Updated date:

Stuff Your Veggies: 10 Recipes to Turn Veggies Into a Complete Meal


Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

(see recipe below)

(see recipe below)

Do You Remember...

...stuffed green bell peppers? I grew up in the 1950s, and it seemed that they were part of the repertoire of every home cook. What an innovative way to get your family to eat more vegetables, right?


Except that...

  1. The peppers were green—the nasty bitter kind.
  2. The stuffing was raw beef, so the peppers became a soggy sponge of grease.
  3. By the time the beef was fully cooked, the soggy peppers had also collapsed and turned from bright green to a weary shade of Army camos or Shrek the Ogre.

There Has to Be a Better Way...

Thankfully, we've come a long way, baby. Stuffed vegetables no longer have to be squishy, greasy, and devoid of color. Let's explore all the wonderful ways we can stuff our veggies and keep the color, texture, and taste!

(Each of the stuffed vegetables presented in this article can be a complete meal; just add a tossed salad.)

  • Acorn squash stuffed with turkey
  • Avocado stuffed with mango and shrimp
  • Bell pepper with chicken and rice
  • Butternut squash stuffed with quinoa (V)
  • Eggplant stuffed with ground meat, Kalamata olives, and feta
  • Onions stuffed with meatballs and wrapped in bacon
  • Portobello mushrooms stuffed with crab cake
  • Tomato with ground beef and Italian-flavor rice
  • Tomato with tuna salad
  • Zucchini with black beans and enchilada sauce (V)

(V) = Vegetarian

Acorn Squash Stuffed With Turkey

This recipe for stuffed acorn squash from InnocentDelight combines all of the flavors of Autumn in one wonderful dish. Buttery acorn squash is filled with the sweet and savory tastes of ground turkey, onions, apples, and dried cranberries.

Avocado Stuffed With Mango Shrimp

KevinIsCooking is a grillmaster who admittedly is "passionate about making delicious meals that are sometimes health conscious and sometimes indulgent—because life’s too short to be bland!" Two of these avocado halves stuffed with sweet mango, crunchy veggies, and briny shrimp would make a satisfying light lunch.

Bell Peppers (Worth Having) With Chicken and Rice

These bell peppers (notice that they aren't green) were created by Michelle at DishesAndDustBunnies. Stuffed with cooked chicken, rice, and covered with melted mozzarella cheese, they are baked until the pepper cups are just crisp-tender, not steamed to oblivion. Now, these stuffed bell peppers are worth making!

Butternut Squash Stuffed With Quinoa

This vegetarian dish from WellPlated is almost too pretty to eat. It packs a double punch of protein with the use of both quinoa and chickpeas.

Eggplant Stuffed with Ground Meat, Kalamata Olives, and Feta

This eggplant stuffed with ground meat (your choice of beef, chicken, lamb, or turkey), Kalamata olives, and feta cheese is reminiscent of all of the flavors you love in Greek salads and kebabs. Tiffany of LivingSweetMoments is the recipe developer and photographer for this wonderful dish.

Onion Bomb Stuffed with Meatloaf and Wrapped in Bacon!

I selected this recipe for my friend in Olympia (you know who you are!). I knew that he would grimace at the thought of avocado, gag when confronted with eggplant, and laugh out loud at the concept of zucchini stuffed with black beans.

Here is a recipe for all of the avowed meat-eaters; imagine, if you can, meatloaf packed inside of an onion, and then the entire thing is wrapped with bacon, baked until the meat is done and the bacon is crisp. They're called "onion bombs" but they won't bomb at your next barbecue. I guarantee that they will be the star of the show.

Portobello Mushroom Stuffed With Crab Cake

TasteOfHome is a great website for finding a vast variety of recipes and menus for every occasion. Portobello mushrooms are those large mushroom caps that are rich and meaty—one definitely makes a meal, especially when enriched with sweet crab meat and cream cheese.


Tomato Stuffed With Ground Beef and Italian-Flavor Rice

These roasted tomatoes from ComfortableFood are hearty and satisfying, filled with ground beef, cheese, rice, and the Italian flavors of basil and garlic.

Tomato Stuffed With Tuna Salad

The kitchen of KraftRecipes produces easy-to-follow recipes that are fast, nutritious, and made with familiar ingredients most of us keep in our pantries. These tuna-salad stuffed tomatoes would make a great lunch or light dinner on a hot summer day.

Zucchini Stuffed With Black Beans

Black beans, cumin, and enchilada sauce fill these gluten-free zucchini boats, giving you all of the wonderful flavors of enchiladas without the tortilla wrap. I like to stir in chopped fresh cilantro and top these with sour cream and grated cheese. Omit the sour cream and use soy-based cheese and these can go vegan. Thank you BBritnellfor this colorful recipe that can be ready in less than an hour.

© 2018 Linda Lum


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 17, 2018:

Manatita, am I your kitchen Muse?

manatita44 from london on June 16, 2018:


I eat out a lot but I can change dramatically at any moment.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 16, 2018:

I should have taken a picture. Again the boy jumped in and said he did not like something and then quickly repeated "I know it all mixes together and tastes good". Seems to me it was garlic that we grew.

It all crazy worked.

But who cares, we were in the kitchen together having a blast.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 15, 2018:

Eric, last day of school. Another milestone. So happy for you. Let me know what you eventually served for dinner. It sounds both complex and imaginative.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 15, 2018:

Revisit tonight with noodles. Mom made the noodles/Viet. So I have a huge Portebello for me. Two tomatoes for the 2nd grade Graduate. Oh yes we will go with dads Apple Cider Vinagrette with fancy extra extra Virgin something. I think I will chop up a pork chop in there. I am feeling the cabbage. But I have some great salad ---- Life is tough with hard decisions.

I think we are moving hard to the "kitchen knife" tonight. I will cry if it goes bad. That is life.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 15, 2018:

Shauna, I am happy to hear that my recipes and stories help bring back memories for you. That's why I write as I do. As I stated in my book "food has a story to tell" and it is one of those triggers (like music) that your memory records and when opened even decades later, all of those thoughts come tumbling out.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 15, 2018:

I grew up with stuffed peppers, too, Linda. But my mom didn't stuff them with raw meat. She'd cook ground beef with onions and mix it with cooked rice before stuffing the green peppers. She'd add a spoonful of tomato sauce to each before plopping the top back on. The peppers retained their shape and al dente texture.

These hubs and the recipes you feature always take me back to when I lived at home. My mom's a fabulous cook. Your hubs always make me hungry, too!

The portabella stuffed with crab meat really appeals to me.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on June 01, 2018:

Manatita, my daughter loves those as well. I thought of you when I posted those. Now tell me, I know you would eat them. Will you cook them?

manatita44 from london on June 01, 2018:

The zucchini /beans and the quinoa/butternut are cool. I mean, I'm for the vevgie. Nice!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 30, 2018:

Eric, I think you have a Master Chef on your hands. I think I'm as happy and proud as are you. Whoop whoop!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 30, 2018:

Linda he is only eight. He kicked me out of kitchen with his left foot. I bailed out into the yard. He fried up the Salmon and boiled some egg whites. He added relish and mustard, and ketchup and mayo. The tomatoes were carved out just right.

You gave us this cool deal. Blessings be upon you and he his fired up about potatoes tomorrow.

Are we happy? Thank you, yes.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 30, 2018:

Linda your home infects my home. He wants to cook it. I preach and reach out with love. But my 200 parishioner don't make love real. you'all do.

Love will oose in my kitchen

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 30, 2018:

Fantastic. In fact, that would be my preference.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 30, 2018:

Linda we live down here on the coast. Some Salmon is really fresh. (I know a fish from up north but they pretend due to our coast) And we get great organic tomatoes. (another fake)

What do you think of swapping the tuna for salmon?

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 30, 2018:

Eric, happy dance!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 30, 2018:

Alright Linda. It is a store trip today. I have back up green leafies, rice and Vietnamese sausage and fruit. If I mess up with the Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes - no biggy. Rather than crackers, toasted bread with French butter. Carrots and celery with Balsamic Vinaigrette (I love making that) for the snack/appetizer.

You did it again. Do not tell your great husband but I love you when I do food from your online pantry.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 29, 2018:

Linda, I'm so happy to hear from you. I agree that these selections certainly look better than what I grew up with. Our younger daughter became vegetarian 20 years ago and, even though she no longer lives with us, we still eat several meals each week without meat. We love our veggies.

Stuffed tomatoes are great, especially if you can find the really big ones like 'beefsteak' tomatoes.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 29, 2018:

You've selected some great recipes. The food in the photos looks very appetizing. I haven't eaten stuffed vegetables for a long time, but I'm going to soon now that I've read your article. I'm looking forward to trying stuffed tomatoes.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 29, 2018:

Mary, so have I. With the Farmers Market in full swing I'll probably find some willing produce for one of these ideas next week.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 29, 2018:

Thank you, Peggy. I hope that you and your family enjoy them.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 29, 2018:

Peachy. Thanks, how can one go wrong with crab? (Of course I am biased when I say that is has to be Dungeness crab or none at all).

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 29, 2018:

OK Eric, work with me here. How about the stuffed avocado? I'll bet you can step outside and pick one, and gosh they are good, don't you think?

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 29, 2018:

I hope so Linda. I'll keep you posted.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on May 29, 2018:

They all look so delicious. I would eat all of them and I think my husband would like the onion and bacon bomb. I think you can hide anything beneath bacon and it will be adored.

I have made something much akin to your picture of the sad bell pepper. :(

As always, great ideas.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 29, 2018:

Yes I well remember the stuffed green peppers when I was growing up. As you mentioned they were popular back in the 1950s. I like the sound of all of the vegetables that can be stuffed. Will have to try some of the recipes you featured sometime soon.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on May 29, 2018:

Portobello Mushroom Stuffed with Crab Cake is my favorite

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 29, 2018:

Just stop right there and do a rerun. Eggplant and squash will never grace my meal table. My first wife would swap eggs for beef and some yogurt "starter". I have got to say she was mighty fine there. But I do not like that stuff.

Now my mom would get me to help her clean and rinse with cold water for chille rejeno. The next day. I think we called it Chille rejono

caserole for breakfast.

Sorry for my spelling and weak memory.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 29, 2018:

Kristen, I hope you can find the time to try the others this summer. With the Farmers Markets in full swing there should be plenty of fresh produce from which to choose.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 29, 2018:

Bill, I thought for sure you would be all over those onion bombs wrapped in bacon (I found those just for you!). As for the lack of stuffed peppers in your childhood, all I can say is you were the lucky one.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 29, 2018:

I laughed when I saw the title...NO WAY I said to myself quietly....but....

I can say with no hesitation that we never had stuffed peppers when I was growing up.

But there is a way...I would eat the stuffed mushrooms...and I would pick out the stuffings on several of the other dishes...so see, you can teach an old dog new tricks. :)

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 29, 2018:

Linda, I've had stuffed peppers before. I've had stuffed portabellos earlier this year and it came out good. I would love to try out the others too. Great lens!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 28, 2018:

Thank you Flourish. I think anytime we can encourage our family to eat more veggies it's a good thing.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 28, 2018:

Modified zucchini boats for me! It’s worth a try! I like your ideas, Diva!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on May 28, 2018:

Mary, I am so happy to hear from you. I know that you also comment on the articles of other friends whom we share in common (Eric and Bill, to name a few). Your words are always so positive and uplifting. I appreciate you and your support.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 28, 2018:

I love all these and will definitely try them. We often have these vegetables and sometimes stuff them but differently so these recipes would be a good addition to our dinner repertoire.

Related Articles