Hearty Italian meatloaf is baked in colorful sweet bell pepper shells. This is a delicious version of stuffed peppers made with chuck ground beef and Italian sausage, with the bold and hearty flavors of onions, garlic, and oregano. Each pepper holds an individual serving of meat, so it’s great for family meals. If you are serving a crowd, the recipe is easily doubled.
Low-carb adjustments included below in my Notes.
Italian Meatloaf in Peppers Recipe
6 red, green, orange, or yellow bell peppers (sweet capsicum)
1/2 of a medium sweet onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup diced bell pepper (see instructions)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 pounds chuck ground beef (20 percent fat)
1 pound bulk sweet Italian pork sausage (see Note)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon dried oregano, crushed between hands
1/2 cup tomato paste, divided use
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not the canned type)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup (8 ounces) tomato juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut tops horizontally from bell peppers (reserve tops) and clean out the seeds and membranes. If the peppers do not sit level, slice a very thin layer from the bottom of the pepper to stabilize, taking care not to make any holes to the interior. Place peppers in a deep baking pan and set aside.
Trim flesh from around reserved bell pepper stem ends and chop enough for about 1/2 cup. Place onion, chopped bell pepper, and garlic in a microwave-safe dish, cover with plastic wrap (leave at least a 2-inch vent for steam to escape), and microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring once mid-way. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine chuck ground beef, sausage, egg, bread crumbs, oregano, 1/4 cup tomato paste, Parmesan cheese, cooled onion, bell pepper, and garlic mixture, salt, and pepper to taste. Do not overmix.
Stuff peppers with the meatloaf mixture. Top peppers with remaining 1/4 cup tomato paste and parsley. Pour tomato juice around the base of the peppers. Cover pan tightly with foil or a lid. Bake about 1 hour, until meat thermometer inserted in center reaches 175 F. Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving.
Yield: 6 servings
• If you cannot get bulk Italian sausage, use sausage links. Remove and discard the casings to get bulk sausage.
• Low-carb adjustments: For low-carb diets, omit tomato paste and bread crumbs. Bake in muffin cups or mini-loaf pans instead of bell peppers.
Italian Meatloaf in Peppers Recipe Photo ©2017 Peggy Filippone