Stuffed bell peppers can take several hours to make, standing over a pot of boiling water and baking. But microwave stuffed peppers makes a convenient alternative to save time and prevent your kitchen from overheating on a hot day.
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Microwave meals usually evoke images of high preservative, high fat foods such as microwave burritos and TV dinners, but this is one recipe that fits with a healthy lifestyle.
Bell peppers are typically used to make stuffed peppers because of their mild flavor and ability to stand upright. As an added bonus, bell peppers are also an excellent source of vitamin C, according to the USDA.
Microwave Stuffed Peppers
Step 1: Pick Your Peppers
Choose peppers that are free from soft spots or wrinkles. Store unwashed, fresh bell peppers in the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below for up to three or four days, as advised by The University of Maine Extension.
Step 2: Prep Your Peppers
Wash the peppers under cold running water thoroughly to remove any dirt and debris. Place the peppers on a clean cutting board. Cut the tops and stems from the peppers with a kitchen knife.
Dice the pepper tops with your kitchen knife and lay aside to be used in the stuffing mixture, if desired. Scoop out the pepper seeds and soft light-colored flesh from the inside of the peppers with a kitchen knife or spoon, as recommended by the University of Maryland Extension.
Step 3: Put Peppers in Pan
Fill a microwave-safe glass dish with about 1 inch of water. Stand the peppers up in the glass baking dish with the open side of the pepper facing down.
Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap; poke several holes into the plastic wrap with a toothpick to allow the steam to vent.
Step 4: Microwave Stuffed Peppers
Place the glass baking dish into the microwave. Cook your bell peppers in the microwave on the high setting between 4 to 6 minutes to soften the peppers. Remove the baking dish from the microwave and take off the plastic wrap.
Step 5: Remove the Water
Remove the water from the glass dish and return the peppers to the dish with the open sides facing up.
Step 6: Make Your Rice
Combine rice and water in a microwave-safe bowl, using twice as much water as rice. It takes about 1 cup of dry rice to make enough cooked rice to fill 6 large peppers.
Microwave the rice for about 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the liquid is absorbed. If you want to add the diced pepper caps and other vegetables such as onions, stir them into the rice for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
If you want to save time, you can use leftover rice or purchase packets with pre-cooked, microwaveable rice that only take 1 to 2 minutes to prepare. Stir tomato sauce into the rice mixture, along with your choice of seasonings and spices, if desired.
Step 7: Stuff the Peppers
Fill the peppers with the rice mixture. Pack the stuffing slightly to help the peppers stand up in the baking dish. Cover the baking dish tightly with new plastic wrap. Poke several holes in the plastic wrap to allow the pepper steam to escape.
Step 8: Heat Stuffed Bell Peppers
Place the baking dish in the microwave and cook the stuffed bell peppers on the high setting for 7 to 10 minutes or until the peppers are cooked thoroughly. Remove the baking dish from the microwave; pull the plastic wrap from the baking dish.
Step 9: Add Some Sauce
Pour tomato sauce over the stuffed peppers, if desired. Return the dish to the microwave and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and thickens.
Read more: Are Hot Peppers Good for You?
Add Some Variety
If you want to add meat to the stuffing mixture, you can brown beef or sausage in a skillet and stir it in just before stuffing the peppers. Alternatively, look for pre-cooked chicken pieces to avoid using the stove entirely.
Leave the peppers uncovered on the second cooking cycle to give the stuffing a crispy texture.
Rice is commonly used for stuffed peppers, but you can easily substitute for similar foods such as quinoa or orzo. Alternatively, you can stuff it with a meat mixture similar to meatballs or meatloaf.
There is no single correct way to make stuffing for stuffed peppers. Use this as an opportunity to clean out your refrigerator by using whatever you have on hand.
Things You'll Need
Microwave-safe glass dish
Rice or similar stuffing ingredient