Stuffed peppers are consumed all over the world across a diverse range of food cultures. You can find versions of the dish in Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, and Asia, as well as in Central America. The stuffed peppers with the most widespread appeal include meat and vegetables along with grain and tomato sauce; they are also commonly topped off with cheese. There are many options for stuffed pepper sides, and given the variables in regard to ingredients a list of tasty stuffed pepper sides is a long one. Here, though, are some of the best options that work across flavor profiles.
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Almost any savory salad goes well with stuffed peppers, whether bell peppers or a stuffed chili (like poblanos.) A simple chopped salad can be the perfect light accompaniment to cut through the richness of a stuffed pepper’s meaty, creamy filling. The crunch of lettuce and cucumbers combined with the acidity of tomatoes will help add freshness to the meal.
Arugula salads and kale salads are great options too, as are salads with tart and sweet elements. Apples, dried cranberries, and dried cherries are all delightful salad toppings that will complement many recipes. An acidic dressing like a vinaigrette or one based on lemon juice will also pair well. A light slaw can also be a good choice.
Almost any vegetable will work as a steamed stuffed pepper side, but broccoli and cauliflower are a couple of your best bets, especially if you are in a hurry. Peas, asparagus and green beans are a few more popular vegetables for steaming and can all make great sides.
Potatoes are great for roasting and fit the role of a vegetable and a starch. Toss cubes or wedges in a little thyme or rosemary along with some garlic and brush with oil to ensure a crisp exterior. Eggplants and Brussels sprouts are two more vegetables that take well to roasting and that will enhance your stuffed pepper main course.
Spinach is one of the best vegetables for sautéing and is also an excellent side dish for stuffed peppers. Sautéed spinach can easily be made into a tender and silky dish and will be bright and flavorful with the addition of some garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Other vegetables that take well to this cooking style include carrots.
The most common style of stuffed peppers use Mediterranean ingredients, and chard is a vegetable that you can sauté Mediterranean style in a little olive oil with some garlic and parmesan. Even though they aren’t leafy greens, squash, and zucchini both take well to being sautéed and are good partners for many recipes.
Bread can work as a good all-purpose side. You can pair many bread types with most European-style and Middle Eastern main courses, including stuffed peppers. If you want to keep things traditional, go with a crusty baguette- or boule-style bread. Try artisanal loaves from a local bakery or make your own. Even pita bread will work. Otherwise, you can opt for quick bread like cornbread that you can serve as a loaf or in muffin form.
Like bread, different grains can make good side dishes to go with your stuffed peppers. You can use rice even if it is included in the filling, but if you want more variety you can try options like quinoa, barley, and bulgur. Not only are these great stuffed pepper sides, but they are also highly nutritious.