I’ve been wanting to make something stuffed for a while. I kept thinking about peppers, but they’re so good raw I couldn’t bring myself to “waste” them like that. Although stay tuned down the line...maybe when they’re not so plump and crisp (i.e. out of season). Onions seem too fiddly. And zucchini can be tricky because it gets soft so quickly and expels a lot of liquid (plus I’ve already done it here). But I had a bunch of red potatoes sitting on my counter, that I bought for no particular reason, and after one started to rot and expel that foul-smelling rotten potato liquid (if you know you know!), I decided to put them to good use.

Important: It seems counterintuitive to hollow out the potatoes when raw. You’d think it’d be easier once they’re cooked. But once cooked, they are more likely to fall apart if you start trying to scoop out the centers. I tried it both ways, and by holling it out raw (using a spoon), they cooked well and held their shape.

I used red potatoes because they are waxy and hold their shape well when cooked (and they taste good). My next option would be a Yukon Gold potato, but you need to be very careful when par-boiling them, because they get soft so quickly.

Because potato size varies so greatly, it’s hard to get the ratio of potatoes to filling exactly right. If you have extra potatoes, you can use the extras to make smashed potatoes. If you have extra filling, save it and serve it over rice, couscous, pasta, or mashed potatoes.

Add a fresh salad and you have a complete crowd-pleasing meal.


  • 10-12 red potatoes
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • Optional: flavored panko crumbs


  1. To prepare the potatoes, you need to hollow them out to create “cups” for the meat filling. For smaller potatoes, just cut off the top. For large potatoes, cut them in half, to create two cups. Use a spoon to hollow out the inside. You want to leave enough potato to a) eat, b) make sure it is strong enough to hold up.
  2. Boil the hollowed potatoes in salted water until just tender, but not soft. A little bit harder than you would want to eat. If they’re too soft, they will fall apart, plus we are going to bake them after they are filled.
  3. Remove potatoes and let cool.
  4. For the filling, use a large frying pan. Heat the pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and brown well. Add the onion and let it cook with the meat for about 5 minutes. Then add the green pepper, spices and tomato paste. Mix well and when it smells fragrant, add the tomato sauce and water and turn the flame down to medium. Cook for about 10-15 minutes more. Meat should be soft and flavorful. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  5. To assemble, fill the hollowed out potatoes with the meat mixture and place in a baking dish. Optional: Sprinkle panko crumbs lightly over the tops. Bake at 400°F (200°C) for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then serve. Reheats well in the oven or microwave.
  6. Save any leftover filling (or intentionally make extra!) and serve with rice or couscous (as I have been doing all week…).