These Unstuffed Peppers Bowls have all the warm flavor of classic stuffed bell peppers but are twice as easy to make! Prepare a large skillet in just 30 minutes for a delicious dinner that’s high-protein, gluten-free, and great for feeding the whole family.
Note: This recipe was originally published as “Deconstructed Stuffed Bell Peppers Bowl” from our Nourishing Superfood Bowls cookbook. We have since updated it, using the original recipe as inspiration to make it even better for you!
- What Are Unstuffed Peppers?
- Ingredients to Make Ground Beef Unstuffed Peppers (And Easy Substitutions)
- Health Benefits of Bell Peppers
- How to Make Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers
- Can I Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?
- How to Store and Reheat
- What Can I Serve with Unstuffed Bell Peppers?
- Common Questions About This Unstuffed Peppers Recipe
- More Tex-Mex Inspired Recipes
What Are Unstuffed Peppers?
Unstuffed bell peppers, sometimes also referred to as an unstuffed pepper skillet, are exactly like stuffed bell peppers! The difference is that instead of stuffing the protein and rice mixture inside of hollowed-out peppers, all the ingredients cook together in a single skillet.
They’re an easy way to get all the warm, Tex-Mex-inspired flavors you love without all the work of preparing, stuffing, and baking peppers. Even better, unstuffed peppers require far fewer steps, less cooking time and cleanup, and are a breeze to make!
Don’t be surprised if you never go back to traditional stuffed peppers again.
Ingredients to Make Ground Beef Unstuffed Peppers (And Easy Substitutions)
Beef, peppers, and cheese, oh my! This easy unstuffed peppers skillet has comfort food flavors for everyone to enjoy.
- Oil – Use light olive oil to brown the meat and sauté the veggies.
- Protein – We use lean ground beef (90% or higher), but lean ground turkey or ground chicken also tastes great!
Ingredient Swap: For a vegetarian option, swap the beef with ground tempeh instead!
- Aromatics – Onions and garlic add lots of sweet, savory flavor to the dish.
- Bell Peppers – You can’t have unstuffed peppers without peppers! Chop them up, and sauté them with the veggies to add volume and nutrients to the skillet.
- Tomato Sauce + Tomato Paste– This creates a sort of “broth” helping combine the ingredients and create a cohesive, almost casserole-like flavor.
- Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce – Don’t skip this! It adds extra depth and a smoky, salty, slightly umami taste.
- Seasonings – Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes enhance the savoriness of the ingredients.
- Quinoa – Use cooked quinoa or white or brown rice to add bulk and make this skillet dinner extra filling.
- Cheese – Any shredded cheese such as cheddar cheese or Monterrey Jack cheese will taste great!
Ingredient Swap: Feel free to use your favorite dairy-free cheese if needed.
- Toppings – Technically optional, we love to top our unstuffed peppers bowls with fresh parsley!
Health Benefits of Bell Peppers
Not only are they super versatile and easy to find, but bell peppers are full of health benefits, too! For instance, bell peppers are:
- An excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K1, vitamin E, and vitamin A.
- A good source of potassium and folate.
- Rich in fiber.
- High in antioxidants.
How to Make Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers
This recipe is practically a one-pot meal! The only thing that is cooked outside of the skillet is the quinoa, and you can even prepare that in advance to make this dish super quick.
- Brown the meat. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the ground beef. Cook until it is browned, breaking it up along the way. Then, drain most (not all!) of the excess fat, and transfer the meat to a bowl or plate.
- Sauté the veggies. Next, add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper to the pan. Sauté until slightly tender and fragrant.
- Combine the ingredients. Add the meat back to the pan along with the spices, mixing to combine. Then, stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and gluten-free Worcestershire sauce. Allow the mixture to cook over medium heat until bubbly, Then, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the mixture simmer.
- Prepare the quinoa or rice. While the skillet simmers, cook the quinoa or rice according to the package instructions.
Pro-Tip: Boil your quinoa or rice in chicken or beef broth to add extra flavor!
- Mix. Mix part of the cooked quinoa in with the veggie and meat mixture, coating it completely. Then, keeping the heat on low, mix in some of the cheese until combined. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top, and cover the pot. Turn off the heat, and let the skillet sit over the burner to melt the cheese.
Note: Alternatively, if using an oven-safe pan, preheat the broiler while the mixture cooks, and use it to melt the cheese. If preferred, you could also divide the meat and quinoa mixture into bowls, and stir in the cheese after, allowing it to melt.
- Serve. Top your unstuffed peppers with fresh parsley and toppings of choice, and enjoy warm!
Can I Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?
Yes! Prep the rice and brown the beef separately, and store them in airtight containers in the fridge for up to three to four days. Then, all you have to do is combine and heat the ingredients on the stove.
How to Store and Reheat
Once cooked and cooled, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
To reheat, warm them in a skillet over medium heat. Or, heat individual portions in the microwave.
Pro-Tip: If your unstuffed peppers dish dries out a bit, freshen it back up with a splash of water or broth!
What Can I Serve with Unstuffed Bell Peppers?
Made with protein, carbohydrates, and veggies, this recipe is a complete, filling meal on its own! However, if you want to bulk it up, try serving it with gluten-free flour tortillas or corn tortillas, tortilla chips, or over lettuce as a salad bowl.
Or, add a side of cornbread or beans!
Common Questions About This Unstuffed Peppers Recipe
Yes! Stored in an airtight container in the freezer, leftovers can be frozen for up to three to four months.
Any color of bell pepper you like best will taste great in this recipe! Red, yellow, and orange varieties tend to be sweeter than green, but the choice is up to you.
Sure! Fresh cauliflower rice (not frozen) works great to make this stuffed pepper casserole recipe low carb. Just add it to the skillet with the rest of the ingredients, and simmer until it’s heated through.
If you want even more veggies, try including cooked spinach, extra sautéed peppers, and diced tomatoes, too!
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