3 ratings

Serbian-Style Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Start with tomato sauce that will sit under the peppers as they cook
Courtesy of E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune; Mark Graham/food styling

Want to make sure your rice is cooked perfectly every time for this ground beef stuffed peppers recipe? Use a rice cooker.

This recipe written by JeanMarie Brownson originally appeared in The Chicago Tribune.

Ready in
2 h 15 m
45 m
(prepare time)
1 h 30 m
(cook time)
Calories Per Serving


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 box (26 ounces) or 1 can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes with liquid
  • 1/2 Teaspoon each: ground coriander, salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 Pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 Cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 Cup currants or chopped raisins
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 generous cup warm cooked rice
  • 1/4 Cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon each: cinnamon, salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon each: allspice, finely ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 6 small yellow or red sweet bell peppers, 3 pounds total (or 8 to 12 large long red or yellow Anaheim peppers)
  • Fresh dill or parsley for garnish


For tomato sauce: 

Cook 1 medium onion in 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add 2 cloves of garlic; cook, 30 seconds.

Stir in canned tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon each coriander and salt.

Simmer, stirring often, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, for filling:

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet until hot.

Add 1 medium, chopped yellow onion and ground meat.

Cook and stir over medium heat, breaking meat up into small pieces, until browned, about 10 minutes.

Stir in green pepper, currants and 3 cloves garlic; cook and stir, 5 minutes.

Stir in rice, nuts, paprika, cinnamon, salt, allspice and pepper.

Remove from heat.

Stir in dill.

Taste and adjust salt.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the top quarter off the peppers so you can remove the stem and core.

Use your fingers or a small spoon to scrape out the seeds.

Pour about three-quarters of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

Use a spoon to stuff each pepper full to the brim with the meat filling.

Stand the stuffed peppers upright in the sauce. (If using Anaheim peppers, you will have to lay them in the sauce.)

When all the peppers are filled, spoon some of the remaining sauce over the top of each stuffed pepper.

Pour 1/2 cup water into the sauce in the bottom of the dish.

Cover the dish tightly with foil.

Bake until the peppers are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour for the Anaheim peppers or 1 hour and 15 minutes for the bell peppers.

Let cool a few minutes.

Serve garnished with dill or parsley