I love a good stuffed pepper, but I don’t relish the time involved: brown the meat, cook the rice, prep the tomato sauce, stuff the pepper, then bake (or cook in the crock pot). Plus, there’s the trickiness of eating a stuffed pepper — the moment you cut it, it falls apart. So, I was delighted when I came across this stuffed bell pepper soup on Skinnytaste (I told you I was obsessed!). It was billed as a “lazy stuffed pepper” — all the taste without the more tedious parts of prepping a traditional stuffed pepper, and certainly easier to eat. This description was right-on: Each bite was a perfect flavor packet of peppers, seasoned ground beef, tomatoes and rice. It was so delicious that Johnny ate nearly three servings, and the boys polished off a big bowl each. To be fair, I knew this would go over well with Jack and Derek, since they have an inexplicable love of bell peppers, to the point where they often request raw peppers for a snack.
This meal is very easy to put together — all you need to do is chop up the peppers, onion and garlic, open some cans and cook it all in one pot. If you use ready-made or leftover rice, the whole thing comes together even more quickly. Oh, and did I mention that each generous serving (1 and 1/3 cup soup plus 1/2 cup rice) is only 262 calories? What’s not to love?
Makes 6 1 and 1/3 cup servings
- 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (instead of using a portion of two peppers, I just used one big red bell pepper)
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 14.5-oz cans petite diced tomatoes
- 1 and 3/4 cups tomato sauce (the kind from a can, NOT pasta sauce in a jar)
- 2 cups reduced sodium, fat-free chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (I skipped this)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: cooked rice as a topping for the soup (1/3 cup of rice per serving)
Brown the meat in a large pot over high heat and season with salt. If there’s any fat, drain it, then return the pot to the stove over medium-low heat, and add peppers, onion and garlic to the meat. Cook on low for about five minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, marjoram (if using), salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes. If desired, top each 1 1/3 cup serving of soup with 1/2 cup of cooked rice.