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Romanian Stuffed Peppers(With Instant Pot Instructions)

The stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) recipe is a favorite in many parts of the world. The peppers are easy to make and delicious. Perfect for lunch or a great family dinner, stuffed peppers can be served by themselves or right next to mashed potatoes or other vegetables.

Note: This article will show you step by step how to make stuffed peppers on the stove or in an Instant Pot. You can skip the article and jump to the recipe, but you will miss valuable information about how to make these peppers successfully.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) are a favorite meal in many parts of the world. They are easy to make and delicious. This is a Romanian recipe.

Stuffed Peppers – Romanian Style

I grew up with this recipe that comes from Romania. The recipe is very popular and I often make it, especially in the summer when peppers are in full season.

The peppers are filled with ground meat, like pork, beef, or a mixture of both. I prefer the recipe with ground pork or a mixture of pork and beef because the pork adds flavor and a little bit of fat to the peppers.

In my opinion, just like the stuffed cabbage rolls or meatballs, the peppers taste better with pork because of the amount of fat in the meat. If you are a vegetarian, you can definitely still make them only with rice and herbs, but you can also add chopped mushrooms for a protein bonus.

Romanian Stuffed Peppers Ardei Umpluti11

What kinds of peppers are good for this recipe?

I use either sweet red bell peppers(any color works fine) or Cubanelle if it is available. I like the red bell peppers because they are sweeter than the dark green ones and less acidic.

The original recipe is made with a type of pepper that resembles the Cubanelle Italian pepper. These peppers are sweet, light green, and longer in size than the regular bell pepper we know in the US.

These are the Romanian peppers we use most of the time in our cooking.

green pepper

They can be also found in the Hungarian cuisine, where they are very popular.

These beauties are filled with ground pork, beef, or a mixture of them, rice, and herbs, and swim in a delicious tomato sauce.

The dish is baked in the oven, so your house will smell awesome too. You can definitely make them on the stove, but in my humble opinion, baked are much better.

Here is a picture of the Cubanelle peppers.

Cubanelle peppers prepared for stuffing

I tried to take some pictures on different occasions to see how the stuffed peppers look like when you use different types of peppers.

How to make the Romanian stuffed peppers:

First step- Gather the ingredients.

For this recipe you will need:

  • Peppers
  • Ground meat- could be pork, beef, or a combination of both
  • Rice- regular rice, or brown rice- please do not use instant rice, it is not good for this recipe
  • Onions
  • Tomato sauce
  • Dill, Parsley- fresh or dried
  • Salt, pepper and thyme
Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) -ingredients

Step 2. Prepare the peppers:

Cut the top of the peppers, remove the seeds and set them aside.

red peppers

Step 3- Make the filling.

Grab a bowl and place in it the ground meat of your choice, chopped onion, rice, and spices and add a little bit of water to help you obtain a paste mixture.

ground meat and rice mixture for Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti)

Finally,  fill the peppers with the meat mixture.

The stuffed peppers already look delicious, don’t you think?

Stuffed peppers

Step 4- Assemble the peppers and cook

Accommodate the peppers in a baking dish and make a sauce out of tomato paste, water, salt, and pepper. Pour that sauce over the peppers.

Stuffed peppers sitting in a baking pan

Cover the pot with a lid, but you can use aluminum foil instead. Place the peppers in the oven and let them cook for about an hour.

When you cook them like that, the peppers take the flavors of the rest of ingredients and end up tasting delicious.

Tip: I took them out of the oven and flipped them on the other side, then placed them back in the oven without a cover. I wanted them to get a nice golden brown color and the sauce to reduce a little bit.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti)

This is a picture I took on a different occasion when I used the Cubanelle peppers, much smaller than the bell peppers you saw previously.

Romanian Stuffed Peppers Ardei Umpluti

Here is another time when I also used the leftover meat to make a few stuffed grape leaves and cook them together with the peppers.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) and stuffed grape leaves

They are ready when a fork goes easily through the pepper’s skin and when the meat and rice are cooked inside. Serve them warm with sour cream on top.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) with stuffed grape leaves cooking in a pan

How do you serve these stuffed peppers?

The traditional Romanian stuffed peppers are served with a dollop of sour cream on top. Sour cream is used in many Romanian dishes, soups, stuffed cabbage rolls, stuffed grape leaves, etc.

You can also serve some mashed potatoes to this scrumptious dish. My paternal grandmother, who lived in Transylvania, used to serve them like that. The tomato sauce was also sweet, a traditional way to cook this recipe in that part of the country.

Romanian Stuffed Peppers Ardei Umpluti- close up

You can skip the sour cream, but believe me, you have to try the peppers with it! So much better!

If you noticed, we also don’t add cheese to the top of the peppers. We like them simple, as we really believe that less is better!

Enjoy and drop a note to tell me if you made the recipe and what you thought.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) on the table

Recently, I finally stopped resisting and bought an Instant Pot. I made this recipe in my new kitchen gadget, so I am sharing with you the way I made them:

How To Make Romanian Stuffed Peppers In Instant Pot:

  1. Follow the same steps on filling up the peppers.
  2. Place them in the Instant Pot.
  3. Mix: 1 cup of water with 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon marjoram or thyme.
  4. Pour this sauce over the peppers.
  5. Close the lid, turn the release vent to Sealing, and press Pressure Cooking for 20 minutes on High.
  6. The pot will take about 10-15 minutes for the pressure to build up, which is not included in the 20 minutes of cooking.
  7. After peppers are cooked, turn the valve to Quick Release and release the pressure. (it might take about 2 minutes)

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 37 minutes( 15 minutes for the pressure to build up+ 20 minutes Cooking+ 2 minutes Quick Release)

If you have an Instant Pot, I encourage you to try the recipe, especially if you are in a hurry but still want to eat a good meal.

Enjoy!

Suggestions for more Romanian Recipes:

Roasted Pork In Tomato Sauce

Romanian Sauerkraut Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Apple Pie Bars- Romanian Style

Yield: 6 servings

Romanian Stuffed Peppers (Ardei Umpluti)

Stuffed Peppers Ardei Umpluti 2

Stuffed peppers(Ardei Umpluti) are a favorite meal in many parts of the world. They are easy to make and delicious. I like to use any ground meat available, but pork is my favorite. You can use a mixture of beef and pork, or just beef. Rice is also added to the mixture. Perfect for lunch or a great dinner.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1lb/500 g ground pork, beef or a mixture of both
  • 6-7 medium red bell peppers
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4-5 tablespoons white or brown rice
  • 1 bunch of chopped fresh dill
  • 1 bunch of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • To make the sauce:
  • 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups water or enough to cover 3/4 of the peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • sour cream to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  2. In a bowl, mix the ground meat, rice, onion, dill, parsley, salt and pepper, and 4 tablespoons of water.
  3. Clean the peppers and cut a hole around the stem removing the seeds.
  4. Please fill up the peppers with the ground meat mixture and put them in a baking dish.
  5. Mix the rest of the water, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and spices and pour it over the peppers.
  6. Cover the baking dish with a lid or aluminum foil and put the pan in the oven to simmer.
  7. After an hour, take the pan out of the oven and flip the peppers on their other side. Place the pan back in the oven but without a cover.
  8. Let the peppers bake for another 30-45 minutes or until they get golden brown on top and the sauce is reduced a little bit. Taste for salt and pepper again.
  9. The peppers are ready when the fork goes easily through the pepper's skin and when the meat and rice are cooked inside.
  10. Serve them hot with sour cream on top.

Notes

How To Make Romanian Stuffed Peppers In Instant Pot:

  1. Follow the steps on filling up the peppers.
  2. Place them in the Instant Pot.
  3. Mix together: 1 cup of water with 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon marjoram or thyme.
  4. Pour this sauce over the peppers.
  5. Close the lid, turn release vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking for 20 minutes on High.
  6. The pot will take about 10-15 minutes for the pressure to build up, which is not included in the 20 minutes cooking.
  7. After peppers are cooked, turn the valve to Quick Release and release the pressure.(it might take about 2 minutes)

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 37 minutes( 15 minutes for the pressure to build up+ 20 minutes Cooking+ 2 minutes Quick Release)

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 118Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 376mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g

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