Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Stuffed Sweet Peppers

August 17th, 2010 · 35 Comments

Stuffed Sweet Pepper

Stuffed Sweet Pepper

The trip to Philadelphia back in May of this year was mostly work, but we did get to dine around and taste some of the fine cuisine in the city where Freedom Rings. One such place was the hotel’s standard restaurant, 13 Restaurant, which was a good place to sit, relax, enjoy a cocktail, and wind down from a day of conferencing.

13 Restaurant, Stuffed Sweet Peppers

13 Restaurant, Stuffed Sweet Peppers

On our first night in town after a day consisting of travel and then walking about town for most of the afternoon, back at the room we decided to just make it to the lobby and wander into the restaurant, which was fine for us, we were beat.

13 Restaurant Menu

13 Restaurant Menu

The restaurant boasts an eclectic menu of seafood, meats, and some vegetarian offerings as well. I selected the sweet peppers vegetarian item, and Monique ordered the crab cakes. Both were great, in fact, the crab cakes were mostly crabmeat, which is far and few between most restaurant fare these days.

Therefore, on to the stuffed sweet peppers, this dish is worthy of a remake, especially since at this time, we had just wrapped up our 6th week on the ETL diet. Moreover, vegetarian entrees at traditional restaurants are always a welcome treat!

The real challenge is the ability to take an item from a restaurant menu without a recipe, deconstruct the ingredients, proportions, preparations, flavors, and methods, and then recreate it from the bottom up. This is exactly what I did with this recipe. Knowing the foundations of how a bell pepper gets stuffed, constructing a balance of the stuffing ingredients, and improving on the flavor are the keys to this dish.

Look at the photo at the top, the one of the lone stuffed pepper, that is representative of this recipe.

Do you notice anything different between that one and the second image of the sweet peppers that the restaurant served?

Notice how our pepper is standing up with a firm yet al dente flesh, no sauce, and is garnished with micro greens. Now, look at the restaurant stuffed peppers, they are limp, laying on their sides, and charred on the top, and with the tomato garlic sauce on the bottom of the plate. The main differences in how we prepared our stuffed peppers and how the restaurant did theirs is that we did not par-boil our peppers, we did not char-broil the tops to brown the cheese, and there is no sauce with our version.

This is how the item is displayed on the Thirteen dinner menu:

Stuffed Sweet Peppers Garbanzos/Spinach/Mushrooms/Rice/Tomatoes/Vermont Cheddar/Chunky Tomato Sauce 16

What follows is our take on the recipe based on the menu description and more from the look and taste of them, I ate this dish on both visits to the restaurant. Our version is so moist that there was no need for the chunky tomato sauce with garlic, however, it would not take away any of the flavor from the sweet pepper should you decide to incorporate one into the recipe.

The recipe…

4 Large Sweet peppers, red, yellow, or orange
Spray olive oil
¾ Cup Red onions, fine chop
¼ Cup Shallots, minced
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
3 Cups Mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
2 Cup Tomatoes, diced
1 Cup Brown rice, cooked
1 Cup Garbanzo beans, cooked
4 Cups Spinach, fresh, chopped
½ Cup Vegetable stock
To taste Salt and white pepper
1 ½ Cups Vermont cheddar cheese, shredded
½ Cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
½ Cup Warm water
Procedure Steps
1. Slice each pepper in half at the equator; remove any seeds and ribs from the inside. Place the eight halves with the open side up in a 9×9 pan. Pre heat oven to 450° F.

Prepped sweet peppers ready for filling

Prepped sweet peppers ready for filling

2. Using an oil mister, spray enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a sauté pan. Add the onions, shallots, and sauté until soft and translucent over medium high heat, then add the garlic and continue to sauté, stirring often. Add the mushrooms and lemon juice and continue to sauté until mushrooms are soft. Add the tomatoes, stir well, and then cover to stew down for about ten minutes.
3. Remove the cover and allow the moisture to reduce to almost dry, and then add the rice and garbanzo beans stirring well. Mash several of the garbanzo beans to help thicken up the stuffing. Add the vegetable stock and stir well. Season the filling with salt and white pepper.
4. Toss in the spinach and stir well, then turn off the heat.  The spinach will wilt gently into the filling, and stir well to spread out the ingredients among the filling.

Stuffing for the Sweet Peppers

Stuffing for the Sweet Peppers

5. Spoon the filling evenly between the eight open peppers. Combine the two shredded cheeses and evenly sprinkle over the tops of the filled peppers.

Sweet peppers filled, ready for cheese

Sweet peppers filled, ready for cheese

Shredded Vermont Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses top the stuffed peppers

Shredded Vermont Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses top the stuffed peppers

6. Pour in the ½-cup of water, or about ¼ inch of water into the pan, making sure you do not get any water in the peppers.
7. Cover the pan with heavy-duty foil and place in the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes.
8. Remove the foil and continue to bake in the oven for 10 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Once out of the oven allow the peppers to cool for about 10 minutes, then serve them on individual plates.

This recipe will serve eight.

Stuffed Sweet Peppers out of the oven

Stuffed Sweet Peppers out of the oven

Dinner is served!

Taking the first bites from the Stuffed Sweet Pepper

Taking the first bites from the Stuffed Sweet Pepper

If you are in downtown Philadelphia and want to try out 13 Restaurant…

13 Restaurant
Marriott Philadelphia Downtown
1201 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 625-6795

Breakfast: 6am-11:30am
Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm
Monday – Thursday 5pm-10pm
Friday – Saturday 5pm-11pm
Sunday 11-2pm

Payment Information:
American Express, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, Master Card, Visa

Bon appetite!

©2010 CCR

Tags: Entrees · Healthy · Recipes · Vegetarian · Whole Foods Cuisine

35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Arnold // Aug 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    This really looks good. I can just imagine the taste of the parmesan together with the distinctive taste of the peppers. I am very far from Philadelphia but at least now I know how to make these at home. Thanks.

  • 2 Torviewtoronto // Aug 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    love making stuffed peppers lovely vegetables

  • 3 Lisa~Korean American Mommy // Aug 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    These look perfect! Creamy, flavorful and healthy!

  • 4 Thomas Andrew // Aug 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I love stuffed peppers and that looks like some pure cheesy goodness!

  • 5 Shree // Aug 17, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    how very lovely. I must say I do like your version better. I am not a big fan of limp peppers even though they are smooth and get a creamy texture. For stuffed peppers, I prefer them to at least retain their shape. This recipe is amazing.

  • 6 Evan @swEEts // Aug 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Holy delicious. My roommate in college used to make stuffed peppers and I always loved it when she did.. these look great! I’m definitely adding it to my recipe collection!

  • 7 Kristen // Aug 17, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    What a fabulous way to stuff peppers. It looks like you did a spot on job of remaking the meal you had in Philly.

  • 8 Elizabeth Able // Aug 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm


  • 9 Claudia // Aug 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    My peppers are just coming and these are perfect. Parboil the peppers? Heavens to Betsy – never occurred to me! Peppers never looked so enticing.

  • 10 pegasuslegend // Aug 17, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    wow this is awesome love the idea and tips

  • 11 Patty Price // Aug 17, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Love stuffed bell peppers, great recipe, they look fresh and deliciously savory, yum!

  • 12 penny aka jeroxie // Aug 17, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    How true about deconstructing a dish from a restuarant and you do it so well!

  • 13 Jillyann // Aug 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Beautiful and colorful dish Chef…lots of healthy ingredients. Thanks for the post!

  • 14 Mary // Aug 18, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Love that stuffing – these are gorgeous and your photography is simply perfection!!

  • 15 Gitte // Aug 18, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Great looking stuffed peppers, love the different colors and the stuffing. Sound very delicious.

  • 16 Conor @ HoldtheBeef // Aug 18, 2010 at 6:43 am

    They look fantastic, great dish.

    Also, crab cakes with mostly crab? Well I never!

  • 17 Emily @Cleanliness // Aug 18, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Holy Moses I’m drooling.

  • 18 Drick // Aug 18, 2010 at 10:08 am

    just love it – like how you were able to reconstruct the recipe but then, but then you are ‘da man’

  • 19 Evelyne@cheapethniceatz // Aug 18, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Oh lovely stuffed sweet peppers. its a nice change from my mom’s nightmarish ground beef and rice with canned tomato sauce from childhood lol.

  • 20 Carol Egbert // Aug 18, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Keeping the peppers al dente is definitely the route to better flavor and texture. I choose your version.

  • 21 Cajun Chef Ryan // Aug 18, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Evelyne, you are so right, the old style stuffed peppers had their place years ago…in the past!

    Drick, no…you ‘da man’

    Carol, so glad you agree!

    Conor, indeed, crab is king!

  • 22 Brie // Aug 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    wow, those look amazing! stuffed peppers are one of my favorite things to eat, and the ingredients you used for these look so delicious! i wish i had these for lunch today!

  • 23 The Mom Chef // Aug 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    ::sigh:: My mom made dolma (the stuffed vegetable kind…we call the stuffed grape leaves sarma) with peppers, zucchini, tomato and eggplant when I was young and I couldn’t stand the consistency of the peppers, tomato and eggplant. I never got over that. It looks amazing though. 🙂

  • 24 Marisa @ Cook's Book // Aug 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Beautiful dish. That photo with the peppers from right out of the oven with all the melty cheese on top makes me soo hungry. Love how you took something good and made it even better!

  • 25 5 Star Foodie // Aug 18, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Your stuffed peppers are picture perfect! The filling looks very delicious!

  • 26 Amanda // Aug 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Oh yum, those sound SOO good right now!

  • 27 Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog // Aug 18, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Adore stuffed sweet peppers and gorgeous tips. Them with cheese on top is absolutely incredible 🙂

    All the best,


  • 28 Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective // Aug 19, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Oh, I can almost smell them! Fantastic!

  • 29 Jacquelyn // Aug 19, 2010 at 12:09 am

    This definitely looks like what I’ll be making dinner tomorrow night! Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  • 30 Pepy @Indonesia Eats // Aug 19, 2010 at 5:41 am

    I always love everything stuffed, either the European or Asian style.

  • 31 Barbara @Modern Comfort Food // Aug 19, 2010 at 7:42 am

    When my husband (aka Pepperphobic) is out of town, as he is now, I eat peppers virtually every night. I love the healthier approach you’ve used here to stuff my favorite vegetable and have bookmarked this beauty. The combination of ingredients and flavors sounds wonderful!

  • 32 marla {family fresh cooking} // Aug 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Love that these are stuffed with chickpeas instead of meat. They look delicious!!

  • 33 shauna // Aug 21, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Hey Chef Ryan,

    What a lovely blog you have. And I’d be happy to share this food with you!

    You were chosen, randomly, as one of the winners of the giveaway on my blog. Can you contact me at thanks!

  • 34 kateiscooking // Aug 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I’m glad we were both on the same page this week 🙂 Those peppers look wonderful!!! I’m with you – I’d never dream of parboiling a pepper before stuffing it. I like it to be a bit firm and not mushy. Happy Sunday! Kate

  • 35 Cindy Waffles // Aug 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    The stuffed peppers look fantastic! Really like your choice of fillings!