppers
dinner
Italian
Yield: 20 servings
Author: Donna Urso
Traditional Italian Stuffed Peppers

Traditional Italian Stuffed Peppers

Prep time: 40 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 1 H & 25 M
An authentic Italian stuffed pepper recipe passed down from Nani.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Peel and dice the eggplant. Dice the squash.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large deep-sided pan. Add the squash and eggplant, one teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and saute until tender. Add additional olive oil if needed to keep vegetables from sticking to the pan. Remove the eggplant and squash from the pan and set aside to cool.
  3. Add the ground beef to the same pan with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cook the beef until lightly browned. Drain the fat from the beef and allow the beef to cool slightly.
  4. When cooled return the drained beef to the pan. Add the squash and eggplant mixture and stir to combine. Add the eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, basil, and tomato sauce.
  5. Stir to combine. Add water, as necessary to ensure the mixture is moist. You want the mixture to hold together.
  6. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Stuff each half of pepper with the filling mixture.
  7. Place the peppers in a baking dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Bake uncovered until the stuffing mixture is browned and crusty and the peppers are tender.

Notes

When freezing your peppers for later: Wrap each filled pepper individually in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer bag for up to three months.

No need to thaw your frozen peppers before baking.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

483.97

Fat (grams)

27.35

Sat. Fat (grams)

7.61

Carbs (grams)

33.14

Fiber (grams)

5.19

Net carbs

27.94

Sugar (grams)

8.97

Protein (grams)

27.76

Sodium (milligrams)

480.91

Cholesterol (grams)

128.21

Nutritional information is approximate.




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