Bell peppers are available year-round and come in so many beautiful colors! We really love these Italian style stuffed peppers, so I decided to make a few. The sausage and rice stuffing is delicious and can stand on its own as a casserole. Since it can be made ahead, this is a nice easy meal to have when you get home from work. Choose peppers that are uniform in size, and check that they can stand upright.
For a really special touch, try using my homemade Mushroom Soup and homemade Italian Sausage in this recipe, both are fabulous! Of course, you can use store bought if you like, just make sure the ingredients are gluten free.
This recipe will yield enough stuffing for 4 medium peppers. In this post I am stuffing 2 peppers and serving the rest as a casserole.
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- 1/2 cup long grain brown rice (uncooked)
- 1-1/2 cups gluten free Lower Sodium or Unsalted Chicken broth
- olive oil
- 1/2 sweet onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz. gluten free Italian Sausage, casings removed
- 1-1/2 cups gluten free Mushroom Soup
- 1/4 cup 1% milk, plus more as needed
- 1/3 cup shredded gruyere cheese
- 1/3 cup gluten free Italian breadcrumbs
- 4 bell peppers, color of your choice
- 1/4 cup grated gruyere or Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup gluten free Italian breadcrumbs
- 2 cups purchased marinara sauce for serving or-
- 1 medium can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. each basil, oregano and marjoram
- salt and pepper to taste
Cook the rice in the chicken broth. I used long grain brown rice which takes about 50 minutes to cook, so I gave it a 35-minute head start before adding to the casserole.
Next heat a deep, oven proof skillet to medium low and add the onions, mushrooms and garlic with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Push the veggies to the side, leaving a space in the center of the pan and add the sausage.
Break up the meat with a spatula to brown it all over, then stir into the veggies.
When the rice has simmered for 35 minutes, add it to the skillet along with any broth that has not been absorbed. Add the Mushroom Soup and 1/4 cup milk.
Sprinkle the top with paprika and place the skillet in a 350° oven. Bake for 30 minutes uncovered.
While the casserole is baking, make a small batch of marinara (or heat up prepared sauce). Heat olive oil in a small saucepan, and begin cooking the onion and garlic, stir frequently until the onions are translucent.
Add 1 can of tomato sauce, 14.5 oz. Season with basil, oregano, marjoram, ground pepper and 1 tsp. of brown sugar.
Simmer on very low heat while the casserole finishes cooking.
Stir the casserole after 30 minutes and add an additional 1/4 cup milk if it appears dry. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. The casserole should be set but moist.
Sprinkle the top with the Gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs.
Broil on low for 5 minutes or just until the top is nicely browned. You can prepare up to this point a day ahead.
Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the ribs and seeds.
Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes.
Use tongs to remove the peppers from the water, and set them aside on paper towels to drain and cool.
Arrange the cooled peppers in a baking dish coated with cooking spray and spoon in the stuffing.
Top with more cheese and breadcrumbs, then bake for 35 minutes at 350°.
Finish under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, just until the tops are browned.
Remember I said the stuffing can stand alone as a casserole? For those who don’t care for the peppers you can set aside some stuffing and simply top with cheese and breadcrumbs and finish under the broiler. It’s delicious!
Serve with marinara sauce as a main course or side. The peppers freeze well. Just cool to room temperature and wrap them in foil, then store in freezer safe bags.
Notes ♪♫ I used Aleia’s gluten free Italian breadcrumbs in this recipe. My favorite gluten free breadcrumbs, I always have them on hand in my pantry.