October 22, 2023Review Recipe
Table of Contents
If you’re looking for a delicious and easy meal with no fuss, look no further than this unstuffed pepper casserole. The hearty dish is loaded with veggies, ground beef, rice, and spices – all the classic flavors of traditional stuffed peppers in a simple casserole!
Unstuffed Pepper Casserole Ingredients
Made with juicy ground beef, colorful bell peppers, and plenty of melted cheese, this dish packs a serious flavor punch with every bite.
The best part? All of the ingredients mingle together in one dish, so you can enjoy all of the deliciousness without any of the fuss of stuffing individual peppers.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
- ½ cup of chopped onions (I used sweet onions, but you can use white or red onions)
- 2 cups of diced bell peppers (I used ⅔ cup of each red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper)
- 1 pound of ground beef (I used ground chuck 80-20)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of minced onion
- 1 teaspoon of paprika (smoked or sweet paprika)
- ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 2½ cups of beef broth
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes, not drained
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 cup of rice
- 2 cups of shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided in half
I like to freshly shred the cheese from a block as it melts easier. However, you can use any cheese mixture for this flavorful meal.
Substitutions And Additions
GARLIC: You can substitute onion powder with garlic powder and minced onion with minced garlic in this easy casserole.
TOMATOES: Instead of diced tomatoes, you can substitute with a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies.
SPICE: Instead of paprika, add a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes or substitute ground pepper with lemon pepper seasoning.
PEPPERS: Any combination of colors for the peppers will be fine in this great recipe as long as it adds up to two cups.
You can use a variety, add green peppers to the mix, or just use one color.
GROUND MEAT: Any ground meat that you would use in stuffed peppers would work for this recipe as well. Try ground pork, ground turkey, or ground chicken.
BEEF BROTH: You can substitute the beef broth with one cube of beef bouillon and 2½ cups of hot water.
RICE: I used long white rice, but you could substitute it with brown rice. Just keep in mind that the cooking time of the rice may vary.
CHEESE: You can use your favorite cheese blend in this unstuffed bell pepper casserole. Try Colby Jack, Monterey Jack, or Pepper Jack for a hint of spice.
How To Make This Unstuffed Pepper Casserole Recipe
This delicious casserole comes together quickly, all in one pan. First, the beef and veggies are sauteed before simmering the mixture with the rice to create the perfect texture.
Top everything with cheese and let it melt for a hearty and tasty dinner for a busy weeknight.
STEP ONE: In a large skillet, over medium heat, pour the olive oil and add the onions. Stir and cook for one to two minutes until the onions are nice and warm.
STEP TWO: Add the chopped peppers and keep cooking and stirring until they are warm (one to two minutes) and the onion starts to be translucent.
Don’t overcook the vegetables, as we want a slight crunch when serving.
STEP THREE: Add the ground beef, salt, onion powder, minced onion, paprika, and ground pepper.
STEP FOUR: Using a heat-proof spoon, over medium heat, break the meat into pieces and mix so the seasoning can spread throughout the mixture.
Keep cooking until the meat is fully cooked, with no more pink.
STEP FIVE: Pour in the beef broth, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Mix well.
STEP SIX: Add the uncooked rice and mix so all the ingredients in the mixture are evenly distributed.
STEP SEVEN: Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is nice and tender.
OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS
I like to stir the mixture every five minutes so it does not stick to the bottom.
STEP EIGHT: Once the rice is cooked, sprinkle one cup of the shredded cheese. Mix well so the cheese can melt in the skillet.
This step is optional; if you are skipping this step, only use one cup of cheese in the ingredients.
STEP NINE: Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover and let the cheese melt.
Once you put the cheese on top, you can put it under the broiler for one or two minutes until the cheese is nice and golden for a different look and texture.
STEP TEN: Serve and enjoy!
When serving this dish, you can sprinkle some fresh herbs and additional cheese.
How To Serve
Add a warm batch of these soft dinner rolls to mop up the plate.
Now that you’ve enjoyed this delicious unstuffed pepper casserole let’s talk about how to store any leftovers or prep ahead for future meals.
MAKE AHEAD: You can absolutely prepare this casserole ahead of time to make your weeknights a breeze.
Simply follow the recipe up until the point of baking, cover the casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.
When you’re ready to bake, just pop it in the oven as directed in the original recipe.
IN THE FRIDGE: The leftovers of this easy stuffed pepper casserole recipe can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to four days.
This dish is perfect for preparing and reheating the desired portions on a busy night.
IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze this unstuffed stuffed pepper casserole using freezer bags or containers for up to two months.
Allow the casserole to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating for an easy meal.
REHEATING: When it’s time to reheat your casserole, you have a few options:
- OVEN: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C), and place the frozen or refrigerated casserole, covered with foil, in the oven for 20-30 minutes (if frozen) or 10-15 minutes (if refrigerated) until it’s heated through.
- MICROWAVE: For a quicker option, you can use the microwave. If frozen, first thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight. Then, heat individual portions on a microwave-safe plate for two to three minutes, stirring halfway through, until hot.
- STOVETOP: To reheat on the stovetop, place the casserole in a pan over medium heat. Add a splash of water or broth to prevent sticking, and stir occasionally until it’s heated evenly.
Why We Love This Recipe
FLAVORFUL AND COMFORTING: This casserole captures all the flavors of classic stuffed peppers but in a more convenient casserole form. The combination of ground beef, aromatic spices, bell peppers, and rice creates a mouthwatering and satisfying meal.
EASY AND TIME-SAVING: Unlike traditional stuffed peppers that require individual preparation and baking, this recipe simplifies the process. It’s incredibly easy to make, saving you time and effort in the kitchen.
MAKE AHEAD FRIENDLY: Whether you want to plan ahead for a busy week or prepare for a potluck dinner, this casserole is an excellent choice. You can assemble it ahead of time, refrigerate it, and bake it when you’re ready to serve.
This one-pan dish is sure to become a go-to in your family’s meal rotation thanks to its tasty mix of bell peppers, ground beef, brown rice, and plenty of bold seasonings. Plus, this unstuffed pepper casserole comes together quickly, so you can have dinner on the table in no time!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You could use any ground meat, including ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork, in this stuffed bell pepper casserole.
You could replace the ground beef with black beans and the beef broth with vegetable broth to turn this recipe into a vegetarian recipe.
This unstuffed peppers casserole freezes well and can be stored for up to two months.
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Unstuffed Pepper Casserole
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or any vegetable oil
- ½ cup chopped onions, I used sweet onions, but you can use white or red onions
- 2 cups diced bell peppers, I used ⅔ cup of each red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper
- 1 pound ground beef, I used ground Chuck 80-20
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon minced onion
- 1 teaspoon paprika, smoked or sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2½ cups beef broth
- 14.5 ounces petite diced tomatoes, not drained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided in half
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, pour the olive oil and add the onions. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the onions are nice and warm.
- Add the chopped peppers and keep cooking and stirring until they are warm (1 to 2 minutes) and the onion starts to be translucent. Don't overcook the vegetables as we want a slight crunch in them when serving.
- Add the ground beef, salt, onion powder, minced onion, paprika, and ground pepper.
- Using a heat-proof spoon, over medium heat, break the meat into pieces and mix so the seasoning can spread throughout the mixture. Keep cooking until the meat is fully cooked, with no more pink.
- Pour in the beef broth, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Mix well.
- Add the rice and mix so all the ingredients in the mixture are evenly distributed.
- Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is nice and tender.
- Once the rice is cooked, sprinkle 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Mix well so the cheese can melt in the skillet. This step is optional, if you are skipping this step, only use 1 cup of cheese in the ingredients
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover and let it melt.
- Serve and Enjoy!
- I like to freshly shred the cheese from a block as it melts easier. However, you can use any cheese mixture for this flavorful meal.
- I like to stir the mixture every 5 minutes so it does not stick to the bottom.
- Once you put the cheese on top, you can put it under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes until the cheese is nice and golden for a different look and texture.
- When serving this dish, you can sprinkle some fresh herbs and additional cheese.
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