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This cozy stuffed pepper casserole has all the flavors of stuffed bell peppers baked into a hearty one-pot meal. It’s made with tender rice, juicy ground turkey, and plenty of veggies!
This easy recipe is brimming with veggies, ground turkey, juicy tomatoes, rice, and cheese. Basically, all the ingredients and flavors found in a classic stuffed pepper served in a delicious one-pot casserole.
Why You’ll Love This Stuffed Pepper Casserole
- One-pot. Make this cheesy stuffed pepper casserole on the stovetop all in one pan using a large skillet or Dutch oven.
- Fresh & flavorful. You’ll use a few pantry staples, plus fresh peppers, veggies, rice, and protein to turn a classic dish into this hearty all-in-one dinner.
- Flexible. Keep it mild, make it spicy, and adapt ingredients like meats and veggies to suit.
Here are some of the key ingredients along with my notes. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card for the full ingredient list.
- Onion and Bell Peppers – I use yellow onion, plus both red and green peppers. White onion also works.
- Lean Ground Turkey – You can swap turkey for ground chicken or lean ground beef.
- Marinara Sauce – Choose your favorite jarred marinara sauce from the store, or homemade pasta sauce is a also good alternative.
- Chicken Stock – You can also use vegetable stock.
- Rice – Long-grain white rice, like basmati or jasmine rice, works best.
- Cheese – I top this casserole with an Italian cheese blend, but you can use any variety or combination of grated melty cheese you’d like. Sharp cheddar and Pepper Jack, or milder Monterey Jack and mozzarella are also good choices.
How to Make Stuffed Pepper Casserole
Choose a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven with a lid. Then, it’s a matter of bringing the ingredients together. Here’s a quick how-to. Scroll down to the recipe card for more detailed instructions.
- Sauté the vegetables. First, add the onions and bell peppers to the pot with a bit of oil and a sprinkle of salt. Sauté until the veggies have softened, then stir in the garlic.
- Brown the turkey. Next, add the ground turkey, breaking it up as it browns. Don’t forget an extra seasoning of salt and pepper.
- Make the sauce. Now, you’ll stir in your marinara sauce and tomatoes, along with the chicken stock and herbs. Heat the sauce and then leave it to simmer for a few minutes.
- Cook the rice. Stir in the rice and let it cook, covered, until the rice grains are tender.
- Melt the cheese. Finally, take the pot off the heat, lift the lid, and sprinkle your shredded cheese blend in an even layer over top of the casserole. Afterward, close the lid again and let the casserole sit while the cheese melts.
- Serve. Garnish your stuffed pepper casserole with fresh chopped parsley and dig in. See below for easy serving suggestions.
Tips for Success
The following are some final tips to keep in mind when making this stuffed pepper casserole:
- Fire-roasted tomatoes. I like how these add extra flavor, but they aren’t 100% necessary. Another good option is a can of Rotel, or you can use a can of regular diced tomatoes.
- Let the casserole rest. Not only does resting give the cheese enough time to melt, but it also lets the flavors come together and makes the casserole easier to serve.
You can play with the flavors and ingredients to make this casserole exactly how you like it. Try these ideas:
- Use another protein. Make this casserole with any type of ground meat you’d like, including ground chicken, ground beef, or ground sausage. You could even use shredded chicken for a different texture. If you use ground beef, I recommend using lean meat.
- Add more vegetables and greens. Good options are baby spinach, diced zucchini, mushrooms, chopped kale, and celery.
- Worcestershire sauce. You can add a small splash for some rich umami flavor.
- Want to go vegetarian? To make a vegetarian stuffed pepper casserole, swap out ground meat for this flavorful homemade vegetarian chorizo.
- Seasonings. Try flavoring this casserole with a herb and seasoning blend, like taco seasoning or Cajun spice, for a different flavor profile.
- Cheese. Instead of using an Italian cheese blend on top you could also use a shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese.
Can I Make This Casserole Ahead of Time?
You can prepare the whole casserole ahead and store it (see below), or you can get the ground turkey and veggie mixture ready in advance. After the veggies are softened and the turkey is browned, store the mixture airtight for 1-2 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to finish the casserole, heat the mixture on the stove and proceed with the recipe as directed.
How to Store and Reheat Extras
- Fridge: Store any leftover stuffed pepper casserole airtight in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Reheat: Reheat single servings in the microwave until hot throughout.
- Freezer: This casserole freezes well. Store leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to 3 months. Defrost the casserole in the fridge overnight before reheating.
More Casserole Recipes to Try
Stuffed Pepper Casserole
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ pounds ground turkey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups marinara sauce
- 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ tablespoon dried oregano
- ¾ cup long-grain white rice
- 1 ¼ cup Italian cheese blend
- Additional chopped fresh parsley to garnish
- Sauté the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed 10-12-inch rimmed pan or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and bell peppers, season with salt, and sauté until the onion is translucent and the bell peppers have softened. Add the garlic and sauté until aromatic.
- Brown the turkey. Add the turkey to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until browned, breaking it up as you go.
- Make the sauce. Stir in the marinara sauce, tomatoes, chicken stock, fresh parsley, and oregano. Bring the sauce to a bowl and then reduce the heat to low. Allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Cook the rice. Stir in the rice, put a tight-fitting lid on the saucepan, and let the rice cook for 20 minutes or until tender.
- Melt the cheese. Turn the heat off. Remove the lid, scatter the cheese evenly over the mixture, return the lid to the saucepan, and let stand for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Serve. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with a green salad.