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; Spinach Artichoke 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 with cheese, meat, bell peppers, and tomatoes in a skillet with cheese on top.

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

4.9 from 59 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 mins
Cook: 1 hr
Total: 1 hr 5 mins

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
  • ½ 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
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ 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.

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 ½ 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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165 Comments

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  1. Love this recipe! So hearty, tasty and as a bonus, it’s healthy. I really like that it’s easy to make being all in one pot and versatile with ingredients. I made some substitutions based on my own availability like using turkey sausage instead of ground turkey, zucchini instead of red pepper and added egg. I also garnished with red onion and lime juice which gave it an extra zing at the end. I’ll definitely be making again!5 stars

  2. I don’t know why I decided to make this casserole. I don’t particularly like dishes with tomato other than chili and spaghetti. When I told my neighbor what I was making, she said, “Sounds good.” So I said I’d give it to her.

    So I grumpily persevered. When it was done, I spooned out a teaspoon-sized bite. Hmmm…. Not too bad…. Then another teaspoon… Hmmm… Then another… AMAZING! This is GOOD! as I piled it on a plate. My apologies, Erin. I should have known that if it came from you, it would be good!

    I did use bulgar wheat instead of rice because it’s slightly healthier, and I’d not tried it before. Great choice and a lower glycemic index.

    Oh, and it makes such a generous amount that I’m still going to give some to my neighbor–along with the recipe!5 stars

  3. Omg — yum, yum, YUM!! This was so cozy and delicious for a chilly night in NC! It was a combo of all my favorite things — hearty, healthy, and, of course, cheesy!!! I don’t have kids but I imagine this would be a great way to sneak in extra veggies. So delish!5 stars

  4. I made this vegetarian and omg it was amazing! I took 2 packs of Madras lentils from Costco, one can of cannelini beans, and a small head of cauliflower riced. It was out of this world!! Thanks for the best recipe.5 stars

  5. I made this tonight for the first time and it was delicious. My hubby enjoyed it too and told me it’s a keeper. Thanks for sharing this!5 stars

  6. Absolutely delicious and my family liked it better than traditional stuffed peppers! I was questioning the spices as I was preparing it, but it tasted incredible. Definitely adding to my regular recipe box of favorites.5 stars

  7. This looks absolutely delicious and I would love to try it! But I need to know sodium info due to my husband’s heart issues. Are you able to include that in your recipes (and especially THIS one)?

    1. Hi Missy! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

  8. I made a vegan version of this with some leftover Italian chickpea burgers I made the night before. Added diced zucchini fresh oregano, baby spinach and real campari tomatoes..seriously delish!5 stars

  9. Very simple and good meal. I used chirazo sausage, and woudl add more peppers next time. I also used less rice – about 2/3 of a cup. Will make it again!4 stars

  10. I’m not sure what people are thinking when they’re doing these ratings, but this was a very “blah” recipe at best. I didn’t hate it, but it is definitely nowhere near the 5 star rating that drew me to it in the first place. It will never be served at my table again. Sorry, but I rely on accurate reviews and this didn’t do it for me on any level.2 stars

    1. Hi, I’m sorry to hear that this dish wasn’t quite to your tastes. I know it’s frustrating to try a new recipe and not have it turn out as expected, so I truly wish you would’ve enjoyed it!

    2. I’m sorry Lunacat but just because you didn’t care for this recipe doesn’t mean the other reviews were not “accurate” everyone’s tastes are different. Stick to reviewing the recipe and don’t insult others.5 stars

  11. I made this as written for a friend that just found out she has gallstones and needs to be on a low fat diet. She loved the casserole and could not believe anything low fat could taste so good.5 stars

      1. I made this tonight, holy delicious! Thank you for your wonderful recipes! You make dieting taste so good. 😁5 stars

  12. I made it and loved it. It was easy and I also added a half cup of mild salsa in place of the red pepper. I am thinking a can of black beans would also be nice for an alternate time. I served it with tostitos chips, sour cream and you can also add a dash of hot sauce if you need even more fire! Thank you for this recipe. It satisfies all my Mexican cravings!5 stars

  13. What’s the nutrition without the rice? I make and love this recipe! But I don’t add the rice for health reasons.5 stars

    1. I’m SO happy that you’ve enjoyed it, Tiffany! Unfortunately, I only have the nutrition information listed. However, you could use an online calculator (like MyFitnessPal) to find an estimate based on your exact ingredients. I hope this helps!

  14. I’ve made this about 10 times and my family loves it! I sometimes use chicken breast cut in small pieces instead of ground meat. So yummy thank you!5 stars

  15. My husband and I both enjoyed this healthy + yummy recipe so much! We will absolutely be making this again! I did have to adjust cooking time for longer because I used a regular skillet, but it was worth the wait! YUM!!!5 stars

  16. Delicious! My 5 year old even loved it with some Greek yogurt mixed in at the end. Yummy and macro friendly!!5 stars

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