This stuffed pepper casserole has all the delicious flavors of traditional stuffed peppers but is made in one pot for an easy weeknight meal. Loaded with ground turkey, brown rice, veggies, spices and topped with cheddar cheese it’s hearty, delicious and packed with flavor.
I’m so excited about this recipe! I love stuffed peppers but if I’m being honest, I don’t love the work that goes into them. It’s the same reason I made my unstuffed cabbage roll recipe! Love the flavor, not the work.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Simple weeknight dinner idea.
One pot meal… aka less dishes!
Gluten-free with vegetarian and vegan options listed below.
Customizable and so delicious!
Here’s What You Need
ground turkey– I used ground turkey in this recipe but any ground meat would work! You could do ground chicken or ground beef. And if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you could use lentils, crumbled tempeh or tofu.
yellow onionandgarlic cloves– two key flavors for a savory base!
Italian seasoning– this seasoning blend is the perfect accompaniment to the rest of the flavors in this dish.
sea saltand ground pepper – to season the dish and bring all of the flavors together.
cinnamon– I know this sounds weird but this actually enhances the savory flavor of this casserole.
fresh baby spinach– add extra nutrients and greens with fresh baby spinach.
green bell peppers – any color bell pepper works! You’ll dice these up and add it to the casserole.
vegetable broth – I recommend using low-sodium broth so you can control how much salt you’re using.
diced tomatoes– I recommend using salt-free tomatoes so you can control the sodium level of your dish! No need to drain the can of tomatoes, we’ll take all of that tomato juice and flavoring!
tomato sauce – again, I recommend using salt-free tomato sauce. This helps you control how much sodium is in the dish and allows you to flavor to your liking.
tamari or soy sauce– coconut aminos works too! This adds a delicious, robust flavor to the dish.
brown rice – I recommend using long grain brown rice for this recipe. It adds a nice chewy texture to the dish. I used Lundberg Farm long grain brown rice. If you’re looking for a quicker rice option, you can use white rice instead. I tested white rice and it cooked up in 20 minutes.
shredded cheddar cheese – the final touch of the casserole! Adds the perfect golden brown top. If you’re looking for a vegan option, use a dairy-free cheese or skip it all together!
chopped parsley – for topping. This is optional, but I love topping this dish with fresh herbs.
How to Make Stuffed Pepper Casserole
This recipe is super similar to my turkey stuffed peppers, but is made in one pot! I recommend using a Dutch oven or deep pot. Here’s how to make it:
Sauté ground turkey: Add the ground turkey and onion to the pot and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat into small pieces. Cook until the turkey is browned and fully cooked through and the onion is translucent.
Combine ingredients: Add the spices and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the spinach, bell peppers, broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tamari and rice. Stir well to make sure everything is well combined and the rice is distributed throughout the dish.
Simmer: Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Check to see if any rice is sticking to the sides, stir them in if needed and then recover and continue to cook until the rice is tender, about 30 additional minutes if using brown rice.
Melt cheese: When the rice is fully cooked, remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle cheese on top and cover to let the heat melt the cheese.
note! The brown rice will still be slightly chewy and the dish might be a little liquidy after cooking, but it will continue to thicken and the rice will absorb more of the liquid as it rests.
Can I Make it in The Slow Cooker?
Yes! I tested this recipe in the slow cooker and it turned out delicious. Here’s how to make this stuffed pepper casserole in the slow cooker:
Sauté ground turkey: In a saucepan, heat oil on medium. Add the ground turkey, onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat into small pieces. Cook until the turkey is browned and fully cooked through and the onion is translucent.
Add ingredients to slow cooker: Transfer the ground turkey to your slow cooker and add the rest of your ingredients, except for the spinach, cheese and parsley. Make sure to use brown rice if making this recipe in the slow cooker! White rice will cook up too fast and turn out mushy.
Cook: Cook on high for about 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours, or until the rice is cooked and tender.
Add remaining ingredients: 10-15 minutes before serving, turn your slow cooker to warm, add your spinach and stir to combine. Top with cheddar cheese, cover and let sit for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and spinach is wilted.
Vegetarian – to make this recipe vegetarian, you can swap the turkey for beans, tempeh or crumbled tofu.
Gluten-free – this dish is gluten-free as is so no need to adjust!
Dairy-free – skip the cheese to make this dairy-free. It will still be delicious!
Low-carb – swap the brown rice for cauliflower rice. The cooking time will be shorter if you use cauliflower rice so just keep an eye on it. When all of the vegetables are tender, it’s time to enjoy!
Can I Use White Rice?
Absolutely! I tested this recipe with both brown and white rice and both worked well! I prefer brown rice because it adds a nice chewy texture to the dish. That said, the brown rice does take about 60 minutes to cook, so if you’re looking for a quicker option I would go with white rice! The white rice cooked up in about 20 minutes total.
tip! If you're short on time, swap the brown rice for white rice! The white rice cooks up in 20 minutes versus 60 minutes for brown rice.
How to Serve Stuffed Pepper Casserole
This dish is definitely a meal on its own! Serve warm with a little fresh parsley on top if you’d like. Want to serve it with some sides? Here are some ideas:
This casserole stores super well and makes for great leftovers! Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 5 days. I recommend reheating on the stovetop or in the oven but you can microwave for a shortcut! I haven’t tried freezing this casserole but it should freeze well in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Just make sure to let it thaw in the fridge overnight before heating up.
This stuffed pepper casserole has all the delicious flavors of traditional stuffed peppers but is made in one pot for an easy weeknight meal. Loaded with ground turkey, brown rice, veggies, spices and topped with cheese. It's hearty, delicious and packed with flavor.
2largegreen bell peppers, diced (any color bell pepper will work)
2cupslow-sodium vegetable broth
115 ounce candiced tomatoes, undrained
1 8 ounce cantomato sauce
1Tablespoontamari or soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
1cupuncooked long grain brown rice (I used Lundberg Farm long grain brown rice)
1cupshredded cheese, I used cheddar
for serving: chopped fresh parsley, optional
In a Dutch oven or large deep skillet, heat oil on medium. Add the ground turkey, onion and garlic and break the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Cook until turkey is browned, cooked through and the onion is soft and translucent, about 7-10 minutes.
Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Give the mixture a stir and add in the spinach, bell peppers, vegetable broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tamari and rice. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for 30 minutes. Uncover and stir. Then recover and continue to simmer until the rice is tender, about 30 additional minutes. Time will depend on the type of rice you use. Brown rice took us a total of 60 minutes and white rice took us 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat, uncover and stir. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
Sprinkle cheese over the top, cover with lid and let sit off the heat for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the rice is fully tender.
Serve warm and sprinkle with fresh parsley, if preferred.
Brown rice: Feel free to use white rice instead of brown if you prefer. If you use white rice it’ll cook up in 20 minutes! If you’re looking for a low-carb option, you can use cauliflower rice. The cooking time will be shorter if you use cauliflower rice so just keep an eye on it. When all of the vegetables are tender, it’s time to enjoy!
Vegetarian: To make this recipe vegetarian, you can swap the turkey for beans, tempeh or crumbled tofu.
Dairy-free: Skip the cheese to make this dairy-free. It will still be delicious!
Slow cooker: You can make this dish in the slower cooker if you prefer! See my notes above for how to make it in the slow cooker!