Tired of the cold? Then make a big pot of this tasty Stuffed Pepper Soup for lunch today!
What is your favorite place you’ve ever been on vacation? Mine is Italy. Hands down. No questions asked. I’ve been lucky enough to make it over to Italy on a couple of occasions, and each trip has been better than the last. My wife and I took a delayed honeymoon to Italy a couple of years ago, and I just recently stumbled across some of those photos again. There’s nothing like pulling out the photo book (or to be more accurate, opening up the photo folder on the computer) for a nice trip down memory lane.
We went all over Italy on this trip. From Rome to Chianti to Venice and then all the way south to Capri. I am more than a little jealous at the European train system. It makes travel all over the country crazy easy. No cars needed. (Now, Scotland was another story…but I’ll save that one for another time.) Picking my favorite place in Italy is like asking me to select my favorite dessert. It’s impossible, so I don’t even try. Instead, I just sample a little bit of everything, and then go back to the best ones again.
Some number of years ago, my parents traveled to Italy (without me…the nerve!) and ended up stopping in an art gallery in Assisi. The artist painted these unique paintings on the back of glass. When framed, these paintings are nothing less than awesome! My parents gave me one as a graduation gift, and I love it. So when my wife and I were planning our trip to Italy a couple of years ago, I suggested we make our way over to Assisi. Aside from visiting this iconic town, we could get another one of these glass paintings as a way to remember our trip. I also had the crazy idea to email the artist (Massimo) and ask if we could take him out to lunch when we came to Assisi.
Well, Massimo one-upped me. He and his daughter took us out to dinner. He drove us all over town to see some of the local places that tourists wouldn’t normally see. He gave us restaurant recommendations for the next day, and the place he sent us still ranks as the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Not kidding! And we had never even met him before this trip. How awesome is that? If you ever find yourself near Assisi, do me a favor and stop by Massimo’s shop and say hello. He’s an incredible guy, and I can promise you’ll fall in love with his paintings, too.
While it’s difficult to pick out my favorite places in Italy, Assisi will always hold a special place in my memory. The same thing goes for Italian food, too. I love Italian food. (Surprise surprise, right?) But I can’t pick out a single favorite dish. Whether it’s a quick and easy Ricotta Gnocchi or pasta in a tasty Parmesan cream sauce, I’m fairly certain that I could live solely off of Italian food.
Stuffed Pepper Soup
Since we’ve been buried in snow the past few months here in upstate New York, we’ve become quite fond of eating a bowl of hot soup for lunch. I’ll whip up a big pot of soup on the weekend, and then we just reheat it throughout the week for a quick and tasty lunch at work. Stuffed Pepper Soup was the latest creation, and it’s been a great comfort food for lunch around here lately. Are you dealing with the same winter weather as we are? If so, grab some bell peppers at the store and make a big, steaming pot of Stuffed Pepper Soup this week.
This Stuffed Pepper Soup features all of the flavors of the classic baked stuffed pepper…just in soup form. It’s a delicious way to chase the winter blues away…at least until you step outside again! Stay warm, my friends!
Did you make this Stuffed Pepper Soup at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version!
Stuffed Pepper Soup
- 8 cups low-sodium vegetable stock divided
- 2 cups wild rice uncooked
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2/3 cup yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 5 bell peppers seeded and chopped (I like to use a variety of colors)
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 24-oz. jar marinara sauce
- 1½ tsp Italian seasoning
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded (optional garnish)
- Use 4 cups of vegetable stock to cook the wild rice according to the package instructions; set cooked rice and remaining vegetable stock aside.
- While the rice is cooking, place the beef into a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.
- Drain the fat from the pan and add the onion, garlic and bell peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes.
- Add the remaining 4 cups vegetable broth along with all of the remaining ingredients (chickpeas, marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, chili powder and pepper).
- Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in cooked rice and garnish with shredded mozzarella cheese prior to serving (optional).
Looking for more tasty soup recipes? Check out some of these other favorites, too: