Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers with Indian Tomato Sauce

Stuffed peppers are a dinner staple, reliable and nourishing but invariably boring.  Well, boredom be gone with Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers with Indian Tomato Sauce! These peppers have a meatloaf stuffing and cooked in a not too spicy Indian-seasoned tomato sauce.  While this multi-step recipe takes a bit of time to make, Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers with Indian Tomato Sauce is well-worth your efforts. Enjoy them for a weekend dinner with a simple first course like Sicilian Orange Salad.

Don’t be put off by the ingredients needed for the sauce, many of them are commonly available in supermarkets or online if there isn’t an Indian market/grocery store in your area.  As an aside here, if you haven’t been to an Indian market/grocery store, we strongly urge you to head out to one.  Explore and enjoy!

Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers with Indian-Seasoned Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes Total Time: 3 hours plus rest time, see the preparation section. Serves 6.


       For the stuffing:

  • 1 lb ground Pork
  • 1 lb ground Beef, recommend an 80/20 (20% fat) blend
  • ½ cup unseasoned/plain Bread Crumbs
  • 1 tsp ground Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 Tb dried Parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp Sweet Paprika
  • 2 Tbs Tomato Ketchup
  • 2 Tbs Dijon or brown mustard
  • 1 Tb Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Onion, very finely chopped or minced
  • 1 large Egg
  • 6 large Bell Peppers, preferably square-shaped which stand upright

       For the sauce:

  • ¼ cup Cooking Oil (recommend Olive/Canola Oil blend)
  • 1 medium Onion, peeled, trimmed and sliced very thinly lengthwise
  • 1 Tb minced Garlic
  • 1 Tb minced Ginger
  • 1 Serrano Chile, sliced into very thin rounds
  • ½ tsp coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp ground Coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp ground Turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp ground Garam Masala
  • 1 ½ tsp ground California or New Mexico chile
  • 3 whole Cloves
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 Bay Leaf, preferably fresh
  • 5 Green Cardamom pods, gently popped or burst using the flat side of a knife
  • 1 28-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes, preferable low sodium under 6 grams, plus water (see preparation)


       Make the meatloaf stuffing, prepare and stuff the peppers (55 minutes):

  1. Combine the pork and beef in a large mixing bowl, loosely mixing with your hands.
  2. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the meat.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the black pepper, sea salt, parsley flakes, and paprika, then sprinkle over the meat.
  4. Add the tomato ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce to the mixing bowl.
  5. Add the onion to the mixing bowl.
  6. Beat the egg in a small bowl, then pour into the mixing bowl.
  7. With very clean, washed hands or wearing disposable gloves, mix the stuffing together.
  8. Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate while you prepare the peppers for stuffing.
  9. Wash the peppers.
  10. Cut the top off each pepper at ½-inch below the pepper’s “shoulders”, creating a cap and a cup out of each pepper.
  11. Using a sharp, pointed knife, carefully remove the stem from the pepper cap, leaving a doughnut-shaped cap.
  12. Trim and discard the seeds and pith from each pepper cup.
  13. Take the stuffing from the refrigerator and fill the pepper cups with the stuffing, gently pressing the stuffing into the pepper cup.
  14. Invert the pepper caps and fill the small cavities in each cap with very small amounts of the stuffing.
  15. Replace the pepper caps back onto their respective cups, gently pressing the caps down.
  16. Take a small amount of the stuffing and fill in the stem hole in the cap of each pepper.
  17. Place the stuffed peppers in a deep dish large enough to hold them upright, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

    Make the sauce (1 hour, 15 minutes):

  1. Pour the cooking oil into a heavy-bottom 3-quart saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and serrano chile and sauté uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and are golden brown
  3. Combine the seasonings (sea salt through cardamom pods) in a small bowl and sprinkle into the saucepan, stir and sauté uncovered for one minute to allow the seasonings to “bloom” or become aromatic.
  4. Pour the crushed tomatoes and 1/3 can of water into the saucepan, stir, cover and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cook the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally; once done, turn off the heat and leave the sauce covered.

    Assemble and prepare the stuffed peppers in sauce (50 minutes):

  1. Add 1/3 cup cooking oil to a wide, deep frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  2. When the oil is hot and shimmering, place the peppers standing up in the pan. Cover and fry the peppers until they soften a bit, about 15 minutes.
  3. Spoon the sauce over and around the peppers, reduce the heat to bring the sauce to a simmer, cover and cook for 35 minutes.
  4. Serve Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers in Indian Tomato Sauce in wide, deep bowls, one pepper with sauce per person, over steamed rice if you like.

Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers with Indian-Seasoned Tomato Sauce

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