Stuffed Banana Peppers with Tomato Sauce
This is one of my favorite dishes–and I have made this recipe and tweaked it until I perfected it.
I have made this recipe so many times and tried every variation of ingredients and cooking preparations and this is my favorite preparation below. But feel free to play with the ingredients to suit your own needs and tastes. I watch my carb content but if you watch your fat content you can substitute low-fat cheese and low-fat cream cheese or omit some of the cheese all together. You could also make a vegetarian variation of this dish by simply excluding the meat or possibly using vegetarian meat crumbles, pesto, or breadcrumbs as a substitute filler.
One more thing–be careful when handling the peppers, the seed’s oils can really burn your skin, no really, I have spent the night in pain with pepper burns and that’s NO BUENO!
6 large (6 inch, straight as possible) Banana peppers aka Hungarian peppers (they will vary in heat content, if you don’t prefer much heat take the seeds out before stuffing)
1/2 lb Breakfast sausage chopped fine (you can substitute your favorite variety of meat, I’ve used everything from hot Italian sausage, chicken sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, ground veal, ground turkey, to meatless crumbles)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Packages of cream cheese
1 cup Shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Shredded parmasean or Romano cheese
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of Tomato sauce
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Blanch the whole, intact peppers in boiling water for 3-5 minutes or until they feel tender, set aside to cool.
Coat large skillet with olive oil and heat up over medium heat, add in 2 chopped garlic cloves and meat. Cook until meat is browned and crumbled, turn off heat and set aside.
Put the pepper down on a cutting board. Cut a slit into the peppers on the top side, down the middle lengthwise, don’t cut off tops(this way all that good stuff stays in the pepper while your cooking them). Be careful when handling peppers with your bare hands, you can be burned by raw peppers and seeds, you might need to wear rubber/plastic gloves. Make sure to de-seed the peppers, they contain a lot of heat. And you never really know how hot they will, I’ve had batches that I left the seeds in and they were so hot they were inedible.
Put peppers in glass casserole pan with a 1 cup of tomato sauce at the bottom of the pan.
Add the warm meat into a bowl with cream cheese and mix together, add in salt and pepper to taste.
Gently spoon stuff peppers with cream cheese and sausage mixture.
Top peppers with mozzarella cheese, then finally a layer of Parmesan cheese, which will add a crispiness.
Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is browned.
Serve warm peppers with tomato sauce and as always enjoy these banging peppers!
I like to make this recipe in big batches and put the left-overs in the fridge; it makes a brilliant quick low-carb snack. One stuffed banana pepper only contains about 275-300 calories, about 6 grams of carb, and 18 grams of protein per serving. They will leave you feeling satisfied for hours.