With a filling that combines grains, meat, veggies, and cheese, stuffed peppers can stand on their own as a meal.
But as delicious and balanced as they are, they look lonely on a plate by themselves. This timeless, classic entrée needs a tasty side dish to complement its savory flavors.
I handpicked the following scrumptious side dishes that will match perfectly with peppers. It is a diverse list that covers both well-loved, traditional recipes as well as some uniquely different ones.
The best part? You can easily make the sides at home using ingredients that may already be in your pantry.
Choose the type of side dish you want to create below, or browse all recipes to get inspired.
I recommend going for a lighter side dish when the stuffing for your peppers is a heavy starch like rice or potatoes. Is there anything lighter than a salad? It is also refreshing, nutritious, and delicious.
There’s a wide variety of salads to choose from, but I simply adore these three salad recipes.
Green Salad with Tangy Lemon Dressing
Everyone who cooks should know how to make a simple green salad. This is an easy side dish that you can put together in 10 minutes or less, and it is so versatile.
This green salad has its own garlic lemon dressing that is bursting with flavor.
- 2 hearts of romaine, sliced thin
- ½ small cabbage, sliced very thin
- 4 celery stalks, sliced thin
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ½ teaspoon salt
- Toss the sliced vegetables in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, sugar, and salt together.
- Pour the dressing over the salad in the big bowl and toss it together.
Blueberry Romaine Salad
You can bring this delicious salad to any gathering. It has a homemade dressing that is very simple. You can prepare it in advance and just quickly toss it with the vegetables when you are ready to serve it at any event–even with your stuffed pepper family dinner.
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon red onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 package hearts of romaine salad mix
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Toss all the salad ingredients in a big bowl.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients except the canola oil. Once they are thoroughly mixed, gradually whisk the oil into the dressing mixture.
- To serve, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat everything evenly.
Don’t let the simplicity of this salad fool you! The flavor combinations of this side dish can get addicting.
The olives and feta cheese provide salty, tangy goodness. Its dressing is very simple as well, with just lemon juice, olive oil, and a few spices. And is it easy? Very. You can get the dressing together in about a minute.
- 2 large cucumbers, sliced
- 5 tomatoes, chopped
- ½ large onion, sliced
- ¼ cup black olives, pitted and sliced
- ¼ cup feta cheese (optional)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Salt and pepper
- Place all the salad ingredients except the feta cheese in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Top with the feta cheese, if desired.
Vegetables (Including Potatoes)
These vegetable side dishes for your stuffed peppers are anything but boring. I must warn you, though: you may want to skip the main dish for these delicious sides.
When you are craving mashed potatoes but want something lighter to go with stuffed peppers, try this side dish instead. It has the same creamy texture as mashed potatoes, but the addition of sour cream, garlic, and butter makes the flavor richer and even a bit indulgent.
- 16-ounce bag of frozen cauliflower
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper
- Microwave the frozen cauliflower according to package instructions. It should be very well done. Using a fork, blender, or food processor, mash the cauliflower.
- Stir in the sour cream and garlic. Put inside the microwave again for a minute or two, until it is heated through.
- Top with butter and season with salt and pepper.
This is a quick, easy to make, and delicious side dish. Instead of the frozen mixed vegetables, you can use fresh vegetables if you prefer to. Just add a tablespoon or more of water to the skillet when you add the fresh veggies.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables (usually carrots, corn, and green beans)
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- Freshly ground pepper
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook for 1 minute or until the onion becomes soft. Add the frozen vegetables. Cover and cook with occasional stirring until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the dill, salt, and pepper.
With its crispiness, taste, and color, this side dish could become your new favorite way of eating potatoes. They are so simple yet so flavorful. They are creamy and fluffy inside and coated with crunchy bits on the outside.
- 1.5 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into halves or quarters, depending on the size
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Boil potatoes in salted water for 5 minutes, until partly tender. Drain and steam dry in a colander for a few minutes.
- Transfer the potatoes to a saucepan and add oil, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cover the saucepan, then shake it to thoroughly coat the potatoes.
- Put the potatoes in a roasting pan, making sure they are evenly spaced apart. Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning them halfway through and cooking them until they are fluffy and crisp.
This recipe will make some people forget that they don’t even like broccoli. It is broccoli like you never had before: crispy, sweet, and spicy. It is also pretty easy to make, saving you precious time while preparing dinner for your family.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 broccoli heads, cut into florets
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In a small bowl mix olive oil, sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, and lime juice.
- Put broccoli florets in a large baking pan and toss in sauce until fully coated. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 20 minutes or until broccoli florets are slightly charred and tender.
Here is a quick, easy, and tasty side dish that is great with everything including stuffed peppers. They are healthier than fried, and one of my go-to sides for busy weeknight meals. They taste so good that your family will think you got them from a restaurant.
- 4 large waxy potatoes
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Cooking spray or 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Wash the potatoes to get rid of dirt, but do not peel them.
- Cut the potatoes in quarters. For larger potatoes, cut each wedge in half lengthwise again. You will have eight wedges from one potato.
- Put the wedges in a large mixing bowl. Spray oil with the cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Toss everything together to coat the potatoes evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread the potato wedges in a single layer on a baking pan lined with a nonstick aluminum foil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until they are golden brown and cooked through. For extra crispy potato wedges, turn them halfway through the baking.
Delicious honey-roasted carrots can be paired with any dish any day of the week. The sweetness of honey will even get your kids to eat their veggies.
- 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a medium casserole dish, mix butter, honey, salt, and pepper. Toss in the carrots and let the butter mixture evenly coat them.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Unique and Different Sides
Let’s face it. Sometimes, traditional side dishes get boring and could really use an upgrade. It’s time to try these sides that will be so good, you might forget about the main dish altogether!
Brussels sprouts are often paired with salty meat like bacon and are generously seasoned with pepper. This recipe calls for flavorful fresh Spanish chorizo and Spanish paprika to complement and enhance this well-loved vegetable.
- 1 ½ pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
- 8 ounces fresh Spanish chorizo, chopped to ½ -inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon Spanish paprika
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- Warm olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide skillet. Make sure it becomes hot, but not smoking. Add the chorizo and let it sizzle until some of its oil is released.
- Mash the chorizo with a wooden spoon until it crumbles. Continue cooking until it turns slightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chorizo, and set it aside. Oil must be left still be bubbling in the skillet.
- Add the brussels sprouts to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Brussels sprouts should be tender and lightly browned. Reduce the heat if the sprouts start to be scorched.
- Add garlic and paprika, and stir to coat the brussels sprouts. Put back the chorizo to the skillet. Continue cooking with stirring for 2 more minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and transfer to a serving dish. Best served hot.
30 Cloves of Garlic Sauce
Yes, you read that correctly: 30 cloves of garlic are needed to make this deliciously bold sauce.
Don’t be scared. The sharp taste of garlic will be softened during cooking. Enjoy it with your stuffed peppers.
- 30 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- In a medium pan, put olive oil, garlic, rosemary sprig, and salt. Sauté garlic over medium heat until it has softened and the rosemary has released its fragrance. Add balsamic vinegar and bring to a low simmer.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce is reduced to 1/3 of its original amount. Stir occasionally.
- Remove from heat and discard the rosemary sprig. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the additional olive oil until you get a loose paste. Keep warm until ready to serve.
A dish of onions, bread crumbs, velvety cheese, and cream sauce? It’s crazy good. This can become a staple in your house, since it’s great both as a side dish or as a snack by itself.
- 6 onions, peeled of skin and the first layer
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 4 sprigs thyme
- ½ cup soft white bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- 5 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon English mustard
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Put the onions in a deep baking dish and pour in the stock. Add the thyme sprigs. Cover tightly using a double layer of foil. Put in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the onions become really soft but can still hold their shape.
- In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs and oil, then add in the cheddar. In another bowl, whisk the cream and mustard.
- Remove the foil and raise the heat to high. Pour the cream mixture over the onions in the dish. Put a pile of cheesy breadcrumbs on top of each onion. Grill for 5 minutes or until the cheese and breadcrumbs are browned, and the cream sauce is bubbling.
Tips to Make Stuffed Peppers
- Par-cooking the bell peppers and fully cooking the meat filling means you need only a quick baking time to melt the cheese. However, if you prefer firmer or tender-crisp bell peppers, don’t par-cook the peppers.
- Choose different colors of large sweet bell peppers to stuff to add color to your meal. Let them stand upright in the baking dish, since it is easier to stuff them this way.
- Try sprinkling some chopped fresh herbs, like oregano or parsley, over each stuffed pepper before serving.
- You can replace rice with other cooked grains to make the dish healthier and low carb. Quinoa, bulgur wheat, or a small pasta are good alternatives.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Should peppers be cooked before stuffing?
It’s not necessary to cook bell peppers before stuffing, especially if you prefer them crisp and firm. However, you can save yourself a lot of time if you do. Stuffed peppers can take as long as 45 minutes to bake, and that can be shortened by at least 15 minutes if you pre-cook the peppers.
You can cook the peppers while you’re making the filling if you want an even shorter prep and cooking time.
What are the best bell peppers for stuffed peppers?
All the different varieties of bell peppers can be used for stuffed peppers. Green, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers are, in fact, all the same type of pepper, just at different stages of ripeness.
You can use multi-color peppers at one time to make your stuffed peppers more colorful and more pleasing to the eye as well as the mouth.
How long will stuffed peppers keep in the fridge?
To maximize the shelf life of cooked stuffed peppers, refrigerate them in shallow, airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. If this is done, they will last 3 to 5 days in the fridge.
You should also refrigerate if you want to prep stuffed peppers one day in advance. The bell peppers should first be cooked before stuffing with the prepared filling. Then, put them in the fridge. The next day, let them rest at room temperature while you preheat the oven.
Can you freeze stuffed peppers?
Yes, you can freeze stuffed peppers, but you will need to bake them first. You can freeze them individually or together in a baking dish. When you reheat them, thaw them in the fridge overnight and then bake at 350°F until they’re fully heated through.
Image Credits from Flickr and Pexels : “Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by healthiermi; “big salad” (CC BY 2.0) by anneheathen; “Warm Beet Salad with Toasted Hazelnut &” (CC BY 2.0) by Vegan Feast Catering; “Greek salad” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by markb120; “Mashed cauliflower anyone? #paleo #David” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by David Reber’s Hammer Photography; “IMG_2428” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by jdavis; “Roasted Potatoes” (CC BY 2.0) by emmadiscovery; “Potato wedges, anyone? (Day 303/360)” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by ms amutha; “Roasted Broccoli” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Laurel Fan; “And of course, roasted honey carrots wit” (CC BY 2.0) by whatleydude; “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by SF à gogo; “Fried Parmesan Eggplant Sticks with a Ga” (CC BY 2.0) by thebittenword.com;”Baked Onions” (CC BY 2.0) by NatalieMaynor