I have a fresh twist on a house favorite today: Italian Stuffed Peppers. Sweet bell peppers stuffed with a savory blend of ground chicken or turkey, Italian herbs and cheeses, and the whole grain of your choice, each stuffed pepper is its own tidy and complete healthy dinner package.

A pan of healthy Italian stuffed peppers; red bell peppers filled with ground chicken, tomatoes, and whole grains, then topped with basil and cheese.

Every time I make stuffed peppers, I’m reminded of just how fantastic they are as their own mini recipe genre.

Whether I choose to make these Stuffed Peppers, Mexican Stuffed Peppers, Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, or Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers, I always look forward to dinner (and leftovers!). They’re so easy, tasty, and a total crowd-pleaser. I even created this delicious deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Casserole to further profess my love for all things stuffed pepper.

And today, I’m sharing these highly addictive sweet (or spicy) Italian stuffed peppers for your healthy eating and meal prep pleasure.

I started with my tried-and-true stuffed pepper base recipe, then gave it an Italian twist. PERFECTION.

Italian flavors and red bell peppers are a natural match. By the time you shower on the fresh basil and a generous handful of Mozzarella and Parm, this might be your favorite stuffed pepper recipe yet!

Healthy Italian stuffed peppers with chicken that bake in the oven

Italian Stuffed Peppers – Healthy Cooking MVP

Before we dive into the recipe, I want to share a few reasons why I consider stuffed peppers such a wonderful resource when you are seeking healthy meals.

  • Stuffed peppers are a meal prep dream. You can assemble these stuffed entirely in advance or prep the filling only, whatever works best for you.
  • Italian stuffed peppers are also quick and easy enough to where if you haven’t done any prep at all (me, most of the time!), you can still have them on the table in less than an hour.
  • You can scale stuffed peppers to just about any quantity you need.
  • They freeze and reheat like a dream. When I worked in an office, I often packed stuffed peppers for lunch, as they’re easy to reheat in the microwave (try it—your co-workers will be envious). These days, I like to bake them early on in the week, then reheat them in the oven for fast, healthy dinners.
  • Stuffed peppers are healthy. Lean protein, veggies, and whole grains: the gang’s all here! I’m constantly looking for ways to cut down on time spent prepping ingredients and washing dishes (hence the robust collection of one-pan recipes in my blog recipe index), so recipes like these authentic Italian stuffed peppers that offer every food group in one are always a prize hit around here.
Healthy filling for stuffing peppers in a skillet with chicken and tomatoes

How to Make Healthy Italian Stuffed Peppers

The ingredients for this recipe are simple and scrumptious—two of my favorite qualities of Italian-inspired (or let’s be honest, any) recipe.

The Ingredients

  • Bell Peppers. I like to look for ones that are large and round, as they are the easiest to stuff. While you can use any color, for this Italian version, red bell peppers are my favorite, as their sweet flavor pairs nicely with Italian herbs and cheese.
    • How Do You Cut Peppers for Stuffing? Start by washing and drying the peppers. Then, halve your peppers from top to bottom, cutting right down through the stems. Remove the seeds and membranes. That’s it! You are ready to stuff.
  • Ground Chicken. Italian stuffed peppers with chicken is ultra mild, meaning you can flavor it any way you like! For a different twist, try using sweet or spicy Italian turkey sausage (look for either bulk ground sausage or uncooked sausage in casings; remove the meat from the casings prior to cooking). Regular ground turkey works too.
    • If you want to make vegetarian Italian stuffed peppers, you could try using crumbled tofu in these peppers or swap a can of rinsed and drained white beans.
  • Whole Grain of Your Choice. We use cooked brown rice, as I always have it in my pantry and often keep a container of cooked brown rice in my freezer for easy meals. Cooked farro (a whole grain popular in Italy) would be delicious, though it’s not gluten free like rice, so definitely keep that in mind if making this recipe gluten free is important to you. I also am dying to try these Italian stuffed peppers with orzo at some point! If you go that route, undercook the orzo a bit, as there will be some carryover cooking in the oven.
    • For a low-carb option, you can make these Italian stuffed peppers without rice; swap cauliflower rice instead.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes. A pantry staple! These make the inside of the peppers tender and juicy. Look for no-salt-added diced tomatoes so that you can control the saltiness of your pepper.
  • Italian Seasoning. This herb blend gives you a mix of dried herbs in every pinch. You can find it in the spice section of almost any grocery store.
  • Red Pepper Flakes. I used a small pinch for flavor, but these Italian stuffed peppers are not hot. If you’d like truly spicy Italian stuffed peppers, add additional red pepper flakes or use a spicy Italian sausage in place of the ground chicken.
  • Cheese. I recommend a mix of a gooey, melty cheese like Mozzarella and a sharp, nutty cheese like Parmesan. For a more elevated spin, try swapping the Mozzarella for fontina, smoked Provolone, or a mix.
  • Fresh Herbs. I’m all about the basil here. Chopped fresh thyme or parsley would be nice too.
Healthy Italian stuffed peppers that can be made without rice or with orzo

The Recipe Steps

  1. You won’t believe how easy it is to make this sophisticated and flavorful dish!
  2. Arrange your peppers cut-side up in a baking dish that’s lightly coated with nonstick spray. This recipe will yield 8 pepper halves. If all of your peppers don’t fit in one dish (as you can see from the photos, mine did not), you can bake the rest in a separate dish.
  3. Next, cook your chicken and spices together in a skillet until browned and cooked through. Pour in your can of diced tomatoes and let simmer for 1 minute.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in your grain of choice and part of the cheese. Fill each pepper half with the yummy mixture, and top with more cheese (yes, please).
  5. Add just enough water to the baking dish so it covers the bottom (this helps the peppers become tender), and bake the peppers for 30 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees F. Gooey, melted cheese on top and tender peppers means that it’s ready. Sprinkle on fresh basil, and DIG IN!

How to Freeze Stuffed Peppers

  • Do You Freeze Stuffed Peppers Cooked or Uncooked? I recommend freezing these stuffed peppers after they’ve been cooked. Leftovers will be easy to reheat and serve for fast, healthy dinners.
  • To Freeze. Place the baked Italian stuffed peppers in a freezer-safe container cut side up in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat from Frozen. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Reheat gently in the microwave or oven. To microwave, cut the peppers into a few pieces first to ensure that they warm evenly. For the oven, place the peppers on in baking dish cut side up and warm at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.

What Is a Good Side Dish for Stuffed Peppers?

We usually enjoy these Italian stuffed peppers on their own. Since they offer protein, vegetables, and whole grains, it feels like a fairly wholesome, balanced meal.

That said, if you would like to serve something with the stuffed peppers, they go well with a number of sides:

Or, (my personal favorite!) whip up some of these Italian Margaritas that are a delicious complement to the Italian stuffed peppers.

Healthy, easy, and cheesy dinner served on a plate with chicken and fresh basil

Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe

While I love and will happily make Italian stuffed peppers year-round, if ever they were made for a moment, it is this one, the “season” where winter and spring collide. They’re light and fresh enough for a warm day, with enough comfort by way of stretchy, melty cheese to see us through the chilly temperatures.

A pan of healthy Italian stuffed peppers; red bell peppers filled with ground chicken, tomatoes, and whole grains, then topped with basil and cheese.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

4.96 from 25 votes
Italian stuffed peppers are a fresh, healthy twist on a classic! Made with ground chicken, tomatoes, herbs and cheese, they're easy and freezer friendly.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 50 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or up to ½ teaspoon if you like more spicy
  • 1 can no salt added diced tomatoes with juices, 15 ounces
  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice farro, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or orzo (if using orzo, undercook it slightly)
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella provolone (or a mix)
  • ½ cup Parmesan divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Slice the bell peppers in half from top to bottom. Remove the seeds and membranes then arrange cut side up in the prepared baking dish.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, breaking apart the meat, until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid, then pour in the can of diced tomatoes and their juices. Let simmer for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the rice (or farro) and ½ cup of the Mozzarella and ¼ cup of the parmesan. Mound the filling inside of the peppers, then top with the remaining cheeses.
  • Pour a bit of water into the pan with the peppers—just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan. Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, until the peppers are tender and the cheese is melted. Top with fresh basil. Serve hot.

Notes

  • Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in the microwave or oven. For easiest reheating, cut the peppers into a few pieces first so that they warm evenly.
  • Adapted from my Mexican Stuffed Peppers.

Nutrition

Serving: 2(pepper halves)Calories: 437kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 34gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 743mgPotassium: 955mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 4067IUVitamin C: 152mgCalcium: 328mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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66 Comments

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  1. Question: The picture of the peppers shows 3 peppers halved, but the recipe list 4. Does it mean you didn’t prepare 4? Is there a enough of the stuffing mix for 4. Sorry, I am picking up the ingredients and want to make sure I get it correct. Looking forward to trying it, the recipes of yours I have tried  are always so delicious. 

    1. Thank you for your question! 3 peppers are all that fit into my baking dish, and I baked the remaining pepper in a separate dish. This recipe does yield enough stuffing mix for 4 peppers. I hope you love the recipe!

  2. Definitely going to give these a try. I have had stuffed peppers on my make list for a while and never get to it. I am making it happen this weekend though. Will probably substitute quinoa for the rice. Also printed out the spinach and artichoke version, sounds like a healthy substitute for its delicious dip counterpart!

  3. A great recipe that worked really well without a change or alteration needed though it could be easily changed-up depending on what I have on hand!  We definitely prefer cooking with lower-fat and/or healthier ingredients like organic ground chicken breast and brown rice/quinoa. It’s simple enough without needing to round up a lot of ingredients yet very appetizing and was well-loved by everyone.  Thanks, and I am enjoying checking out your collection!  5 stars

  4. Hi Erin, these stuffed peppers were not only delicious, but easy to put together! I used lean ground beef because it’s what I had on hand and, for the sake of speed, instant brown rice (cooked).  Left-overs were delicious  for lunch the next day!  Thank you again for your intuitive tips, easy to follow instructions, videos, and lovely photos!5 stars

  5. I made it with orzo. Also added mushrooms and artichoke hearts and my peppers were rather small so I had too much filling.  But the orzo did work well and it was very tasty.  Great simple cozy dish.  Will make again. 5 stars

  6. I’ve made already stuffed peppers, I got the recipe form an Italian friend, but instead of chicken, I added tuna. It was delicious, but I will try also this version! Thanks for sharing :)

  7. A google search brought me to this recipe and it was AMAZING! Definitely making again and again, thank you!5 stars

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe, Sally! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  8. Made these tonight, big hit with everyone, including my 8 & 4 y/o kids.  I did blanch the peppers and added a small onion. Thanks for a great recipe!5 stars

  9. 5 star rating! Easy and delicious. My family asked if I’d make it again in the future 👍I substituted fresh garlic for powdered Garlic and Summer Savory for  Italian seasoning . Thanks for the recipe !5 stars

  10. I was never a fan of stuffed peppers as a child, but at 27 years old, I thought I’d give them another shot. I also have been trying new recipes since being in q because I was tired of eating the same stuff. I tried the Mexican and the Italian stuffed peppers. I prepared them the day ahead but before putting them in the oven, I topped them with the cheese, and some crushed tomato sauce, and added the water to the bottom of the pan (I greased the pan with oil the day ahead before putting the peppers in the pan.) They cooked nicely at 375 for 30 minutes. So far I tried the Mexican pepper and all I have to say is delicious! I will try the Italian pepper tomorrow. I made 16 halves so I will definitely be freezing some for future meals. Great recipe! Will definitely use again :) 5 stars

  11. My son requested stuffed peppers for dinner and I came across your recipe. The Italian Stuffed peppers were perfect. This is now a new favorite for my family as it is both easy to make and delicious. Thank you for sharing.5 stars

  12. I made it and thought it was missing something. Unfortunately I find using a substitute instead of beef tends to make it lose flavor. So I added some more cheese when reheated it. Sprinkled some shredded mozzarella and put a slice of provolone on top. Melted that all together. Omg so good5 stars

  13. I just followed the recipe using the myriad of p leftovers in my frig and it was wonderful! Lots of chopped up vegetables, left over rice, cream cheese, small amt of onion chip dip, 1 pound of fresh grass fed ground beef, yellow onions with the mold removed, soft celery. Hubby and I sitting here watching Bosch and moaning over our yummy dinner. Wish we would have planned a dessert…wait – canned Mandarins will work!5 stars

    1. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the recipe, Margaret! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  14. These were amazing!! Even my picky husband liked them, which makes them even better :-) I used ground Italian turkey sausage, omitted the salt, and used steamed cauliflower rice. For the canned tomatoes, I found an Italian style that had spices, garlic and olive oil in it. I still added the additional Italian spice and garlic powder as per the recipe, but went easy on it since these spices were already in the tomatoes and probably the sausage as well. We have enough leftovers for another meal. I will definitely be making this again soon!5 stars

    1. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the recipe, Bethany! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  15. My husband and I can’t get off your slow cooker Tex-Mex stuffed peppers. So easy and crave-worthy; but yesterday I broke out of our tried and true rut and tried these Italian stuffed peppers, which are every bit as scrumptious as the crockpot Tex-Mex ones,but with a different flavor profile. Now that you’ve opened the world of international stuffed peppers to us, how about a Greek or Asian inspired stuffed pepper recipe? Wouldn’t it be fun to feature a different type of stuffed pepper each week in a month? I think so!!!!!!!!5 stars

    1. I’m so pleased that you’ve enjoyed the stuffed peppers, Pam! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  16. This was a simple and delicious dinner! I didn’t use the turkey because I don’t eat meat, but even without it, the stuffed peppers were amazing. Thank you so much for creating this recipe!5 stars

  17. Fantastic recipe! Made this dish with lean ground beef and added a jalapeno pepper (remove seeds) into the beef. We also blanched the peppers and removed the skins so that the peppers would digest easier. The cheese and fresh basil made the recipe in my opinion so I recommend going heavy on both! Cheese crisps up nicely on top. YUM! Sharing recipe with neighbor who grew that jalapeno! Thank you!
    P.S. warning to be careful what you touch when working with jalapeno. Don’t touch your eyes – LOL!5 stars

  18. Love you to pieces❣️❣️❣️
    A question….I’m substituting my own handmade ground Italian sausage in the peppers ( highly recommend) but was thinking of putting them on the grill. Any suggestions? Should I microwave my peppers before stuffing and grilling them?
    Oh…did I say I love you to pieces🥰

  19. Really yummy! I actually made these with the plant based ground “beef” from trader Joe’s instead of chicken and they were absolutely wonderful! The only thing I’d say is to use even more than 1/2 tsp of chili flakes if you want them to have more heat. I used a heaping 1/2 tsp and I couldn’t taste any heat at all.4 stars

  20. Hi, I made these Italian peppers today. The peppers broke in half . I boiled them for 12 minutes. Didn’t see in the instructions what temperature for the oven.

    1. Hi! Since this recipe doesn’t call for your peppers to be boiled first, that’s probably what went wrong. If you click the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the recipe ingredients and instructions, which will list the baking temperature. I hope this helps and that you were still able to enjoy the flavors!

  21. Made this last night but I doubled all of the spices (except salt), and tripled the red pepper flakes. It turned out absolutely amazing and my family enjoyed it. I will be making it again.5 stars

  22. I made these peppers last night and loved them! I made with half green and half red. I used Turkey mince. So yummy! I’m excited to freeze some and have them available when I don’t feel like cooking. I also topped with a little Greek yogurt on the side. Delicious. Thanks so much!5 stars

  23. I made this dish and served it over spaghetti with Ragu sauce. It was delicious. I did have to alter the recipe because I only use fresh garlic and did not use red pepper. My only complaint was that the peppers did not get completely soft. I baked an additional 10 minutes but they did not soften all the way. Perhaps because they were fresh from our garden?5 stars

  24. Made this for my husband and my adult children who came over. Everyone loved them! In place of the rice I used quinoa that was garlic flavored and I think it took the taste up a notch…. super good I am keeping this recipe it so versatile!5 stars

  25. Delicious easy recipe to follow filled with lots of flavor. What I love about this is that it’s a make a cool recipe so when it’s cooking, I have time to clean, prepare my kids meals etc.. so we can all eat together. The flavor in this recipe is amazing, so good! Highly recommend.5 stars

  26. I have a question. I am going to use frozen brown rice or cauliflower rice. Do you recommend I cook the rice before stuffing my bell peppers?

  27. I have tried making stuffed peppers in the past (Not using this recipe)..I am not a great cook by any means and they turned out..okay.

    THESE turned out DELICIOUS! Like hands down my family is raving about them. I did double all the spices as I really like a little kick. Also I didn’t have Italian seasoning so used all purpose. I still can’t believe how delicious these are. I paired with a nice spring mix salad!

    I feel so lucky to have found Well Plated because its low cal AND delish. Been using her recipes for dinner 2x a week and have already gone down 15lbs and not feeling like I’m missing out on any taste.

    These are a must try!5 stars