The Spicy Twist On Stuffed Peppers That'll Upgrade Your Weeknight Dinner

Whether you're stuffing peppers with quinoa, tuna, or feta and orzo, these colorful veggies make the perfect nutritious bowls for an easy weeknight dinner. Most recipes call for using bell peppers, which makes sense since they're large and have a mildly sweet flavor. But you don't have to stop there. If stuffed peppers are your thing but you find the classic version to be too bland, give them a spicy upgrade by switching out the main veggies with banana peppers.

These yellow veggies may be smaller than bell peppers, but at up to eight inches long, they still leave plenty of room to pack your favorite fillings inside. While one stuffed bell pepper may make you full, you can typically consume more of the banana pepper ones since they are more snack-sized. Flavor-wise, this substitution is a spicy twist on the original. Banana peppers aren't the hottest ones out there, as they score a 500 on the Scoville scale (as opposed to jalapeños' rating of up to 8,000), so they likely won't be overpoweringly hot if you're serving them to spice-adverse friends. But they still boast more heat and tang than classic stuffed peppers, while still retaining a little sweetness.

How to make stuffed banana peppers

Before you get your fillings ready, make sure to prep your banana peppers so that they give you the flavor you want and provide a sturdy shell for stuffing. Pick the largest veggies you can find at the store for maximum surface area, but try to get ones that are the same size so that they finish baking at the same time. If you want more spice, keep the seeds — otherwise, cut your peppers in half and remove everything inside. As an alternative (or if your peppers seem like they'll fall apart), just cut a long slit for the filling.

Just like the regular version of this dish, you can stuff these yellow veggies with practically anything you want. Meat, cheese, and tomato sauce is a classic combo, but you can also go for a grain like rice or quinoa mixed with veggies like beans, diced tomatoes, corn, chopped zucchini, spinach, minced onion, or diced carrots. You can bake them next to each other as-is on a baking dish, or pour marinara around them to form a makeshift casserole. If you want a bubbly cheese topping (and who doesn't?), sprinkle some on a few minutes before they're done baking. When you go to take a bite, you'll get cheesy goodness with a hint of spice from the banana pepper bowls.