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Some nights I have my act together. Most nights I make this Stuffed Pepper Casserole. Free-form and easy-going, this recipe takes the classic flavors and ingredients of stuffed peppers, then turns them into cheesy, healthy comfort food that cooks in one pot. “Unstuffed pepper casserole” would be a fitting name for it too.

Cheesy stuffed pepper casserole in a Dutch oven with fresh herbs

A forever fan of all-in-one meals—meaning single recipes that provide servings of lean protein, whole grains, AND vegetables alike, so you don’t have to fuss with a side if you aren’t in the mood—my love of stuffed vegetable recipes is well-documented here.

Let’s take stuffed peppers. I have a version for every mood!

Stuffed Peppers For When You’re Feeling Polished: Mexican Stuffed Peppers; Italian Stuffed Peppers; Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. These recipes are easy, healthy, and tie the total dinner package with a tidy, knife-and-fork, bell pepper bow.

Stuffed Peppers For When You’ve Planned Ahead. Crockpot Stuffed Peppers. Prep them a few hours in advance, and dinner is ready to go when you are.

Stuffed Peppers For When You’re Barely Holding It Together. THIS IS THAT RECIPE.

Think of this casserole as stuffed peppers, deconstructed—a very fancy way of saying, these are stuffed peppers for last-minute people who are in need of easy recipes.

A mix of ground turkey (or ground beef), red and green bell peppers, brown rice, cheese, and a few sneaky extra vegetables that no one will complain about and you’ll feel happy you included, this recipe tastes like a stuffed pepper, no actual stuffing required.

Instead of stuffing the filling into the peppers, the bell peppers here are sliced, sautéed, then mixed with the other ingredients.

The rice cooks in the same skillet too. You don’t need to make it in advance, and it will be perfectly tender when the casserole is complete.

This recipe is a cross between the assorted classic stuffed pepper recipes on my site (see above) and this reader favorite Sausage and Rice Casserole, with an extra ooey-gooey, casserole comfort factor added for good measure/general happiness.

The cheesy stuffed pepper casserole yields a generous amount, and the leftovers are easy to pack for lunch and reheat for fast dinners. I have storage tips for you below. Make it once, and your future self will thank you for the rest of the week!

Easy and delicious casserole in a large pot with all the flavors of stuffed peppers

How to Make the Best Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Fresh ingredients and pantry staples combine to create one serious skillet.

The Ingredients

  • Ground Turkey. To make this a lean and healthy stuffed pepper casserole, I used ground turkey. You could also use ground chicken or lean ground beef.
  • Vegetables. The more the merrier for this nutrient-packed dish! I used a combination of onion, green and red bell peppers, and frozen spinach. The frozen spinach is especially sneaky. It’s so mild, you can barely taste it.
  • Spices. As with all my stuffed pepper recipes, there’s oodles of flavor to be found. I used Italian seasoning for zest and cumin for warmth. The combination might sound a bit odd at first, but here it works magnificently.
  • Diced Tomatoes + Tomato Sauce. Fire roasted diced tomatoes and tomato sauce do double duty give the casserole excellent flavor and provide cooking liquid for the rice.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. The savory, umami factor.
  • Brown Rice. Brown rice is a staple in my house, and it’s good for you too! Because brown rice is a whole grain, it’s higher in fiber, protein, and nutrients than regular white rice. (See below for tips on how to make this a low carb casserole using cauliflower rice instead).
  • Cheese. I love the blend of cheddar and pepper jack cheese here. They’re bold and pair perfectly with the other flavors. If you prefer a more mild flavor, use Monterey jack, mozzarella, or cheddar only.
  • Toppings. I like to top my casserole with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for freshness and Greek yogurt for creaminess. In a hurry? You can skip the toppings. The casserole will still be delish.

The Directions 

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or great big skillet, then add the turkey and onion. Cook until browned, breaking the meat apart.
Ingredients for stuffed pepper casserole
  1. Add the spices and garlic, cooking until fragrant. Then, add the spinach. Add the peppers, water, tomatoes and tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and rice. Stir to combine.
  2. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Then, uncover, stir, and recover. Let simmer until the rice is tender. Sprinkle cheese on top.
Cheese melted on a casserole
  1. Let the casserole sit a few minutes, until the cheese is melted. Add fresh cilantro or parsley, and serve warm. ENJOY!

Recipe Variations

  • To Make Vegetarian. Swap the ground turkey for 2 (15-ounce) cans of reduced sodium white beans. Stir in the beans after the spinach in Step 3. (Or try these Vegan Stuffed Peppers.)
  • To Make Gluten Free. No changes needed! This recipe is naturally gluten free as written.
  • To Make Low Carb – Use Cauliflower Rice. You can experiment with making this stuffed pepper casserole with cauliflower rice. I would suggest omitting the tomato sauce and water, as they won’t be needed. Drain the diced tomatoes and add them with the spices and bell peppers in Step 2 (wait to add the spinach). Sauté the vegetables until the peppers are tender and the tomato liquid has cooked off. Add the spinach, then cauliflower rice and stir to warm through. Add the cheese and dig in!
Easy and delicious stuffed pepper casserole with brown rice, ground turkey, and veggies

What to Serve with Stuffed Pepper Casserole

While this is a wonderful all-in-one meal, here are a few ideas of what else you could serve with it:

Make Ahead, Storage, and Freezer Tips

  • To Store. Place leftover casserole in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat the casserole in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until hot. You can also rewarm this casserole in the microwave until warmed through.
  • To Freeze. Store leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To Make Ahead. To make this dish ahead, chop all the fresh veggies and brown the meat. Store them in the refrigerator in separate containers until you’re ready to prepare the casserole. You can also place your bag of frozen spinach in the refrigerator to thaw the night before.
Gooey and cheesy casserole with lots of flavor and healthy ingredients

So, are you waiting for me to confess which stuffed pepper recipe iteration is my favorite? It truly does depend on my mood (and let’s be honest—my level of dinner preparation that day!). Although, these Stuffed Peppers always sound tasty.

I can say that on any day when you’re in the marketing for a healthy dinner that comforts and mostly takes care of itself on the stove, this stuffed pepper recipe is hard to beat.

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below. It makes my day to hear from you and keeps me going to know that you enjoy these recipes!

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

4.75 from 299 votes
Easy Stuffed Pepper Casserole takes classic stuffed pepper ingredients like rice, ground meat, tomato and cheese and turns them into a healthy one pot meal!

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey or ground chicken or lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 12 ounces frozen chopped spinach thawed with as much water squeezed out as possible
  • 1 red bell pepper cored and diced
  • 1 green bell peppers cored and diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can 15-ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
  • 1 8-ounce can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese use Monterey jack or mozzarella for a more mild flavor; or swap in additional cheddar
  • For serving: chopped fresh cilantro or parsley; Greek yogurt

Instructions
 

  • In a Dutch oven or similar deep, sturdy pot, heat the oil over medium high. Add the turkey and onion. With a wooden spoon or spatula, break the meat into small pieces. Cook and stir until it is browned and fully cooked through and the onion is tender, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the Italian seasoning, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic. Stir and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach. With a fork (or very carefully with your fingers) break apart the clumps so it's fairly evenly distributed with the meat. Add red and green bell peppers, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and rice. Stir to evenly combine.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let cook 30 minutes. Uncover and stir, scraping up any rice that is beginning to stick. Recover and continue to simmer until the rice is tender, about 10 to 15 additional minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Uncover and stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Don’t worry if it’s still a little liquidy. It will continue to thicken and the liquid will further absorb as it sits. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, then recover.
  • Let sit off the heat 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the rice is tender (it will still have a little bit of chew, which is normal for brown rice, but it should not be crunchy). If you’d like the top golden, place the dish, uncovered, under the broiler for a minute or two (watch carefully to ensure the top does not burn). Serve warm, sprinkled with fresh cilantro or parsley.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Place leftover casserole in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Reheat the casserole in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until hot. You can also rewarm this casserole in the microwave until warmed through.
  • TO FREEZE: Store leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6); about 1 1/2 cupsCalories: 263kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 27gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 60mgPotassium: 741mgFiber: 5gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 7998IUVitamin C: 51mgCalcium: 277mgIron: 4mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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388 Comments

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    1. Hi Kasey! It might work, but I haven’t tried it. This is how I make my cabbage rolls: https://www.wellplated.com/cabbage-rolls/ Enjoy!

  1. Ok so mom brain hit me HARD and I forgot to buy the rice & cheese at the store. Of course I was already in the process of cooking the meat, so there was no turning back. Thankfully I had boxed mac n cheese laying around and let me tell you this is DELICIOUS on top!!! Crisis averted with a tasty improv.5 stars

  2. This recipe is really delicious and made a lot. It was very easy to prepare. My husband who is a picky eater liked it too. For my personal taste, next time I will add a tad of sugar to cut the acidy tomato taste. It didn’t bother my husband. I used one red bell pepper and one green bell pepper. I used all the seasonings listed and had lean ground beef (90-10). Give this a try. It’s really good.5 stars

  3. I’ve made this recipe a few times and my family loves it. This week, I had a bunch of fresh garden tomatoes from our neighbor & diced those in place of the canned fire roasted tomatoes. It was equally delicious!5 stars

  4. I made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit! I followed every step and it turned out delicious. Thank you so much for an easy, healthy, tasty, and budget friendly meal.5 stars

  5. I made this last night and upped the recipe by 1/2 more as I have two older sons. There were no leftovers. They requested it again and it’s easy to put together so we definitely will be making this more often ☺5 stars

    1. I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience the ads caused you, Mary. I will certainly keep paying close attention to the number of ads and how they load, as I never want them to hinder your ability to view the recipe or the blog post. I do truly appreciate your feedback and apologize again for the inconvenience! Also, there is a quick and convenient “jump to recipe” button that will help you get to the recipe faster and a print button to have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Paulina! I’ve only tested the recipe as written so can’t give specifics on what to do with fresh spinach. Using fresh spinach should work fine and I know others have tried it with great success. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  6. I much prefer stuffed pepper soup over this casserole. It’s mushy. I guess I didn’t grow up on casseroles and don’t like food that sounds goopy. With the soup, I can control the rice (ladle soup over rice when serving). The casserole overcooks the peppers also. I pretty much do the same thing as this recipe but use a full box of beef stock instead of water, and add a dash of Blis Blast pepper sauce for heat. Then add over rice.1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Jessica. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  7. This recipe looks good, and I will definitely give it a try. I’m wondering, however, why frozen spinach would be added so early in the cooking process. Even chopped fresh spinach cooks in almost no time. Wouldn’t frozen just disappear?

    1. Hi Lily, we’ve added it to boast the amount of vegetables in it. It doesn’t disappear and works great in the recipe. Enjoy!

  8. If i wanted to use 1/2 cup of rice instead of a full cup (to cut down on carbs) would i need to use half the amount of water?

    1. Hi Kate, I haven’t tested it out myself but I think that could work. If it starts looking like it’s all boiling away you might need to add some more. You want it to still be liquidy when it’s done cooking so the water absorbs during the rest time. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes.

  9. Hi Erin! I’m excited to try yet another one of your recipes. For this one I do not want to add the rice. Do I just omit the water? Thank you!

    Martha

    1. Hi Martha, pretty sure that is how you could adjust the recipe. I haven’t tried it myself so if you experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

  10. Excellent! We will definitely make this again. Easy instructions to follow, and we had everything on hand already with a few substitutes: yellow and orange bell peppers and white rice, which cooked quicker than brown would have. We also added a small can of mushrooms just because we love mushrooms.5 stars

    1. Hi Mary,
      I wanted to use quinoa also. Did you follow the cooking instructions or did you add it about halfway through?

      1. Hi Sue! I have a quinoa version available, maybe that would help! Enjoy! https://www.wellplated.com/spinach-artichoke-quinoa-stuffed-bell-peppers/

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