Stuffed Pepper Bake

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This Stuffed Pepper Bake combines beef, bell peppers, onions, and rice with a tasty tomato-based sauce and cheese that is baked in the oven until it’s warm and bubbly. Simply delicious!

A NEW TWIST ON CLASSIC STUFFED BELL PEPPERS

If you love stuffed peppers, you will love this Stuffed Pepper Bake even more! While I enjoy the flavors in stuffed peppers, I find that the actual whole stuffed peppers are a little challenging for younger kids. So, I decided to make an easier to manage version! I lovingly call this “un”stuffed peppers because I use everything that you would stuff inside the peppers and turn it into a delicious, filling baked dish instead!

This Stuffed Pepper Bake is the perfect dish to serve for any dinner or potluck. Leftovers are even better the next day as the flavors have more time to mingle, making this recipe a great option for meal prep. Best of all, it’s super easy to make, and as simple as it is delicious. You will enjoy this new twist on a classic dish that is so hearty, warm, and comforting you can’t help but go back for seconds (and let’s be honest, maybe even thirds!).

With a cozy blend of melted cheese on top of a tomato-based mixture of ground beef, bell peppers, onions, rice, and spices, this recipe is an easy way for you to get meat and vegetables into your diet without even realizing it. This is a no-brainer for parents of picky eaters because your kids will gobble it up, completely oblivious to the fact that they are eating something healthy and filling.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS STUFFED PEPPER BAKE

  • Taking less than 40 minutes from start to finish, this is a great weeknight dinner option so you can get a hot meal on the table quickly. You can even prep it ahead of time and reheat it when you’re ready to eat.
  • The directions are simple to follow, and the ingredients are easily accessible year-round at any grocery store.
  • This is a wonderful option for meal prep for the week ahead.
  • It’s healthy, affordable, and delicious.
  • You can bring this dish to a potluck or family gathering, as it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE STUFFED PEPPER CASSEROLE

EQUIPMENT

  • Frying pan or skillet
  • Colander or strainer
  • Spoon
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

INGREDIENTS

  • Ground beef: While I tend to opt for a leaner 96/4 to cut down on fat and calories, any type will do. You can also use ground turkey, ground chicken, or a meat alternative if you prefer.
  • Rice: While brown rice is my usual “go to” for this recipe, any type of rice will do. You can also use quinoa, couscous, riced cauliflower, or riced zucchini.
  • Bell peppers: Any color will be perfect in this recipe. I usually choose two colors to add some extra color to the dish.
  • Onion: Again, any type of onion is perfect. White, red, yellow… you pick!
  • Petite diced tomatoes: While I use canned tomatoes, you could also use any type of diced fresh tomato.
  • Seasonings: Fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  • Worcestershire sauce: This adds a subtle flavor that will have people wonder what your secret ingredient might be. If you don’t have any Worcestershire sauce, you can use soy sauce or coconut aminos instead.
  • Tomato sauce: This will tie all the flavors together in a rich, flavorful sauce.
  • Shredded cheese: While I use reduced fat shredded cheese to reduce fat and calories, you can use regular shredded cheese if you prefer.

HOW TO MAKE STUFFED PEPPER BAKE

INSTRUCTIONS

  • First, preheat your oven to 375°F.
  • In a frying pan or skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat.

  • Once browned, use a colander or strainer to drain the fat from the beef and set it aside.
  • Start cooking your rice according to the package instructions.
  • While the ground beef and rice are cooking, use a knife and cutting board to dice the bell peppers and onion and mince the garlic.
  • In the same pot, sauté the bell peppers and onion until soft.

  • Add the diced tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce, and cook for another minute or two.

  • Add the ground beef and rice back to the pan along with the tomato sauce and half of the cheese. Stir to combine.

  • In a 9×13 baking dish, add the ground beef mixture and top with the rest of the cheese.

  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

VARIATIONS TO THIS RECIPE

  • If you’re a vegetarian or just prefer not to eat meat, you can make this delicious dish with vegetables instead. Replace the ground beef with sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, or squash (or a mixture of all three!) for a hearty texture. You can also use a meat alternative if desired.
    Instead of ground beef, try ground chicken or ground turkey to keep the recipe light.
  • Try mixing up the rice by choosing quinoa or couscous. Note that this substitution may change the overall cooking time slightly depending on the instructions for each.
  • Any type of shredded cheese works in this dish. If you aren’t calorie-conscious, opt for regular shredded cheese instead of reduced fat.
  • Any type of rice is great too! While I tend to go for brown rice, white or wild rice would be excellent options as well.
  • For a lower carb option, use riced cauliflower or zucchini instead of regular rice. Once cooked, make sure to drain any excess water to make sure your stuffed pepper casserole does not become watery during the cooking process.
  • If you don’t have any Worcestershire sauce, you can use soy sauce or coconut aminos instead.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Let’s talk about skillets for a second.

You need a good skillet if you don’t already have one. You know the kind: the one with the flat bottom and sloping sides that curve up like the lip of a glass that is just begging your spatula to slide right in and flip your Saturday morning pancakes right over. That’s the one. 😉

A good skillet is your friend in the kitchen. It will never let you down, and it won’t even laugh if you mess up when you’re trying to flip an omelet (we’ve all been there a time or two, right?!). For cast iron skillets, I recommend Lodge brand. Cast iron skillets are special in and of themselves. They’re sturdy and won’t break if dropped.

If you’re looking for something other than cast iron, the GreenPan Rio Healthy Ceramic Nonstick 12″ Frying Pan Skillet is another great option. It is an eco-friendly and healthier alternative to traditional nonstick cookware. The pan’s thermalon ceramic nonstick coating is manufactured without any potentially toxic chemicals. The heavy-gauge aluminum construction ensures quick, even heating and browning, while the flared sides promote easy flipping and tossing of ingredients.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

IS IT POSSIBLE TO SUBSTITUTE GROUND TURKEY OR GROUND CHICKEN FOR GROUND BEEF IN A RECIPE?

Yes, absolutely! All types of meat make a great substitute in this recipe. A meat substitute can even be used if desired.

DO I NEED TO REMOVE THE SEEDS AND MEMBRANES FROM THE PEPPERS?

That’s entirely up to you. While I prefer to remove all of them, it’s not necessary if you’re short on time.

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH THIS STUFFED PEPPER BAKE?

You can serve this dish with a salad or some crusty bread. Some people prefer to eat it alone, while others like to have a side dish of some sort. I personally don’t bother with a side dish since this is a complete meal all in itself with a protein, starch, and vegetable.

CAN I PREPARE THIS DISH AHEAD OF TIME?

You can easily prep this Stuffed Pepper Bake ahead of time to make dinnertime a breeze. Simply assemble everything and store covered in your refrigerator. Take it out of your refrigerator while your oven is preheating to take some of the chill off, and pop it in to bake when your oven is ready!

STORAGE, REHEATING, AND FREEZING

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO STORE STUFFED PEPPER CASSEROLE?

This dish is best stored in the refrigerator. After it has cooled completely, you can store it in the original baking dish or transfer leftovers into an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. If you want to freeze the leftovers, use the same method and freeze for up to six months. Allow the dish to defrost completely before reheating it to serve.

HOW DO YOU REHEAT STUFFED PEPPER CASSEROLE?

If you need to reheat your Stuffed Pepper Bake, place a portion on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a paper towel. This will prevent the tomato-based sauce from splattering all over your microwave, and you’ll thank yourself for taking this extra step. Microwave the dish on high for about one minute or until heated through. If you prefer, you can also reheat in an oven set to 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

CAN YOU FREEZE STUFFED PEPPER CASSEROLE?

You can freeze this dish to make it last even longer. After it has cooled completely, simply cover the original baking dish with aluminum foil or transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the freezer for up to six months. When you’re ready to enjoy it, allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight and follow the reheating instructions outlined above.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

This Stuffed Pepper Bake makes 6 servings at a heaping 3/4 cup each. Each serving comes out to 407 calories, 6 WW Green SmartPoints®, 6 WW Blue SmartPoints®, and 4 WW Purple SmartPoints® if you use brown rice.

Go here to calculate your own WW PersonalPoints™ for this recipe.

MORE OVEN BAKED DISHES

Do you enjoy easy baked dishes that you can assemble quickly and put in the oven? I have you covered! Check out these other baked dishes…

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below, or post a picture and tag me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter with @cookingwithfudge or #cookingwithfudge.

Originally posted on September 11, 2021. Reposted on April 27, 2022 with different pictures and more detailed instructions.

A plate with a serving of Stuffed Pepper Bake and a baking dish in the background. Cooking With Fudge

Stuffed Pepper Bake

This Stuffed Pepper Bake combines beef, bell peppers, onions, and rice with a tasty tomato-based sauce and cheese that is baked in the oven until it's warm and bubbly. Simply delicious!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Bell Peppers, Cheese, Garlic, Ground Beef, Onion, Stuffed Peppers, Tomato Sauce
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 407kcal
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
4.91 from 42 votes
Print Facebook Pinterest Rate
Adjustable Servings: 6 servings

Equipment

  • Frying pan or skillet
  • Colander or strainer
  • Spoon
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 96/4 lean ground beef
  • 2 cups brown rice cooked
  • 2 bell peppers diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes drained
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1.5 cups reduced fat shredded cheese

Instructions

  • First, preheat your oven to 375°F.
  • In a frying pan or skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat.
  • Once browned, use a colander or strainer to drain the fat from the beef and set it aside.
  • Start cooking your rice according to the package instructions.
  • While the ground beef and rice are cooking, use a knife and cutting board to dice the bell peppers and onion and mince the garlic.
  • In the same pot, sauté the bell peppers and onion until soft.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce, and cook for another minute or two.
  • Add the ground beef and rice back to the pan along with the tomato sauce and half of the cheese. Stir to combine.
  • In a 9×13 baking dish, add the ground beef mixture and top with the rest of the cheese.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Notes

This Stuffed Pepper Bake makes 6 servings at a heaping 3/4 cup each. Each serving comes out to 407 calories, 6 WW Green SmartPoints®, 6 WW Blue SmartPoints®, and 4 WW Purple SmartPoints® if you use brown rice.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 654mg | Potassium: 605mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1319IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookingWithFudge or tag #CookingWithFudge!

 

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My kids loved this! I used ground turkey instead of ground beef and it came out wonderful. I also used a little white cheddar and it was great.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve always loved stuffed peppers and this recipe was spot on. I made it for a family gathering and everyone devoured it. Great recipe.

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