Years ago (seriously YEARS ago), I took horseback riding lessons in the evening. My mom was still at work so my grandmother would take me and I’d have dinner at her house afterwards. She would make these great meatballs with rice and tomato sauce called Porcupine Meatballs. That was her go-to dinner since she could make it ahead of time and leave it warming in the oven for when we got home.
Those meatballs were da bomb. Prickly like porcupines with the rice yet meatbally at the same time. Long gone are the horseback riding lessons but I still smile when I think about the meatballs. If you haven’t heard of them, definitely google for recipes. You can even do them in a crock pot.
I decided to make a similar version of the old favorite meatballs, but stuff them into peppers instead for a nice pop of color, vitamins, and veggie-ness. You could easily make this using ground turkey instead if you prefer, or a mixture of beef and turkey. I had jasmine rice on hand, but regular rice or brown rice works too.
The jalapeno just adds a mild flavor here since you remove the seeds and cook it first. It does not add spice at all so don’t worry about this being too spicy for kids. They won’t even notice it’s in there if you don’t tell them. If you do want to add spice, feel free to use more than 1 jalapeno.
Sweet Peppers Stuffed with Beef and Jasmine Rice AKA Porcupine Peppers
- 4 sweet peppers in orange, red or yellow
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups tomato sauce, divided
- 1/4 cup egg whites
- 16 oz ground beef (I used 93/7)
Slice the sweet peppers in half lengthwise (top to bottom) and remove the seeds to hollow them out. Place the halves cut side up in a baking dish. Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray and saute the onion, jalapeno and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to brown.
Add the uncooked rice and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly so the rice doesn’t burn. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed. There will still be some liquid left at this point but it shouldn’t be like soup.
Remove from heat and let the rice mixture cool. After cooling, stir in 1 cup tomato sauce, egg whites, and ground beef. I mixed it right in the skillet so I didn’t dirty a bowl. I found it easier at this point to mix by hand like I was making meatloaf or meatballs. I tried just stirring and it didn’t combine well at first. Your mileage may vary, LOL!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. After the beef mixture is well combined, fill each pepper half with approximately 1/2 cup of beef. I used an ice cream scoop to measure out and plop 2 scoops in each pepper. Once the peppers are filled, top evenly with the remaining 1 cup of tomato sauce. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving. Or just do what we did and eat them hot while waving our hands in front of our mouths to cool the bites off. Patience is not a strong point of ours. 45 minutes is excruciatingly long to wait while smelling dinner.
Makes 4 servings of 2 pepper halves each at approximately 348 calories per serving – 31g protein, 38g carbs, and 9g fat.
It was funny. The other day I was alone in the kitchen, and I whipped out my peppers and heated them in the microwave. Suddenly I was joined by two dogs and a kid sniffing the air, asking what’s for lunch. Sorry, you guys are on your own. Boo hoo! 😉