Last Updated on: 13th March 2023, 07:54 am
Italian Stuffed Red Peppers with Bread Stuffing are red bell peppers stuffed with a flavorful, moist bread stuffing with pieces of cured Italian sausage baked with tomato sauce! They’re perfect comfort food for your Italian Sunday dinner.
My beloved late aunt introduced this recipe to me over twenty years ago and I loved it from the first time I took a bite. Usually, she made her stuffed peppers roasted, using cubanelle peppers without tomato sauce. They’re fabulous too.
I though it was interesting to use sweet red bell peppers (which I love) and cook them in the Sunday gravy which I also love. The tomato sauce flavors the red bell peppers and in turn the peppers flavor the sauce. It’s so delicious!
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What’s more is that you don’t have to cook the bell peppers first. Just bake them, covered in aluminum foil, for 1 and a 1/2 hours. They taste even better the next day so they’re perfect to make ahead for parties.
I grew up on Italian food. I’m so Italian that I didn’t know bread and butter was “a thing” until a friend came over one day after elementary school and asked me for butter for the bread I gave her.
Italian Stuffed Red Peppers with Bread Stuffing
It’s quite a delicious flavor combination and I’m happy to share it with you. You can use your favorite tomato sauce but, using a good homemade tomato sauce recipe makes all of the difference.
You may be thinking to yourself that adding mozzarella cheese on top of this casserole would make it even more delicious and I’m not going to say no, so do that if you wish.
Don’t forget to see the make ahead instructions below, so you can make them for a holiday dinner.
How to Make Homemade Bread Cubes
Unless it’s Thanksgiving time, it’s difficult to find UNSEASONED bread cubes to make stuffing (or filling as its called in the southern states.) Therefore, I bought an Italian bread loaf, sliced it and left it out on a baking sheet overnight. In the morning, I tore it into small cubes to use for the stuffing.
Use good quality ingredients to make this stuffing, especially the bread and olive oil. Also, use fresh parsley and garlic.
Making this recipe is easy!
First, clean the bell peppers- wash them, remove the stems, seeds and membranes.
Then prep the filling ingredients to add to the bread cubes:
Then, stuff the peppers.
Next, pour tomato sauce (I suggest homemade gravy) on them and bake them at 400F for 1 hour and 15 minutes!
Don’t they look DELICIOUS?!
- Use store-bought, soft bread cubes but, let them sit out overnight so they get stale.
- If cured Italian sausage is unavailable to you, ask the deli counter to slice a 1/4 inch slice of prosciutto for you and then cut that into 1/4 inch cubes. If prosciutto is unavailable to you, use hard salami but, it will have a milder taste.
- Use 1 tsp of granulated garlic if you don’t have fresh garlic.
- Use curly parsley instead of the flat leaf parsley. I don’t suggest using dried parsley but do what you must.
Make Ahead Instructions
Follow the instructions in the recipe card below, but don’t bake them. They can be prepped and kept in the refrigerator the day before and then baked an additional 10-15 minutes.
If you want to freeze them, first cover them tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil and place them in the freezer for up to two months.
Follow the instructions in the recipe card below and allow them to cool. Put them in the refrigerator for up to two days and reheat in 400F oven, covered in aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
If you want to freeze them, allow them to cool, first cover them tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil and place them in the freezer for up to two months. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in 400F oven, covered in aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
How to Reheat in Oven
Preheat oven to 400F. Place stuffed peppers covered in aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours assuming the peppers are not frozen and cold from being in the refrigerator.
These stuffed peppers with bread filling are superb! They need to be included in your next Sunday dinner! Your family will thank you. Plus, you can make some vegetarian simply by omitting the cured Italian sausage.
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Italian Stuffed Red Peppers with Bread Stuffing
- 11 small red bell peppers or 6 large
- 11 cups unseasoned bread cubes stale bread cubes
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 ounces cured Italian sausage, cut into 1/4 inch cubes or prosciutto or salami if unavailable
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 32 oz tomato sauce
- First, to a medium bowl, add eggs, oil, cubed cured Italian sausage, parsley, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Lightly stir.
- Then, add the egg mixture to the bread cubes and stir until the bread cubes are well-covered in the egg mixture. Let the mixture stand 30 minutes to soften. NOTE: If using soft bread cubes, you can proceed to the next step and not wait as they're already soft and ready to use.
- Then, preheat oven to 400F.
Stuffing the Peppers
- Next,, select a baking dish. It's best to have the stuffed peppers fit snug into the baking dish so that the peppers are somewhat emerged into the sauce. Consider this when selecting a baking dish. Add 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce to the bottom of a 13" x 9" x 3" or similar size baking dish.
- Next, clean peppers: rinse them, cut the top stem off and remove seeds and membranes.
- Then, when the stuffing is soft enough, using your clean hands, begin stuffing the breading into the bottom of a red bell pepper. Push down gently and fill the pepper to the top and lie in the baking dish. Fill the remaining peppers with the bread filling.
- Next, pour the remaining tomato sauce on top of the peppers. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 400F for 1 hour and 15 min for small stuffed peppers and 1 hour and 30 to 1 hour and 40 minutes for large stuffed peppers. Pierce a knife into the side to test if they're tender to remove. Only do this at the one hour and 15 min mark or longer.