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These Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers are best for nights when you’re craving Italian, but want to keep things healthy, delicious, and summery too! Roasted red peppers stuffed with a spicy, herby, tomato sauce that’s full of fresh zucchini and topped with pesto swirled ricotta cheese. This is a great way to use summer produce and each pepper is cheesy and so delicious.

Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers |

Developing recipes is such an interesting process for me. No recipe development is ever the same and its inspiration is always different. I get most of my ideas from things like family and travel. Or a pretty color palette that I want to take from a photo and recreate with fresh food.

Other times it’s old memories of dishes I ate as a kid. And sometimes, a recipe will just happen randomly as I am cooking. I’ll swap this for that, add a little of this, and then do something totally random…like top roasted red peppers with pepperoni (I know it’s weird, but I promise it’s so good).

The times when recipes come together randomly as I’m cooking away are usually the recipes I love most. And that is most certainly the case with these peppers.

Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers |

Here are the details – start with the peppers

You can use any color bell pepper for this recipe or even poblano peppers. But I love red peppers, so that’s what I use most often.

Start by pre-roasting the peppers over an open flame on a gas burner. Char the peppers just lightly to give them a nice flavor. Then transfer the pepper to a bowl, cover the bowl, and let the peppers steam while you make the sauce.

If you don’t have a gas burner, put the peppers under the broiler, but watch them closely. The broiler works very quickly.

Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers |

Make the red sauce

I kept this very simple, using canned tomatoes, fresh oregano, and thyme. I did add a special ingredient – spicy Italian chicken sausage (though you could also use ground chicken).

Of course, if you’re vegetarian or just going for a meatless Monday theme, you can easily omit the sausage. Just double up on the zucchini. I’d also recommend adding some fresh garlic and a touch more crushed red pepper flakes. This will keep the sauce flavorful and on the spicy side.

Either way, with or without the sausage it’s going to be great, so do what works for you!

Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers |

Now we assemble…

First, mix the ricotta cheese with the pesto.

Then add the pepper halves to a baking dish with a bit more tomato sauce. Then stuff them with the spicy meat sauce, a dollop of pesto swirled ricotta, and finish with mozzarella and pepperoni.

And I know, the pepperoni is different. But my dad used to top his pasta dish with pepperoni and it was so, so good. I did the same here, and again…so, so good.

Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is all bubbly and top with more pesto and basil!

Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers |

Then just serve these up! They’re great with a loaf of crusty bread on the side, or even with your favorite pasta.

If I could best describe this dish, I would say that it’s kind of like a pizza stuffed red pepper.

I’m usually all about the carbs. But these cheesy peppers are surprisingly filling. And when served with bread plus a salad…well, they make for the perfect dinner!

Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers |

Looking for other dinner recipes? Here are some favorites:

Greek Orzo Stuffed Red Peppers with Lemony Basil Tomatoes

Cauliflower and Cheese with Spicy Breadcrumbs

30 Minute Cajun Butter Steak and Peppers

Lastly, if you make these Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 711 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. Place the peppers over an open flame on a gas burner and lightly char, turning 2-3 times for 3-4 minutes. Don't blacken them, just a light char. Alternately, you can place the peppers under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, watch closely.
    2. Put the peppers in a bowl and cover with a plate. Let steam 10 minutes, then slice the peppers in half and discard the seeds.
    3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken sausage and zucchini, cook until the meat is browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the oregano, thyme, 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
    4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, fontina, and pesto. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
    5. Spoon the remaining tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange the peppers in the baking dish and stuff with the meat sauce, then add a dollop of pesto ricotta. Add the mozzarella and pepperoni (if using).
    6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned on top. Serve with pesto, basil, and thyme. Enjoy!
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Spicy Pesto Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers |

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  1. 5 stars
    The flavor was fantastic! Thanks for a great recipe. I used mild Italian sausage and summer squash. I plan to try different variations like a meatless with more veggies.

    1. 5 stars
      This was delicious! I served the peppers on a bed of orzo flavoured with the left over filling. Will definitely be making again!

  2. Thanks for the great recipe! Tweaked a bit- used 1/2 Italian turkey sausage and 1/2 ground chicken. Subbed low fat cottage cheese- blended. Mixed with grated Parmesan and the pesto. Added mushrooms to the meat mixture. So tasty ?

  3. Hi Tieghan,
    I was wondering if it makes a huge difference using whole milk ricotta cheese versus part skim milk ricotta cheese? Trying it out tonight!

    1. Hey Mariah,
      Either one will work just fine here. I hope the recipe turns out amazing for you, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    So tasty! My fiancé and I used Pre-cooked spicy chicken sausage and omitted the pepperoni. We also used cashew-based mozzarella on top to cut down on the dairy a bit. Overall so tasty!! We will definitely be making it again.

    1. Hey Allison,
      Fantastic! I am delighted to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! Have the best week:) xTieghan

  5. I only did 3 peppers so I had plenty of the ricotta, fontina, pesto mixture leftover. Any suggestions on what I can do with it?

    1. Hey Kelli,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, you could use the extra mixture for lasagna. I hope you loved the recipe:) xTieghan

    2. 5 stars
      Two thoughts: Use it to stuff and bake portobello mushrooms or layer it in a pasta casserole.

      I loved these! Thought they came out really well.

      1. Hey Pat,
        Happy Sunday! I love to hear this recipe was enjoyed and I truly appreciate you giving it a try! xxTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and my family loved it. I substituted smoked paprika instead of the red pepper and it gave it a delicious smokey flavor!

    1. Hey Shannan,
      Fantastic, I am so glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! xTieghan

  7. Hello! I see the 3-4 peppers makes 6 servings. I am assuming a half of a pepper is a serving? Can you clarify? Thanks so much! 🙂

    1. Hey Bella,
      Yes, one half of a pepper is one serving. I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    I had to sub the chicken sausage with sweet Italian pork sausage. I thought it was easy to make and tasted great! Next time I might use Italian spiced tomatoes instead of plain tomato sauce. I expect the flavors will be even better when we eat the leftovers. Thanks for another family-pleasing meal! Yum!

    1. Hey Joy,
      Happy Wednesday! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe, I am so glad to hear it was a winner:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Sasha,
      I get mine from Whole Foods, but you really should be able to find at any grocery store. I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

        1. Hey Alycia,
          I would slice the peppers and freeze in an airtight container. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  9. This looks delicious! I’m going to make it tonight. Is the tomato sauce the kind in the can (like from Hunt’s), not jarred pasta sauce?

    1. Hey Kara,
      Thanks so much! I like to use Rao’s sauce, it’s my fave! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

    1. Hey Sherri,
      You can easily sub the meat for your favorite vegetarian option, cauliflower would work well here! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    Wow, this one is a family favorite! And filled with our favorite things – red peppers, ricotta cheese, zucchini, pesto, and poultry sausage. I added some pine nuts on top of the ricotta since I make my own pesto without the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, freeze it, and then add in when I defrost and use. I also added some grated Parmesan cheese to the ricotta mixture for the same reason. Definitely adding this to the rotation and plenty left for lunches, too! Thank you for this easy, healthy, carb-free meal!

  11. Adding this to the list pronto! Just wondering – where do you get your ground chicken sausage? I only ever see them in links.


    1. Hey Maggie,
      I get my chicken sausage from Whole Foods:) I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  12. This looks amazing! Is there an option to replace the ground sausage with something to make these vegetarian? Thank you for all your fabulous ideas, creations and posts! I look forward to them every morning:)

    1. Hey Kerry,
      You could use more of your fave veggies, cauliflower would work well here! I hope you love this dish, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

      1. Hey Cynthia,
        If you purchase the chicken sausage in the casing then yes you will want to remove it. I hope the recipe turns out amazing for you, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan