Italia Sweet Stuffed Peppers (old-fashioned)

Italia Sweet Stuffed Peppers – old-fashioned family recipe for easy and healthy stuffed red peppers with ground beef/turkey or pork mince. Prepared with rice and traditional spices, these peppers are a dream dinner.

Italia Sweet Stuffed peppers recipe with ground beef, ground pork, white rice and herbs.

Today I’m going to show you how to cook stuffed sweet red peppers – the old-fashioned way. Stuffed peppers are a common dish in many cuisines, this one is a typical Bulgarian recipe that my grandma used to make back in the day. She learned it from her mother and so forth. The type of peppers I used are regular sweet red peppers, also known as Italian red peppers.

FUN FACTS: Many families enjoy these stuffed peppers with a Yogurt-based sauce. The yogurt used is typically Bulgarian yogurt which is a bit different from Greek Yogurt. The main difference is the friendly gut bacteria that it has, thus making it even healthier (and a bit sour).

A lovely way to enrich the flavor is to prepare this Greek Yogurt Tahini sauce recipe and serve it on top on each pepper.

Italia Sweet red peppers are a well known variety of sweet peppers across Europe. Each country might have it’s variation (they differ in size and shape slightly), however they all have some things common: sweetness, thin skin and juicy flesh. Which makes them a perfect choice for salads, roasting, grilling or stuffing. Whichever type of red sweet pepper you choose, this recipe can be adapted.

Ingredients & Substitutions:

  1. Sweet Red peppers – use Italia red peppers (also known as sweet Italian peppers) or any type of sweet red peppers. Recipe works well with green poblano peppers as well. Choose peppers that are straight for easier stuffing.
  2. Ground meat – turkey, beef or pork – or a mix works well
  3. Onion – minced
  4. Carrot – shredded – just tastes better than simply minced
  5. White rice – any type of rice works here, even Jasmin rice or brown rice
  6. Spices: sea salt, black pepper, paprika, summer savory spice (or mint), cumin
  7. Water for cooking rice in
  8. Parsley for garnish

NOTE: I usually prepare these peppers with ground turkey or a mix of ground beef and pork. However, recipe works well with all kinds of minced meat.

How to cook stuffed sweet Italia peppers?

1st: Prepare ground meat-rice stuffing on the stove top.

2nd: Stuff each red pepper with the mix and bake in preheated oven for a while.

What to serve with stuffed peppers:

There are a few things I like to serve with these old-fashioned red peppers, mainly salads and a good Yogurt-based sauce.

Italia Sweet Stuffed peppers recipe with ground beef, ground pork, white rice and herbs.
Italia Sweet Stuffed peppers recipe with ground beef, ground pork, white rice and herbs.

Italia Stuffed Peppers (old-fashioned)

The European Dish
Italia red peppers, stuffed with ground beef/pork or turkey and white rice. Enhanced with delicious herbs and baked in the oven, these old-fashioned peppers are the perfect family dinner.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Bulgarian,, European
Servings 8 people


  • 8 (1 kg) red Italia peppers, medium to large
  • 400 g (0.9 pounds) ground beef/pork, or ground turkey
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 2 tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp. summer savory spice, or dried mint
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups water, for rice and more for baking


  • In a large pot sauté minced onion and shredded carrot in olive oil. Then, add ground meat and sauté further.
  • Next, add all herbs, rice and water. Give it a good stir and let simmer on the stove top until rice is fully cooked.
  • In the meantime, prepare red peppers. Clean peppers from seeds by cutting the top off. Then, with a sharp knife make a thin cross-like cut at the top of each pepper.
  • With a spoon add stuffing to each red pepper. Arrange in a baking dish of choice with minimum space in between.
  • Then, add cold water to cover 1/3 of peppers and bake in preheated oven (180C/360F) for about 20 minutes. Or until red peppers start to soften and get darker.
  • Serve immediately with some (Bulgarian) Yogurt on the side.


  • Choose straight red peppers for easier stuffing
  • 1 cup = 200 ml
  • Substitutions: sweet Italian peppers for poblano peppers; white rice for Jasmine rice or brown rice; olive oil for sunflower oil; 
  • Stir frequently to prevent rice from sticking to bottom of pan. Rice should be fully cooked, but not dry. If needed add 1/2 cup water before stuffing peppers with it, otherwise stuffing may get too dry during baking. 
  • Meal prep: Prepare the stuffing in advance, then cook the rest in the oven whenever convenient. 
  • No waste: use the cut off tops of peppers for another meal, or cut finely and freeze for future use. 
Keyword authentic recipe, quick and easy dinner
Did you make this recipe?Mention @theeuropeandish on Instagram or tag us so we can see what you’ve made #theeuropeandish!


1 Comment

  1. Lindsey B.
    July 15, 2024 / 7:51 am

    5 stars
    Looks delicious, my grandma used to grow peppers in her garden 🤤

5 from 1 vote

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