Unstuffed Peppers Casserole

Unstuffed Peppers

Diana Rattray / The Spruce

  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
633 Calories
26g Fat
51g Carbs
46g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 6
Amount per serving
Calories 633
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 34%
Saturated Fat 12g 62%
Cholesterol 138mg 46%
Sodium 963mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 18%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Protein 46g
Calcium 330mg 25%
*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.)

This is an easy way to enjoy stuffed pepper flavors, and because the prep work is so simple, the recipe takes about half the time as traditional stuffed peppers. The casserole is made with ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and cheese, along with peppers and seasonings. This casserole riff is made with all of the familiar ingredients you would expect from classic baked stuffed peppers.

If you are heading to a potluck or a need an easy meal for a family dinner or party, use this recipe. It's also quite flexible. Two large bell peppers are used for the dish, one green, and one red, but you could use more or use whatever colors you have on hand. If you prefer not to use beef, some ground turkey would also work well in the recipe. If you want to make a vegetarian version, use crumbed tofu or another meat substitute in place of the ground beef. The texture might be a bit different but the casserole is so flavorful, it will still be tasty.

Any leftover casserole can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. If you have a large quantity, the casserole will freeze nicely. To reheat a frozen casserole, defrost it on the counter and then heat in a foil-covered baking dish until warmed throughout.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • 2 large bell peppers (cut in 1-inch squares)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon celery flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese or Cheddar Jack blend

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Lightly grease a 3-quart baking dish.

  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef with the onion and celery for 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, salt, freshly ground black pepper, celery flakes, if using, oregano, basil, and garlic powder. Continue sautéing until the vegetables are tender and the meat is no longer pink. 

  4. Add the tomatoes to the beef, along with half of the tomato sauce and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir to blend. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and half of the cheese. 

  5. Spoon the meat mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spoon the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve with a tossed salad and biscuits or any other side dish.