Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef – Carve Them Into Jack O’Lanterns for Halloween!
Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Peppers are filled with an easy and tasty ground beef and veggie and mix topped with cheesy mashed potatoes. An alternative to the classic recipe since they are made without rice, they make an easy dinner recipe for any night of the year. But make them extra special when you carve those peppers like pumpkins to turn them into Jack O’Lantern Stuffed Peppers for Halloween.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission. All opinions are my own.
Did your mom make a special Halloween dinner for you when you were a kid? Yeah, me either. I mean, I was of the generation that went trick-or-treating on our way home from school. I stopped in to scramble to do any little bit of homework that any witchy teachers dared to assign on Halloween. Then it was back out with my friends to keep filling our bags with treats. In fact, as I got a bit older, my friends and I would just stop in for a slice at the local pizzeria.
I used to think these mummy hot dogs, spaghetti brains with eyeballs, and meatloaf zombies are all a product of the Pinterest era. And while it sometimes seems that all of these websites and blogs (like, ahem, mine) have created a wee bit of craziness, fun food for Halloween is something I am totally down with. I mean, Halloween is all about silliness and fun, with maybe a sprinkling of creepy and eery, just for good measure.
So if you want to order Chinese food or just have an Easy Family Pizza Night, that’s fine. But if digging into monster guts or ghoulish graveyards or spiderwebs gets you in the spirit, I say “Go for it!”
In fact, I think this Halloween dinner may become a tradition in my house.
Come on, how can you resist? Especially when you carve cute or creepy faces into your orange bell peppers to make them look like jack o’ lanterns. And not only do they look awesome, but they also taste pretty awesome as well. Both of my boys happily devoured them, and they’ll fuel your little trick-or-treaters all over the neighborhood!
Halloween Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef and Vegetables
Kids and kids-at-heart are going to love this fun Halloween dinner recipe. Carve some spooky or cute faces into orange bell peppers, and then fill them with a savory beef and vegetable mixture. Top with fluffy mashed potatoes and cheese then put the pepper tops back on top before baking for a deliciously ghoulish meal. Healthy, naturally gluten free, and loaded with protein and veggies.
They may look and sound like a bit of work, but I promise you, this recipe is super easy and can even be prepared in advance. The simple filling is quick and easy. It is based on my favorite shepherds pie recipe that uses ground beef in a savory mixture with mixed vegetables and simple gravy. I’m not saying it is 100% authentic, but it is 100% delicious!
Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!
- Orange bell peppers – obviously you can use any color if you aren’t making Jack O’Lanterns, but the orange color makes them perfect for Halloween dinners since they look like pumpkins.
- Ground beef
- Tomato paste
- Worcestershire sauce
- Beef broth
- Frozen mixed vegetable medley – thawed
- Russet potatoes – peeled and cut into about 1 inch chunks
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Shredded cheddar cheese
These little paring knives are perfect for cutting the tops off the peppers and carving the jack o’lantern details. I am always grabbing a small knife for quick jobs like cutting a block of cheese, slicing a cucumber, making banana snacks, or when my kids were really small, halving their grapes.
Directions overview – scroll to the recipe card for the full set of instructions
- If you are making these for Halloween a little paring knife to carve some cute or creepy little faces into your orange bell peppers.
- Place cubes of potatoes in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender.
- Brown a pound of ground beef with onions and garlic.
- Add mixed veggies, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Simmer till thickened.
- Mash the potatoes with milk, Greek yogurt, and cheddar cheese.
- Fill the peppers with the meat mixture and top with mashed potatoes and more cheddar cheese.
- Bake until the peppers and tender and everything is heated through.
As cute as they are, you can definitely make these any time of the year without carving the jack o lantern faces. And while I prefer orange, red, or yellow peppers because they are sweeter, any of those or green bell peppers will work as well. They are quick to prepare, but for busy weeknights, you can even incorporate them into your meal prep plans over the weekend.
Can you make these in advance?
Yes, you have several options to make the stuffed peppers ahead of time and reheat them.
- Prepare the recipe entirely and bake it, then store it in the refrigerator or freezer. If frozen, be sure to thaw in the refrigerator. They can then be reheated in the microwave or in the oven at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Note that this will make the peppers a little softer so they may not hold the pumpkin shape as well.
- Prepare everything in advance, including stuffing the peppers and store it in the refrigerator without baking them. Then just bake before serving, but you may need to add another ten minutes or so to the bake time to ensure it is completely heated through.
- The meat mixture and mashed potatoes can also be made a day or two before and stored in the refirgerator, stuffing the peppers just before baking. You can even carve the peppers and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Again, this may require a bit longer in the oven.
Shepherds Pie Stuffed Peppers Recipe Tips
- Cut the tops off of the peppers horizontally about a half-inch from the top, then remove the seeds and membranes.
- For the full jack o’ lantern look, keep the tops to pop back on top of the peppers later.
- A small paring knife will help you carve the little jack o’lantern faces.
- As mentioned, you can skip the funny faces altogether to just make regular stuffed peppers any time of the year with any variety of bell pepper.
- To make this meal as fast as possible, cut the potatoes into small pieces so they boil quickly. While they come to a boil and cook, you can prepare the ground beef mixture. As that simmers, mash your potatoes.
- This recipe uses a very simple and basic mashed potato recipe. Kick up the flavor with cheesy mashed potatoes with bacon or cut the carbs with a cheesy cauliflower mash.
More Halloween dinner recipes
- Steak Bites with Bloody Maria Dipping Sauce
- Fettuccine Pumpkin Cauliflower Alfredo
- Twice Baked Potato Mummies Covered with Roaches by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Halloween Baked Potato Skin Pizzas by Alida’s Kitchen
- Loaded Mashed Potato Spider Web Casserole by NeighborFood
- Jack O’Lantern Quesadillas from Big Bear’s Wife
- And don’t forget dessert. You can go with a fall favorite like no crust mini pumpkin pies. Or try one of these 20+ Halloween Recipes like Witches’ Brew Halloween Cupcakes
If you like this, here are some other ways to make Shepherd’s Pie
- You can divide the mixture into ramekins to make Individual Shepherd’s Pies.
- Don’t want to make mashed potatoes? Pile everything into some Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Potatoes.
- Or turn the recipe into a gameday snack by making Shepherd’s Pie Loaded Fries.
- Here are even more Creative Twists on Classic Shepherd’s Pie.
Jack O’Lantern Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Peppers
- 4-6 orange peppers See Note*
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped (roughly 1/2 cup)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
- 3/4 cup tomato paste (one 6-ounce can)
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ cups beef broth
- 4 cups frozen mixed vegetable medley, thawed (about two 10 oz. packages)
- 1 pound Idaho® russet potatoes peeled and cut into about 1 inch chunks
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- Slice the top off of each of the peppers and reserve. Remove the seeds and, if desired, use a paring knife to carve a jack o’lantern face into each pepper.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, breaking up the meat, until it is browned. Drain any excess grease. Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Add vegetables, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While the meat is cooking, place the Idaho® potatoes and a pinch of salt into a pot of cold water, cover, and bring to boil. Remove cover and boil for 10-12 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and return to the pot, add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, milk, and salt. With potato masher or hand mixer, mash to desired consistency.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Divide the meat mixture between the peppers, then top with the mashed Idaho® potatoes and remaining cheese, and place in a glass baking dish.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until heated through, peppers are tender and cheese and potatoes are slightly browned.