What can you say about the deliciously versatile stuffed bell pepper? Well, besides that it’s a favorite dinnertime meal for so many of us and our families.
Stuffed peppers are one of those recipes that can truly be concocted in a variety of ways; with traditional fillers straight out of Grandma’s oven or spiced up and altered to your heart’s content.
Turn this meal into an ethnic cuisine (Cuban anyone?), or just open up the fridge and use whatever you’ve got. It works!
A lot can be packed into these succulent veggie bowls; meats, veggies, cheeses, beans, and rice to name a few. Think: shepherd’s pie.
And so, it can leave you feeling a bit befuddled about what to serve with stuffed peppers, since you’ve got so much going into them already.
When you have an explosion of rich flavors resulting from a collision of palatable ingredients going on in your main dish, you may want to tone things down with your side dish.
When you can, balancing the scales of your dinner plate with a dish like this may be best.
And so the fun begins…
What Goes with Stuffed Peppers: 15 Appetizing Sides
Here are 15 sides you should definitely consider to accompany your stuffed bell pepper dinner. Again, since we’re dealing with heavier ingredients in the main dish, we’ll try to stick to things on the lighter side.
And when it comes to good food like this we all know it’s hard to stick to just one. The good news is you don’t have to since this is a meal you can enjoy time and time again.
1. Sautéed Yellow Squash and Zucchini
This one is just too perfect not to include in this list. Sure, we’ll get to some ideas that may be outside the box (or bell, in this case!) but we’ll stay true to some good ol’ fashioned selections as well.
It goes without saying that cooked vegetables make great sides for stuffed peppers, so we’re happy to start with this one.
Best of all, you can use some home-grown veggies if you’re so lucky. Bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash? This is definitely a gardener’s delight.
Mel, from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe calls this one of her favorite side dishes that goes with literally anything. We agree! See how she does hers up at: melskitchencafe.com
2. Garlic Roasted Red Potato Wedges
Oven-browned potato wedges, brushed with olive oil and dashed with garlic and Rosemary is downright appealing just on it’s own.
Bring them to the table with your stuffed peppers and you’ll wish your tummy would never fill up. Welcome home delicious!
You really can make these extraordinary with that crispy, golden brown outside and chewy insides.
What’s more is you can also add some special sauces. Too good.
3. Lemon Golden Roasted Artichokes
Prepare for your world to be rocked with this simple twist on artichokes using your oven again, some garlic and lemon juice.
The essence of citrus combined with garlic works so well with the main ingredients in the common stuffed pepper recipe.
Of course, you’ll fall in love and be adding these artichokes as a side to many of your other favorite meals as well…you’ll see!
Once you get the sweet, little tricks to nail this one down you’ll be taking your taste buds to artichoke heaven.
4. Arugula Salad with Lemon and Feta Cheese
Since we’re staying healthy here, let’s continue with another lemon-enhanced side dish.
Lemon works brilliantly with arugula leaves as it offsets the natural bitterness of this healthy green.
Add your soft feta cheese, and you have a quick stuffed pepper side dish that’s not too filling but will definitely not be forgotten.
You can also substitute the feta with Parmesan cheese, Blue Cheese, or goat cheese.
All these are pure complements to roasted peppers.
Adam and Joanne over at Inspired Taste dish up their version of this salad, and you might just want to follow suit.
Check it at: inspiredtaste.net
5. Homemade Puffed Pita Bread
If you just want something simple and nondescript to munch on between your bites of stuffed pepper goodness, why not break some bread? Pita bread is a good choice here.
Done right, it’s a light and elementary side that offers you a little more starch should you lose sight of the rice within your rich stuffed pepper mixture.
As with any of these oven-baked or roasted side dishes, you can pop them in using another rack right along with your peppers.
Pinch and Swirl’s Marissa has developed a recipe with the fewest steps possible.
Check out her short instructions for the puffiest pita bread at: pinchandswirl.com
6. Roasted Eggplant Cubes
Most of us know about fried eggplant. It’s oily, but oh so good. If we bake it, we bread it.
Sure, this too can taste delish but it might be a bit much as a side for stuffed peppers (which is already on the heavy side).
There’s a little-known secret… Roasted eggplant is actually surprisingly wonderful and less filling than its fried state.
It’s the light and healthy version of eggplant if you will.
Want to roast these up to perfection? Tori is just the guide for you.
She shows you what to do on her blog: toriavey.com
7. Creamy Polenta (Corn Grits)
Grits are that bland but blank canvas you can add sweet or savory flavors to. With a stuffed bell pepper dinner, you really can brush on whatever flavor you want.
Sweet would be the recommended choice here. You can get there with cheese and even add in your extra bell pepper scraps from when you cut the tops off for your pepper bowls.
Wanna go even sweeter? Throw in some honey with a little butter, and you’ll have a side dish dessert style – it’s liquid cornbread if you will!
This is one dish where you can experiment with recipes until you get to what you consider the “cream” of the crop version. Enjoy!
8. Cucumber and Avocado Salad
Crispy cucumber meets buttery avocado in this wonderfully wholesome salad.
Add some tomato and cilantro, and you’ll set up a tantalizing affair with your stuffed peppers.
Dill works great for that added touch as well, if cilantro isn’t your thing.
For Stella at Beauty Bites, she went for sesame seeds as her added touch of pizzazz and peeled her cucumber.
It’s definitely a “choose your own style” kinda deal! To see Stella’s unique take head over to: beautybites.org
9. Assorted Cheese Plate
Natural cheeses like Feta, Fontina, Goat, Mozzarella and Parmesan go well with stuffed peppers as they offer just the right sweetness to dance gracefully with your luscious stuffed peppers.
Creating a board with assorted hunks of cheese, crackers, breads and even fruit will take this meal to a new high. For the best flavor, remember to serve your cheeses at room temperature.
Here’s one way to put together a lil’ masterpiece that looks just as amazing as it tastes.
Put on your artist’s hate and paint one eloquent cheese platter for your meal.
10. Boiled Yuca
You probably didn’t realize it, but your meal can actually morph over to the Cuban side. How?
If you stuff your peppers with moro (rice and beans in the Caribbean region) you can cook up some Yuca (YOU-ca) to tie these two Cuban traditions together for a tasty cuisine.
Yuca is a staple side vegetable in Cuba, and if you want to live on the wild side for a moment you can give this one a try.
Don’t worry, the yuca is seasoned to where you’ll quickly understand why the Cubans love it so much.
Follow this video from Chef Buck to see how this root vegetable can jazz up your dinner too.
11. Baked Zucchini fries
The concept of “healthy fries” always sounds like an oxymoron, but if you do it baked zucchini style this statement becomes as true as the great potato famine of the Irish in the 19th century.
This breaded finger food is simply irresistible once you’ve had it, and pairs oh so well as a side dish for stuffed peppers.
12. Quinoa Salad with a Zesty Twist
Another light and refreshing take on a salad that’s a lovely solution to what to serve with stuffed peppers.
This is an allergy-friendly side dish that you can quickly drop in some fresh veggies and enjoy. The zestyness makes it just the right accessory to your peppers.
What makes these salads fun are all the options you have for add-ins.
Try your favorite veggies, from avocado to squash!
13. Cheesy Corn Fritters
Get some fresh corn and fry up some corn fritters brimming with veggies and cheese.
Can’t you just taste the sweetness of corn with your roasted peppers? Now, augment the sweetness subtly with cheese. Too much mmm for stuffed pepper sides.
These little cakes with their sublime crispy edges will have everyone groaning (the good kind) at the table!
Serene from House of Yumm will have your mouth watering the moment you open her recipe page for these unbelievable treats.
Go see it now at: houseofyumm.com
14. Mixed Green Salad with Feta, Golden Raisins and Almonds
You know, a simple mixed green salad is worth putting on this list…not because it goes with pretty much anything, but because of what you can put on this salad.
For stuffed peppers, a little cheese and dashes of sweetness go a long way to satiating even the biggest eaters in your house.
Have a quick look at Gerladine’s site Green Valley Kitchen.
She’s got the skinny on preparing this ‘hit the spot’ salad: greenvalleykitchen.com
15. Garlic Roasted Mushrooms
We cap off our list of what to serve with stuffed bell peppers using one last roasted gem. Little mushroom poppers that will fill your mouth with exquisite bursts of flavor.
Maybe it’s the garlic, or maybe it’s how a little oil and a little salt and a bit of heat bring out the best in mushrooms; these are undeniably fabulous to say the least.
Go make friends with Tracy from The Kitchen Girl, and you’ll have a new side dish trick up your sleeve.
Meet her and this recipe at: thekitchengirl.com
Making Your Stuffed Peppers Taste Great Is the First Step
Before you figure out what to serve with stuffed peppers at the table, you gotta make sure you do your peppers up right.
It’s true there isn’t much too these tasty balls of yum, but here’s a few super quick tips that may help yours turn out even better than you planned.
While green peppers are cheaper, they are less ripe than their older yellow, orange and red siblings. The longer they are on the vine, the sweeter and less bitter they become.
For your recipe, it’s the reds that will give you the most flavor since they’re aged and fully ripened, offering you a more delectable taste.
To keep your edible bell-shaped bowls upright, pick ones that stand up by themselves or just shave off any major bumps on the bottom with a good knife.
Carving Out Peppers
There’s no right or wrong way to cleaning out the seeds and inner ridges of your peppers; just use your instincts and develop your own personal preference.
A knife to pre-cut, then a digging and scraping of the “guts” and seeds with a tablespoon should do you just fine.
Filling Your Peppers
Common stuffing ingredients consists of ground beef, onions, rice, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, tomatoes, and graded cheese.
All of this can be changed of course.
One of my faves is filling it with last night’s shepherd’s pie that we need to heat up and use!
Want to eschew meat? Go vegan and fill with mushrooms, kidney beans, or eggplant along with your rice. This is truly a customizable dish so anything goes!
Cooking Your Stuffed Peppers
At the end of the day, these beauties are going in your oven. Brown your meat and rice mixture in a pan then stuff away. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated.
In theory, you don’t have to cook the fillings all the way since they’ll be roasting away for about an hour.
For the peppers themselves, some cooks like to break their structure down a bit in hot, salted water on the stove before filling and roasting.
The salt will do what it’s supposed to do and enhance the overall flavors from within. Just don’t par-cook too long as things will end up mushy.
What to Serve with Stuffed Peppers Decision?
The above list is merely a sampling of ideas. If you only have a few ingredients on hand but want them to complete and create an extraordinary meal it’s best to stick to sweet.
Sweet-centered foods like cooked onions, tomatoes and squashes will go right along with the sweetness offered by your bell peppers and ground beef as the dominant flavors.
If you go a little cajun or use heavier spices in your mixture (hey, some of us like Tabasco sauce here!), the sweeter side dish will help balance things out for your taste buds and provide a great balance.
For sides that are more bitter like leafy green salads, be sure to dress or top your salads with sweeter add-ons such fresh fruit, cheeses, or carrots and tomatoes.
Related Meals, More Great Sides
Check out these other similar meals and their perfect side dishes.
- Stuffed Cabbage Rolls sides: If you like stuffed veggies, this is another popular dish.
What to Serve with Stuffed Peppers
- Squash and Zucchini
- Roasted Red Potatoes
- Roasted Artichokes
- Arugula Salad
- Pita Bread
- Roasted Eggplant
- Creamy Polenta
- Cucumber & Avocado Salad
- Cheese Plate
- Boiled Yuca
- Zucchini fries
- Quinoa Salad
- Corn Fritters
- Green Salad
- Roasted Mushrooms
- Choose your desired Stuffed Peppers side dish recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create a tasty Stuffed Peppers side to complete your meal!