Vegetarian Rice and Cheddar Stuffed Peppers

Vegetarian Rice and Cheddar Stuffed Peppers

The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
378 Calories
26g Fat
20g Carbs
16g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 378
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 34%
Saturated Fat 15g 76%
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Sodium 745mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 53mg 264%
Calcium 469mg 36%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 206mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These stuffed peppers are the perfect dinner solution for vegetarians, or for anyone who likes to have a meat-free meal now and then. They can also be served as a tasty side dish, alongside steaks, chicken, or fish. Or make them a luncheon dish with a cup of soup or salad.

This recipe calls for red bell peppers, but a combination of colors can make for an attractive presentation. A simple mixture of rice and cheese is the filling, which makes these peppers a blank canvas for adding other ingredients. Toss in 1/2 cup of steamed peas, chopped broccoli, or chopped sauteed kale or spinach. And if you crave a heartier stuffed pepper main dish, feel free to add about 1/2 cup of cooked beans. Or add 1/4 cup of cooked crumbled bacon or 1/2 cup of diced cooked chicken, turkey, ham, or tuna. You can also replace the 3/4 cup of water with vegetable broth or chicken stock for additional flavor.

Ingredients

  • 4 large red bell peppers

  • 1 cup rice (uncooked)

  • 2 1/4 cups water (divided)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

  • 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese

  • Black pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Steps to Make It

Prep the Peppers

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vegetarian Rice and Cheddar Stuffed Peppers ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  2. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and membranes while keeping the peppers and stems intact.

    red bells peppers cut lengthwise with the seeds and membranes removed

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  3. Place the peppers in a large saucepan of salted water.

    red bell peppers in a pot of salted water

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  4. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until just tender.

    peppers boiling in a pot

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  5. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.

    cooking liquid in a measuring cup

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Cook the Rice

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice with 1 1/2 cups of the water and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.

    rice and water in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  2. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

    rice cooking in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  3. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for about 15 to 19 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

    rice cooking in a covered saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  4. Remove the rice from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes without removing the cover.

    covered saucepan with rice

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  5. Fluff with a fork.

    rice in a saucepan fluffed with fork

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Make the Filling

  1. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.

    butter in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  2. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent.

    onions cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  3. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of water and the cheddar cheese.

    water and cheddar with onions in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  4. Stir until smooth and well blended.

    cheese sauce in a pan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  5. Remove from the heat and add the rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    add rice filling to the cheese mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  6. Add the chopped parsley and stir to blend.

    Add the chopped parsley to the filling in the pan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Assemble and Cook Peppers

  1. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of the liquid from cooking the peppers into a deep skillet or saute pan. Place a rack in the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer. 

    steamer rack in a pot

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  2. Fill each of the pepper halves with the rice mixture.

    rice and cheese filling inside the bell pepper

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  3. Arrange the filled peppers on the rack.

    bell peppers on a steamer rack

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  4. Cover the pan and simmer the peppers for about 15 minutes.

    Vegetarian Rice and Cheddar Stuffed Peppers, steamed in a pot

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Recipe Variations

  • Louisiana Stuffed Peppers: Saute 1/3 cup each of diced carrots, onions, and celery along with some Cajun or Creole seasoning. Add to the rice.
  • Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers: Add about 1/3 cup each of black beans, diced fresh tomato, and corn kernels, along with a splash of lime and some cilantro (instead of parsley) to the rice. Season with a bit of chili powder and cumin, to taste.