Oh, how tasty these bison stuffed peppers are! Surprise your family with a cozy and nutritious meal prepared with mini bell peppers stuffed with ground bison, rice and baked until perfectly cooked in a creamy tomato sauce.
Stuffed peppers are a staple dish in Ukraine. There are a lot of different recipes and ways to make them. For example, these Ukrainian stuffed bell peppers.
Today, I am showing you another variation of this amazing dish. They are perfect for any celebration or gathering at your home. Make a bigger batch if you have over 6 guests because these bison stuffed bell peppers will be gone fast.
There are a lot of ground bison recipes, but this one is one of our favorite.
Why you will love this recipe
- it is a balanced meal: vegetables, carbs and healthy protein in one dish. No need to cook anything else.
- most importantly, the creamy tomato sauce: just make it and you will see what I mean. It is so so tasty.
- this recipe is very versatile: you can make it with ground turkey, beef, pork or any combination of meats you love. If you decide to mix the meats, beef and pork are the best ones to mix.
- we are using mini bell peppers, they are fun, and even picky eaters are usually willing to give it a try.
- and they taste even better the next day. Just make sure to use all the sauce left at the bottom as well.
Bison stuffed peppers ingredients are available all year round at local grocery stores. If you cannot find ground bison (I get mine at Whole Foods), use beef or pork instead. Sometimes mini bell peppers are not in stock, so use regular size bell peppers, just less quantity.
- Ground Bison: bison is a delicious lean meat, that is tender and flavorful after cooking. Bison meat is high in nutrients and has fewer calories compared to beef due to less fat content. Most bison meat is raised without antibiotics and hormones.
- Mini Bell Peppers: they are usually sold in 1 pound bags in a produce section. It takes more work to stuff mini peppers, but their flavor and the way they get cooked to be so soft and juicy faster than large ones. You are welcome to use regular size bell peppers too, just adjust quantities and time.
- Rice: I used organic jasmine rice. But you can use any rice you have, even a brown one will work.
- Onion: just a little bit of yellow onion, diced small and cooked. It will be added to the meat mix for more flavor.
- Salt: I added some salt by taste to the meat mix, not much because the sauce will contain sodium as well and I always aim for lower sodium recipes.
- Spice Mix: garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, and coriander. You can use your favorite spices here.
- Olive oil: just a tiny bit for cooking the garlic.
- Garlic: some fresh garlic to make the sauce.
- Tomato Sauce: one can of plain tomato sauce, regular or no sodium. If you are using no sodium, do not forget to add some salt by taste to the sauce. I do not recommend using any marinara or basil tomato sauces. The flavor will be too strong and will interfere with the bell peppers flavors.
- Herbes De Provence: just a little bit of these dry herbs. You can use basil or oregano instead.
- Sugar: I know it sounds unhealthy, but plain tomato sauce can be quite sour, and just a little bit of sugar is needed for balancing the sourness and to bring up more flavors.
- Water: you will need water for cooking rice and some to add to the tomato sauce.
- Heavy Cream: adding some heavy cream will bring our sauce to another level. If you are dairy-free, use the same amount of full-fat coconut cream. It will taste great as well.
- Rosemary: I added a few fresh twigs to the baking pan. You can easily skip this ingredient.
See recipe card for quantities
- Knife and a cutting board
- Medium Pan
- Mixing Bowl
- Frying Pan
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cup
- Glass Baking Dish (I used 13x9)
1. Measure the rice and rinse it couple of times until water runs almost clear. Measure the rice and rinse it a couple of times until the water runs almost clear. In a medium pan, add rice and water. Bring to boil, cover, and cook until rice is fully or almost cooked (al dente). Meanwhile, rinse the mini bell peppers. Cut the tops off and remove the seeds. I used my hands to remove the seeds, just be careful not to break the pepper. If you cannot get out some of the seeds, just leave them there. You can also turn the pepper with the cut-down and knock on its side with the dull side of the knife. Most seeds will fall out.
2. In a frying pan, add chopped onion and cook until translucent.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add ground bison, salt, spices, cooked onion, and ½ cup of cooked rice. If you have more cooked, add it as well. Just do not add more than ¾ cup of cooked rice. Mix everything until combined. But do not overdo it.
4. Now, it's time to fill each mini pepper with the meat mix. I used a small spoon and fingers. Lay each stuffed pepper on a side in a baking dish, in a single layer. If there is a meat mic left, form the balls and place it next to the peppers.
5. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using the same frying pan you fried onions (no need to wash it), add another splash of olive oil and chopped garlic. Cook until fragrant. Now add a can of tomato sauce, water, ½ teaspoon of sugar, and dry herbs. Cover and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Then, add heavy cream, mix everything until combined, turn off the heat. If you are using sodium-free sauce, add salt by taste.
6. Pour the sauce over the peppers. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 45-60 minutes until the meat is fully cooked and reaches 165°F. The peppers will be tender when cooked.
7. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and your favorite bread. Enjoy!
- Serve these delicious mini stuffed bell peppers with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
- These bison-stuffed peppers can be a complete meal, but it can become even better when served with a side of delicious roasted green beans and carrots.G
Storing and reheating
Refrigeration: when the peppers cool down, store them in a glass container with the lid for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave, or frying pan with a tiny bit of water, covered and low heat.
Freezing: freeze the portions of 4-5 peppers in separate bags up for 3 months. Thaw the needed amount of peppers in the fridge overnight or reheat them right away in the oven-safe dish for 30 minutes at 350° F, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Recipe variations and substitutions
-make it low-carb by swapping white rice for the same amount of "cauliflower rice".
-use different grains instead of rice: quinoa or buckwheat will work best.
-if you cannot find bison use any other ground meat (not very lean); turkey, beef, pork.
-use regular size bell peppers (4-5 ea) instead of mini peppers. I do recommend using mini ones if possible because they become super juicy, flavorful, and tender when baked in a creamy sauce.
-make it a dairy-free meal by swapping heavy cream for the same amount of full-fat coconut milk. Use vegan sour cream for serving instead of dairy one.
-make it paleo by using cauliflower rice (instead of white rice) and coconut milk (instead of heavy cream).
Other cozy dinner ideas
- Traditional Ukrainian Borscht recipe
- Chicken and broccoli lasagna
- Beef Stuffed Peppers recipe
- Ukrainian Braised Cabbage recipe
Bison stuffed peppers
- 1 pan with lid for cooking the rice
- 1 Frying Pan for making the sauce
- 1 Large Mixing Bowl for making the meat mix
- 1 set measuring spoons
- 1 Measuring Cup
- 1 large baking dish (13x9)
- 1 sheet of foil to cover the baking dish
- 1.5-2 pounds mini bell peppers
- ⅓ cup dry rice
- ⅔ cup water for cooking the rice
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons diced onion
- 1 pound ground bison
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove diced fresh garlic
- 1 can plain tomato sauce 15 oz
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon herbes de provence
- ½ cup water for the sauce
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 twigs fresh rosemary optional
- Rinse and cook the rice (can be slightly uncooked or al dente). Let it cool down little bit.
- Cut off the tops of peppers and remove the seeds.
- In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add diced onion and cook until translucent.
- In a large mixing bowl, add ground bison, cooked rice, cooked onions, salt, spice mix. Mix everything until combined.
- Fill each mini bell pepper with the meat and rice mix. Lay the stuffed peppers in one layer on a baking dish. If you have leftovers of meat mix, form large meatballs and place them in the pan as well.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat the same frying pan (same where you cooked onions, no need to wash) and add another splash of olive oil if needed. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomato sauce, water, sugar and herbes de provence. Turn heat on low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and mix until the sauce is one consistency. Turn off the heat.
- Pour the sauce into the baking dish, over the peppers. Add few twigs of fresh rosemary. Cover the dish tightly with the foil. Bake 45-60 minutes or until the peppers become soft and meat cooked. Enjoy hot with a dollop of sour cream.
- if you have meat mix leftovers, form few large meatballs and cook them with the peppers.
- taste the sauce, add more spices and salt if needed.
- when baking, place another pan under the baking dish. The foil can get splashes and condensates, that can drip at the bottom of the oven.