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Unstuffed Peppers Recipe

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Unstuffed Peppers Recipe

Unstuffed peppers are a delightful, hearty dish that brings together all the flavors of traditional stuffed peppers but with a simplified, quicker preparation. This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights when you crave comfort food without the hassle. Here’s a detailed, step-by-step guide to creating this delicious meal.

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For the Base:

  • 1 lb (450g) ground beef (or substitute with ground turkey or a plant-based ground meat for a vegetarian version)
  • 2 large bell peppers, diced (any color)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (or brown rice for a healthier option)
  • 2 cups beef broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp chili powder (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese (optional, for topping)

For Garnish:

  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt


Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  1. Chop the Vegetables: Start by dicing the bell peppers and onion. Mince the garlic cloves.
  2. Measure the Ingredients: Measure out the rice, beef broth, and spices to streamline the cooking process.

Step 2: Cook the Ground Beef

  1. Heat a Large Skillet: Place a large skillet or a deep pan over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil if your meat is very lean.
  2. Brown the Beef: Add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook, breaking it up with a spatula, until it’s browned and cooked through. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Drain Excess Fat: If there is excess fat in the skillet, carefully drain it off.

Step 3: Cook the Vegetables

  1. Add Onions and Garlic: Add the diced onions and minced garlic to the skillet with the beef. Sauté for about 3 minutes, until the onions are translucent and fragrant.
  2. Add Bell Peppers: Stir in the diced bell peppers. Cook for another 5 minutes, until they begin to soften.

Step 4: Combine Ingredients

  1. Add Rice and Broth: Add the uncooked rice to the skillet, stirring to combine. Pour in the beef broth.
  2. Stir in Tomatoes and Sauce: Add the can of diced tomatoes (with their juice) and the tomato sauce. Stir to mix everything well.

Step 5: Season and Simmer

  1. Season the Dish: Add the salt, black pepper, paprika, dried oregano, dried basil, and chili powder (if using). Stir well to ensure the spices are evenly distributed.
  2. Bring to a Boil: Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Simmer and Cook: Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover the skillet and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid.

Step 6: Final Touches

  1. Check the Rice: After 20 minutes, check if the rice is cooked through. If it’s still a bit firm, cook for another 5 minutes.
  2. Adjust Seasoning: Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more salt or spices to suit your preference.

Step 7: Serve

  1. Add Cheese: If you’re using cheese, sprinkle the shredded mozzarella or cheddar over the top of the skillet. Cover and let it melt for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Garnish and Serve: Once the cheese is melted and bubbly, remove the skillet from the heat. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Plate the Dish: Spoon generous portions of the unstuffed pepper mixture onto plates.
  2. Add Garnishes: Top with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt for added creaminess.
  3. Pair with Sides: This dish pairs well with a simple green salad or steamed vegetables for a balanced meal.

Tips and Variations

  1. Vegetarian Version: Substitute ground beef with a plant-based ground meat or lentils.
  2. Spice Level: Adjust the chili powder to control the heat level, or add a diced jalapeño for extra kick.
  3. Rice Alternatives: For a low-carb version, use cauliflower rice. Adjust cooking time as it cooks faster than regular rice.
  4. Make Ahead: This dish can be made ahead and reheated. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutritional Information (per serving, serves 4)

  • Calories: 450
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 8g

Unstuffed peppers are a versatile, one-pan dish that brings together the comforting flavors of stuffed peppers with much less effort. Whether you’re feeding a family or preparing meals for the week, this recipe is sure to be a hit. Enjoy the rich, savory taste of this deconstructed classic, perfect for any occasion!

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Source: chelseasmessyapron.com

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Yield: 4

Unstuffed Peppers Recipe

Unstuffed Peppers Recipe

Unstuffed peppers are a delightful, hearty dish that brings together all the flavors of traditional stuffed peppers but with a simplified, quicker preparation. This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights when you crave comfort food without the hassle. Here's a detailed, step-by-step guide to creating this delicious meal.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely diced yellow onion (1 large onion)
  • 2 cups chopped sweet bell peppers (2 large peppers; I use 1 red and 1 orange)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, roasted garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 pound (16 oz.) lean (93/7) ground turkey (See Note 1)
  • 1 large beef bouillon cube
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce (we love Rao's)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley for garnish
  • Serve over: cooked rice or cauliflower rice


  • PEPPERS AND ONIONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the finely diced onions, and chopped bell peppers. Saute for 6-8 minutes or until softened. Add in garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and the seasonings: the chili powder, cumin, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, and optional red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; I add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  • GROUND TURKEY: Move veggies to the sides of the pan. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the center of the pan and add ground turkey. Let cook without stirring, until golden brown on bottom, about 1-2 minutes and then break up into chunks. Continue to cook and crumble the ground turkey until browned, incorporating veggies as you cook through the ground turkey, about 5 more minutes.

  • TOMATOES: Add in the fire-roasted diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and crumbled beef bouillon cube. Stir to incorporate and cook off most of the liquid from the tomatoes. Add in the marinara sauce and stir to heat through.

  • CHEESE: Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and immediately transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 4-8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with fresh parsley (If this dish wasn't cooked in an oven-safe skillet, cover the skillet, remove from heat, and allow the residual heat to cook the cheese while it stands.).

  • ENJOY: Serve over cooked cauliflower rice or regular rice.


I recommend ground turkey that is sold in a carton, rather than in a chub (the plastic tube). The chub ground turkey tends to be overly watery and less flavorful.

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