Beef, Orzo, and Herb Stuffed Peppers

greek stufed bell pepper

I love fresh herbs, but I realized the other night that my thinking about herb usage has been a bit narrow. Sure, I pair fresh basil with ripe tomatoes, rub roasted chicken with thyme, and top fish tacos with cilantro.  I toss fresh chopped mint with berries, infuse it into chocolate mousse, and use it to garnish lemon tarts. But until now, I have rarely used mint in savory dishes.

I know, I know… you’ve been making lovely minted pea salads for years, and enjoying mint pesto on your lamb kebabs  as long as you can remember.  But it would seem that I’ve had a mint mental block.

I’ve long reserved mint for dessert. But no longer. The background of fresh mint in these stuffed peppers is surprising, but fits so naturally with the rich, meaty filling.  Neither frosty nor sweet, the mint here simply adds an herbacious intensity that brings these peppers to life. 

beef and mint stuffed pepper

I’ve made stuffed peppers before, this lentil stuffed version, in particular, is a favorite. When I posted those lentil and rice stuffed peppers, I was yearning for a healthy, filling meal that would reheat well from my lunch box. These beef, orzo, and herb stuffed peppers are just as nutritious, filling, and portable. And while the bell peppers in my garden are still quite tiny, this would be a wonderful way to use up garden surplus. It is most certainly a great way to put some of that mint overtaking your garden to work on your table.

These peppers have a whisper of Greek influence, but you could substitute a bit of lamb in for the beef, and add a drizzle of good olive oil to pump up the mediterranean flavor. I served my peppers with a dollop of sour cream, but a bit of tzaziki would add both creaminess and additional flavor. 


Beef, Orzo and Herb Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6

6 large bell peppers

1 cup uncooked orzo

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 lb lean ground beef

1 cup canned tomato sauce

1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano

1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

salt and pepper to taste

cooking spray

Slice the tops off of the peppers, core and rise the insides of the peppers, and arrange them in a baking dish.  Bring a few cups of salted water to a boil and cook the orzo until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and cook the garlic, onion, and celery until slightly soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon until browned.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the orzo, beef mixture, tomato sauce and plenty of salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the oregano and mint. Lightly spray the insides of the peppers with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Fill the peppers with the beef mixture and top each pepper with its cap. Add a few tablespoons of water to the bottom of the baking dish. Bake until the peppers are a bit shriveled and tender but still slightly crisp, about 45 minutes.

Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm  Comments (12)  
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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. These look so delicious.. Colorful and very flavorful!

  2. Stuffed peppers? count me in! They look so good 🙂 . Love the colors and the flavours.

  3. I love using mints in both sweet and savoury. The stuffed bell peppers look so inviting.

  4. You know mint is very common in lebanese savory dishes, it is usually the dried kind that gets powdery and is mixed with olive oil for a type of pesto ; love this stylish pepper you made. Sounds delicious with these hearty ingredients.

  5. Stuffed peppers are one of my most favorite meals. I love how you’ve used mint in them. I have just started using a little mint in savory dishes this summer and I’m loving it. I would have never thought to add it to to the peppers. I’ve got to try that. They sound delicious! Thanks!

  6. Oh Katie, these sound absolutely amazing! I only started using mint in savory dishes a few years ago, and now I love it so much. 🙂

  7. These look delicious. And such a great fresh summer dish. With all that good stuff inside, this could be a meal in itself!

  8. I’ve a tendancy to save mint for dessert so thanks for reminding me how fantastic it can be in savoury dishes. This stuffed pepper is gorgeous. I’m bookmarking it because I can think of a whole heap of people who would just love this.

  9. I think we all get in herb ruts, thinking only this goes with this and that goes with that. But I like how you changed it up here, this sounds delicious!

  10. It is wonderful that you added mint and I think very ingenius with the orzo. Lovely comfort food at its best!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  11. One of my favorite recipe! Yours look very appetizing 🙂

  12. Thanks for the recipe. Been looking for a good stuffed peppers recipe and this one it is. Definitely trying!

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