5 New Ways to Stuff a Pepper

Food Network's Sweet and Sour Couscous-Stuffed Peppers

Photo by: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Tara Donne, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Food Network's Sweet and Sour Couscous-Stuffed Peppers

When it comes to naturally clever culinary designs, not much can beat the bell pepper; when cooked, its thin yet sturdy skin becomes sweet and tender without breaking down, and its hollow center provides built-in stuffing possibilities.

While most traditional fillings tend to focus on rice, any hearty grain-and-vegetable combo works well as a stuffing, and since peppers are known to walk the flavor line among several different cuisines — think Asian, Italian and Creole — there’s no limit to ingredient pairings. Check out these best-ever stuffed pepper ideas below to get Guy Fieri’s take on a classic, plus Rachael Ray’s and Giada De Laurentiis’ top-rated versions, as well as two more must-try plates.

5: Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers — Guy opts for a two-tiered approach to texture in his easy-to-make peppers: First he adds a handful of toasted pepitas to the kale-laced filling, then he tops the filling with a layer of crispy, cheesy breadcrumbs before baking.

4: Cajun Stuffed Peppers — Precooking the peppers in the microwave ensures that these quick-fix peppers from Food Network Magazine are simple to prepare in a hurry, while the andouille sausage-studded filling promises bold Cajun flavor.

3: Couscous-Stuffed Peppers with Basil Sauce — By boiling the couscous in chicken broth, Giada ensures that these 5-star peppers are bursting with taste from the outside in. Follow her lead and serve the dish alongside a no-cook basil sauce made tangy with the help of creme fraiche and a squeeze of lemon juice.

2: Stuffed Peppers with Broken Meatballs and Rice — “The stuffed peppers can be covered and refrigerated for a make-ahead meal,” Rachael says of this timesaving recipe, which puts leftover meatballs to work and combines rice and orzo pasta for a satisfying supper.

1: Sweet and Sour Couscous-Stuffed Peppers (pictured above) — While whole-wheat couscous and a trio of fresh vegetables guarantee a light, healthy finished product, the sweet-and-sour ground beef-based filling, laced with a splash of vinegar plus sweet, chewy raisins, and a topping of nutty Asiago cheese guarantee that these impressive peppers aren’t lacking in flavor.

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