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Black Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Easy but takes some time

Stuffed Bell Peppers are Comforting and Practical

Black rice stuffed bell peppers | Something New For Dinner
Orange bell pepper made with half black rice and half faro
Stuffed bell peppers are both comforting and a great way to clean out the fridge. One bite and you will know why they are comforting. But why practical? Because you can literally stuff them with whatever is in your fridge and pantry. For this recipe I use black rice, spinach, chorizo sausage, mushrooms, onions, garlic, feta and parmesan cheese. It is a great combo, but you can substitute just about anything on the ingredient list except for the bell peppers themselves.

General Method for Making Stuffed Peppers & Specifics for this Recipe

Prep a Grain, Legume or Pasta

You can use  black rice, white rice, brown rice, couscous, Israeli couscous, faro, quinoa, lentils or small pasta such as orzo. For six peppers prep 2 - 2 1/2 cooked cups of what ever grain you are using. I recommend two things:
  1. Cook your grain or pasta in chicken or vegetable stock to boost flavor.
  2. Cook it to al dente, or just less than al dente as the grain, legume or pasta will continue to cook when you bake the stuffed peppers.
For this recipe I used black rice cooked in chicken stock. I like to use black rice for its nutritional value and great texture. I have also combined black rice with faro and kept the rest of the recipe the same. I like the combination of black rice and faro and feel it increases the spectrum of nutrients in the dish.  

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Black rice is actually purple, but it is so intensely purple that it looks black. You will see after it is cooked the purple color becomes more apparent. Black rice is abundantly nutritious with more antioxidants than blueberries. It has a nutty taste and chewy texture and is higher in fiber, iron and protein than white or brown rice. In ancient China black rice was known as forbidden rice because only royalty could afford to eat it and it was thus forbidden to the masses. Thankfully, black rice is now available to regular folk and can be found at many grocery stores, Asian markets and Amazon.

Prep the Peppers

Black rice stuffed bell peppers | Something New For Dinner Prepping the peppers is simple.
  1. I recommend red, orange and yellow peppers because they have better flavor and are less bitter. It is a personal choice, but I never buy green peppers as I think the red/orange/yellow ones are so superior.
  2. Slice off the top of the pepper. You can choose to keep the caps and reassemble the peppers after stuffing the peppers or dice them and use them in the vegetable mixture you will soon be cooking.
  3. Twist and pull out the seed core and rinse out any remaining seeds. You may have 2 or 3 ridges of pith left inside the peppers. Remove those with a sharp paring knife.
  4. To make your peppers stand up without wobbling, you may want to take a tiny slice off the bottom to create a flat surface. Stand the pepper up to determine what point is preventing the pepper from standing up straight. Turn the pepper over and trim off a tiny bit of the highest point on the bottom of the pepper.
Black rice stuffed bell peppers | Something New For Dinner

For this recipe I use red and orange bell peppers.

Cook the Protein or Skip if You Are Making Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

  1. If you are using using any kind of meat, sausage, bacon, chicken or even fish, dice it or crumble it and cook it in a pan if it is not already cooked. You can also use left over cooked meat or chicken, which will save you one step.
If you are cooking the meat, I splash a little olive oil in the pan and sauté until done. Remove the meat and set aside. If the protein is oily, like sausage, lay out on a paper towel covered plate to absorb the excess oil.
For this recipe I use Mexican chorizo sausage.

Prep and Cook the Veggies 

or Skip if you Are Making Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers
  1. The easiest way to prep your veggies is by using a food processor or Cuisinart Mini-Prep. This will take your prep down to seconds instead of minutes. I always mince the garlic first, and by itself, so I can get a very fine mince. I then add the other vegetables to the food processor and pulse them to get larger pieces.
  2. Possible vegetables include: fennel, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and spinach. The possibilities are endless and what a great way to use up extra veggies sitting in your fridge! Don't forget about chopping and adding the pepper caps into the vegetable mix.
  3.  Start by sautéing the onions and garlic together for about 5 minutes. Add firmer veggies that require longer cooking first and then add the fast cooking ingredients like spinach last. I use the same pan I cooked the meat in and take advantage of any flavorful leftover oils. If there is not enough leftover oil, I use a splash of olive oil to start the sauté.
Black rice stuffed bell peppers | Something New For Dinner For this recipe I used garlic, onions, mushrooms, spinach and the leftover bell pepper caps.

Combine the Stuffing Ingredients

Black rice stuffed bell peppers | something New For Dinner
This picture shows a variation on the recipe where I combine black rice and faro.
  1. Combine the cooked grains, protein, vegetables and cheese.
  2. You can use virtually any cheese in your fridge: mozzarella, burrata, feta, blue cheese, manchego, gruyere, cheddar. You name it, it will work. I mix all of the main cheese in with the grains, meat and veggies, but you can reserve a little extra to put on top of the stuffed bell peppers. I do like to finish the stuffed peppers with a grating of parmesan or pecorino cheese, as these create a nice flavor cap.
For this recipe I used crumbled feta in the stuffing mixture and grated parmesan to finish the stuffed pepper.

Assembling the Stuffed Bell Peppers

Black rice stuffed bell peppers | something New For Dinner
In this version, I double the recipe and combine black rice with faro
  1. Assembling is just a matter of spooning the grain, meat, veggie and cheese mixture into the prepared pepper cavities. Divide your mixture evenly between your peppers filling them up to the top, but do not pack in too tightly.
  2. Place the peppers side-by-side in a baking pan. Choose a baking pan that allows you to fill up the pan with your peppers so they stand up shoulder-to-shoulder inside the pan.
  3. At this point the peppers can be covered and stored in the fridge until you are ready to bake.

Baking the Stuffed Bell Peppers

Black rice stuffed bell peppers | something New For Dinner
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pour 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of water in the bottom of the pan taking care not to get the water inside the stuffed bell peppers. Use more water for larger pans and less water for smaller pans. The purpose of the water is to steam the peppers.
  2. Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 - 40 minutes covered. Remove the foil and sprinkle 1 T of parmesan cheese on top of each pepper. Return to the oven uncovered and bake another 10 minutes to brown up the tops. You can also turn the broiler on and blast them for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
Black rice stuffed bell peppers | something New For Dinner

Serving Stuffed Bell Peppers

Black rice stuffed bell peppers | something New For Dinner
Red peppers made with all black rice
You can serve the peppers by themselves, but I like to create a complete meal by serving them on a bed of arugula or spinach to get a few more veggies in the mix.  

Freezing and Reheating Stuffed Bell Peppers

  1. Allow your cooked peppers to cool to room temperature. Wrap peppers individually in plastic wrap. Place wrapped peppers inside a zip lock bag with as much air removed as you can. Peppers can be stored for three months and all the way up to a year.
  2. To reheat, place in a lightly oiled baking pan side-by-side and cook at 350 degrees F until warmed all the way through, about 30 minutes.

More Black Rice Recipe


Black Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

Black rice stuffed bell peppers are healthy, delicious and comforting. Make extra and put them in the freezer for a rainy day.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 60 minutes
  • Yield: 6 stuffed peppers 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: New American, Italian



For the rice:

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups black rice, well rinsed

For the chorizo:

  • Splash of olive oil
  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed and crumbled

For the peppers:

  • 6 red, yellow or orange bell peppers (or a mixture of colors)
  • Splash of olive oil

For the vegetables:

  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 8 mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
  • 1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 t smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 5-ounce package baby spinach

For the cheese:

  • 5 ounces crumbled feta
  • 6 T grated parmesan cheese

To serve: 

  • Handful of arugula for each pepper (optional)
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)


For the rice:

  1. Rinse the rice well and put it in a pot with chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, cover and turn down temperature to low and cook for about 30 minutes until al dente.
  2. Check periodically and add more stock if the pan is becoming dry. When rice is done, allow to stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Set aside.

For the chorizo:

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium high, add a splash of olive oil and crumble the chorizo into the pan. Use a wooden spoon to chop the chorizo up into small pieces as it cooks. Cook until done, remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve residual oil to cook vegetables.

For the peppers: 

  1. Prepare the peppers by slicing off their tops. You can retain these to top off the stuffed peppers before you bake them, or chop them up to add to the vegetables. I generally choose to do the latter.
  2. Pull out the seed and trim any extra pith out with a sharp knife. If your peppers do not stand up straight on their own you can slice off a small piece from the bottom to help them stay vertical.

For the vegetables:

  1. In the same pan that you cooked the chorizo, cook the garlic and onions on medium high for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, chopped bell pepper caps and spices and cook an additional 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables have softened. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach has wilted. 

Combine the stuffing, assemble the peppers and bake: 

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the rice, vegetables and feta cheese. Spoon the combined stuffing into each of the prepared peppers. Fill each pepper to the top without packing too tightly. Place stuffed peppers in a baking dish that is just large enough to hold all of the peppers.
  2. Pour 1 – 1 1/2 cups water around the peppers, taking care not to get the water inside the peppers. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, depending on size of your peppers.
  3. Remove the foil and spoon 1 T of grated parmesan cheese on the top of each pepper. Return to the oven and continue baking for another 10 – 15 minutes until the tops are nicely browned. 

To serve:

  1. Place a handful of arugula on individual serving plates and place the pepper on top of the arugula.
  2. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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