Here’s a delicious recipe for farro stuffed peppers. This grain-filled Italian recipe can be made a few ways, with beef or without for a vegetarian version. I’ll explain both methods below so you can choose which one you want follow. Both are delicious and full of Italian flavors.
Get ready to have a wonderful healthy dinner that tastes so good, you forget how healthy it actually is!
Farro Stuffed Peppers
One of the reasons I love recipes like this one is because you can get so flexible with the ingredients. Obviously for farro stuffed peppers, the farro is the main ingredient. Even with that there are different types of farro you can use, but I’ll explain that in a bit.
I don’t broil or boil the peppers like many recipes suggest. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t like my peppers to be overly soft and mushy. I also enjoy the flavor and texture of the pepper more when it has a slight bite.
Here’s an image below of a close up of my peppers and the texture. They come out soft and can be easily cut with a fork and knife.
That’s just me, but maybe you prefer yours much softer. If so, just broil them for a few minutes first or boil them for 3 minutes. That should do the trick.
I stuff the peppers with a farro mixture, and just like my stuffed cubanelle peppers recipe, I don’t precook the beef. Instead I use it raw and cook it in the oven.
The farro is the only ingredient that is pre-cooked before stuffing the peppers. It takes 20 to 25 minutes to cook in boiling water – just enough time to prep the other ingredients.
As for the flavor, I don’t use store bought Italian seasoning, instead I use two herbs (parsley and basil) that together with the other Italian ingredients give the flavor we want.
Many store brands of seasoning includes rosemary and other flavors that wouldn’t taste good in this recipe.
About the Farro
Farro is an ancient grain that’s very popular in Italy. There are actually three types of farro: emmer, einkorn, and spelt (which is a whole grain). I use spelt for this particular recipe.
PRO TIP: Make sure to order it hulled or semi-pearled. This means that the outer inedible portion of the grain has been removed during processing.
Spelt, the type of farro I’m using, has a slight nutty flavor, but not to the point where it overpowers the recipe. In fact, if you’re cooking it with beef, you can barely taste it!
You can cook the farro with a 2:1 ratio of water to farro. The farro (spelt) will double in size, so what begins as one cup of raw grains will provide you with 2 cups of cooked farro. Combined with the other ingredients, you’ll have plenty to fill 5 or 6 whole peppers.
The farro takes 20 to 25 minutes to cook. I’ll provide specific instructions with the recipe so you don’t have to jump around in this post.
Equipment You’ll Need
Here’s the kitchen equipment for making this recipe.
Farro stuffed peppers Italian-style uses the following ingredients. Exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Bell peppers – for a more festive look use the colorful sweet bell peppers. If you don’t like the sweetness of these peppers, feel free to use green bell peppers which offer earthy undertones to the dish.
Farro – I use spelt, although any kind will work.
Beef – I use 93/7 lean beef which I get at BJ’s, but a fattier version may offer slightly more flavor due to the fat. The beef can easily be omitted for the vegetarian stuffed peppers with farro recipe. I offer some beef alternatives below under Variations.
Extra virgin olive oil – A good quality olive oil is always preferred but it doesn’t have to be the best since it is being used for cooking, not raw.
Dried parsley – If you have fresh, you can chop it and use that.
Dried basil – This is in equal parts to the parsley and gives the dish a little more depth.
Romano cheese – This Italian cheese is my preferred choice. If you use Parmesan cheese, that will work fine.
Garlic – For the garlic, we’ll chop these into small pieces.
Egg – Technically you can omit this, but I like to use it as a binder.
Salt & black pepper – This is optional and can be added to the mix.
How to Make Farro Stuffed Peppers
Here are the instructions for making these healthy stuffed peppers. Most of the process is unattended while the peppers bake in the oven at 375F.
Make the farro first
1- The first thing we need to do is cook the farro. Start by rinsing the farro in water until it runs clear. Then in a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
2- Add in the rinsed farro and bring back to a boil and then reduce to low. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes uncovered. Yes, uncovered.
PRO TIP: When the spelt farro is done, it will have absorbed nearly all the water. It will have a soft and chewy texture. Drain any excess liquid.
How to make the peppers
3- In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients, including the cooked farro.
4- Next slice the peppers in half and rinse out the seeds. You’ll need to also cut the top stem out. I also try to remove any excess white flesh along the inner spines of the peppers as this can give a slight bitterness.
5- Rub the outside of the peppers with a little of the olive oil, then place in a large baking pan with open side facing up. I don’t have a pan large enough, so I had to use two.
6- Using a spoon and your hands, stuff all the pepper halves with the farro mixture. Make sure to shove that stuffing all the way under the curved edges of each pepper as shown.
If you have too much stuffing, don’t worry – just pile it up and press it down. You’ll be amazed how much will fit in those peppers!
7- Drizzle a little olive oil on the tops of the peppers.
8- Add a ¼ cup of water to the bottom of the pans, not on the peppers.
9- In the preheated oven, bake the stuffed peppers for 30 minutes, then top with some extra Romano and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
PRO TIP: If using beef, make sure the internal temperature reads at least 165F.
10- Remove from the oven and serve warm!
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Farro
If you prefer your stuffed peppers without beef, you don’t have to just use farro alone. Try these beef alternatives.
- Rice makes a great filler and replacement. Using either white or brown rice would work. Make sure the rice is precooked. You’ll want to make around 1 ½ cups of rice.
- Small pasta shapes are also good fillers. Orzo is a great option for stuffing peppers. I have a beef and orzo stuffed pepper recipe that is really good.
- Breadcrumbs are always a great filler for stuffed peppers. They help with the binding of the mixture along with the egg. The breadcrumbs can be seasoned or plain. I use my own homemade breadcrumbs.
- I often use quick cooking oatmeal as a filler in a lot of my cooking such as meat loafs. It would work in this recipe too by adding about ¾ of a cup.
PRO TIP: If using rice as the beef alternative, take the opportunity and make additional rice to use for another dinner recipe later in the week.
As I mentioned earlier, stuffed pepper recipes are generally super flexible. In fact, besides the farro, everything else can be modified to some degree. Here are some suggestions and ideas.
If you prefer not to use farro in your stuffed peppers, you can also use other grains such as barley or bulgur. I use bulgur in my meatless meatballs recipe and they are a great meat replacement.
Add Other Vegetables
Here are some additional items you can use as part of your filling.
- Add chopped onions. I’d recommend sauteing the onions in olive oil for about 5 to 8 minutes until partially tender. Then add to the stuffing mixture.
- Add a can of diced tomatoes along with the juices. You can also just top the stuffed peppers and farro with the tomatoes or some tomato sauce and then bake it.
- Add very finely diced or shredded carrot to the mixture.
- Add red pepper flakes for extra heat.
- Use ground turkey for a lower fat option.
- Do a mix of ground meat – including sausage, beef, and turkey or pork.
- Italian sausage is always a flavorful meat for stuffed peppers.
PRO TIP: For a slight sausage flavor without using any sausage, add about a teaspoon of fennel seeds. If you’re unsure of fennel seed, then try it only in a few peppers first to test if you like it or not.
Now do you see how flexible this recipe can be? So don’t fret if you don’t have every single ingredient – use what you have and be creative!
Sides for Farro Stuffed Peppers
The ideas for side dishes are endless when it comes to stuffed bell peppers. In a nutshell – vegetables will always work well. Here are some recipes you can use.
This Italian green beans recipe compliments the earthy flavor of the farro.
This delicious Italian roasted potatoes recipe is seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and rosemary.
This Italian garlic mashed potatoes tastes better than anything you’ll get at a restaurant.
You can also check out my other Italian side dishes.
Prep and Food Storage Tips
Here are some tips for storing your farro stuffed peppers either before or after you bake them.
Raw stuffed peppers
For those who like to plan ahead, farro stuffed peppers can be prepared in advance by a day. Simply store in airtight containers and bring to room temperature before baking, or just bake an extra 10 minutes.
You can also freeze the stuffed peppers uncooked by wrapping them in plastic wrap and then storing in airtight containers. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight, then bake in the oven, allowing 10 extra minutes if they are cold when adding them to the oven.
Leftover stuffed peppers
You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days in airtight containers. Reheat by using the microwave or baking at 350F for 25 minutes or until warmed through.
These peppers can be conveniently stored in the freezer for 3 to 6 months, but keep in mind the longer that they are in the freezer, the less freshness they’ll retain. I’d recommend wrapping them each in plastic wrap to help prevent exposure to air.
You can use any type of farro, however spelt is the most commonly used.
Yes, stuffed peppers with farro can be a vegetarian dish by simply omitting the meat and replacing it with pasta, rice, oatmeal, or breadcrumbs.
No, you can cook the stuffed peppers without any broiling or boiling before hand. If you prefer your peppers very soft on the outside, then it is advised to use either method to soften them first, although this is not required for baked stuffed peppers.
Similar Recipes You May Enjoy
If you enjoy recipes like farro stuffed peppers, then you’ll enjoy these too.
My Chicken and Farro with Spinach recipe is a delicious and healthy dinner recipe.
This Italian Meatless Meatball recipe is bulgur filled meatballs that taste amazing. A pure vegetarian delight!
Italian Stuffed Zucchini boats is a meatless recipe that is so easy to make and tastes amazing!
Farro Stuffed Peppers
- Medium sauce pan
- Large baking or casserole dish (use two if one is not large enough)
- Mixing bowl
- 5-6 bell peppers, halved sweet or bell
- 1 cup raw farro, hulled I'm using spelt
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup Romano cheese plus some for topping
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus some for drizzling
- 2 Tbsp dried parsley
- 2 Tbsp dried basil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 1 beaten egg
- salt and pepper optional for mixture
Cook the Farro/Spelt
- Rinse the farro under cold water until the water is clear.1 cup raw farro, hulled
- In medium sauce pan, bring water to a boil and add the farro. Bring back to a boil then lower the temperature to Low.
- Cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes.
Making the Stuffed Peppers
- In large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together along with the cooked farro.1 lb ground beef, 1/2 cup Romano cheese, 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp dried parsley, 2 Tbsp dried basil, 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely, 1 beaten egg, salt and pepper
- Clean out the peppers by slicing them in half lengthwise. Then remove the seeds and white fleshy parts of the pepper along with the top stems.5-6 bell peppers, halved
- Rub the outside of the peppers with a little olive oil and place in casserole or baking dish.
- Fill each pepper with the farro mixture making sure to fill the entire inside of each pepper.
- Drizzle olive oil on top of the peppers.
- Add 1/4 cup water in the pan.
- Bake uncovered in oven at 375F. After 30 minutes top with extra cheese, about a teaspoon per stuffed pepper. then return to the oven to bake for 15 more minutes or until the internal temperature is 165F.
- For vegetarian stuffed peppers with farro, replace the meat with rice, pasta, breadcrumbs, quick cooking oats, or a combination of the above.
- For additional flavors, try topping with peppers with a tomato sauce at the 30 minute mark when you add the extra cheese.
- These make excellent leftovers and go great with mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta!
- To broil the peppers, broil on a baking sheet for 5 minutes. To boil the peppers instead, just add to salted boiling water for 5 minutes.
I hope you enjoyed my farro stuffed peppers recipe! If you like the recipe or made your own tweaks to make it your own let me know in the comments below!