One Pot Stuffed Pepper Casserole

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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.

An overhead photo of stuffed pepper casserole served on a round, white plate. A fork is resting on the plate.

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!
Ingredients measured out in bowls to make stuffed pepper casserole: chopped bell pepper, oil, cinnamon, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, diced tomatoes, veggie broth, onion, soy sauce, spinach, brown rice, italian seasoning, garlic, cheese and ground turkey.

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 onion and garlic 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 salt and 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.
Six photos showing the process on how to make stuffed pepper casserole: sauté the ground turkey, add spinach, veggies, broth and rice, cook and them top with melted cheese.

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.

A large pot with stuffed pepper casserole covered in melty cheese. A serving spoon is scooping out a portion of the casserole.

Variations

  • 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. 
An overhead photo of stuffed pepper casserole served on a round, white plate. A fork is resting on the plate.

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:

How to Store Leftovers

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.

More One Dish Dinners to Try

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3.93 from 180 votes

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients  

  • 1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 large green bell peppers, diced (any color bell pepper will work)
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari or soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice (I used Lundberg Farm long grain brown rice)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, I used cheddar
  • for serving: chopped fresh parsley, optional

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of recipe | Calories: 372kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 741mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stuffed pepper casserole
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating




43 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is so delicious, my husband and I went back for thirds! Such a good weeknight recipe, when you don’t have time to stand in front of the stove. Will be making this regularly!

    1. Ah yay! This makes me so happy to hear, Kylie. Thanks so much for trying it out and coming back to leave a review. It means so much to me!

  2. 4 stars
    Brittany, this is a tasty and easy one pot comfort food meal, especially on this chilly fall evening! I also don’t like all the work that goes into actual stuffed peppers. The next time I think I’ll cook the rice in the Instant Pot and simmer the casserole for a shorter time. Thanks!

    1. So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Connie!! Thanks for the review and definitely let me know how it turns out in the Instant Pot. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe is sooo good! I used white rice because I couldn’t convince my family they’d like brown but the flavours are amazing. Just like stuffed peppers but all in one dish. So easy and perfect for colder weather!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this in the slow cooker using tempeh. All the flavor of a stuffed pepper but so simple. Everyone loved it!

  5. 5 stars
    I just finished cooking this one pot dish and it tastes delicious and is less work than with traditional stuffed peppers. Love it! Family will try it tomorrow 😊

    1. Woo!! So happy to hear this recipe was a success. Thanks so much for the review, Veronica. I really appreciate it!

  6. I was going to try this recipe with beans! Any recommendations on which beans to sub in for the turkey? Also, would I just follow the recipe the same subbing in the beans for turkey?

    1. I would go with a white bean like Great Northern or Cannelloni beans. I would add the beans with the broth (if you’re using canned beans). You shouldn’t need to sauté them with the onion and garlic. Let me know how it turns out for you if you try it!

  7. 5 stars
    This was so easy to make and it tastes absolutely wonderful! I will be adding this to my weekend lineup! It was also great for using up produce that was about to go bad, excellent for a fridge clean out dish.

  8. This blog is very nice and article is very good. Thanks for sharing this informative and useful piece of content.

  9. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe twice already and it’s sooo delicious and filling. Yum. This time I experimented and added black beans as well.

    1. Woo!! So thrilled you’ve been enjoying this recipe, Lucie. I love the addition of black beans, such a great idea. Thanks for the review!!

  10. 5 stars
    My family loves this recipe! Even my 18 month old. We leave out the cinnamon (my husbands preference) and add a bit extra cheese (because why not) and it’s so savory and delicious, and easier than traditional stuffed bell peppers. I love that it makes a lot and is all cooked in one pot. Thank you!

    1. Woo! So happy to hear this recipe is a hit with your family, Joanna! Thanks for making it and coming back to leave a review, I really appreciate it.

  11. 5 stars
    Love this! It’s so much easier than making the stuffed peppers. It is very tasty. I didn’t add any cheese to it. A must try!

    1. Woo! So glad this recipe is a hit for you, Melissa! I appreciate you coming back to leave a review and star rating, I appreciate it so much!

  12. 5 stars
    Made this last night and it was delicious. My kids ate every bite, and there were no leftovers. Easy to prep, easy to clean up, family-tested = going into our dinner rotation.

    1. Woo! Glad to hear this recipe was a hit with your whole family! Thank you so much for your review and star rating, I really appreciate it 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    My family loves this recipe! Such a classic casserole dish that is filling and nourishing and delicious all in one. I love that it’s all in one pot and is a balanced meal, so no sides needed!!
    I’m wanting to make this recipe for a friend (& double it) and am wondering if there is any advice for making it freezer-friendly?? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Joanna! I’m so glad you and your family are enjoying this recipe. 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. Perhaps storing in individual portions would be best! You can also omit the top layer of cheese and add it when you’re reheating.

  14. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Delicious and one pot easy meals can be important with several children. I doubled the recipe so we have leftovers. Even my picky husband is a fan!

    1. Woo! So glad this recipe was a success for you, Catherine. Thanks so much for sharing your review, I really appreciate it.

  15. Hi! Have you ever tried this using quinoa? I’m wondering how that would be or if it wouldn’t work out?

    1. Hey Alicia, I haven’t tried quinoa in this recipe, but I bet it would work! The quinoa will probably just cook faster than the rice. I would check it after 15-20 minutes of cooking covered. Let me know if you end up trying it and how it turns out!

  16. I just found your site and recipes. I would love to try several of them. The one I want to start with is The Stuffed Pepper Casserole recipe. The recipe calls for brown rice (you said white rice would work. My problem is I am not supposed to eat brown rice and white rice is not my favorite. Can I use Couscous instead? Any help or recommendations would be appreciated.

    1. Hey Victoria – I haven’t tried it, so I’m not 100% sure how it would turn out and what the cook time would be. Maybe quinoa could work? Again, I just am not sure how long it would take to cook. Let me know if you end up trying it and how it turns out!

  17. 3 stars
    I wanted to love this but I have to be honest for those that are thinking of trying it. I’ve tried this twice and my conclusion is that the cinnamon taste is a little odd and the meal as a whole is lacking.. something’s missing.. it’s not bad but it’s not great. Probably won’t make it again.

    1. Sorry to hear that this recipe didn’t turn out for you, Amanda! You can always skip the cinnamon if you’re not a fan of the flavor and you can always season to taste as taste preferences vary. Thanks for giving this recipe a try!

  18. 5 stars
    I used quinoa instead of rice. It took 30 minutes. I replaced the cinnamon with cumin. Turned out great!

    1. Yay! I am pumped to hear that this recipe was a hit, Ethan. Thanks so much for coming back and sharing your review & star rating, I appreciate it.

  19. 5 stars
    I also used quinoa instead of rice and cumin instead of cinnamon and it came out great! A little more of a thick stew consistency than a casserole, but that was fine with me. Will this freeze well if I portion into individual serving sizes?

    1. Hi Tamar- Yes, it should freeze well, I would just let it thaw in the fridge overnight before heating it up. Enjoy!

  20. 5 stars
    This one is going to be a regular in our dinner rotation, it’s SO good!!! My husband and I both loved it. It’s super flavorful & well balanced. I forgot to get ground Turkey at the store so we used diced chicken instead and it was great

    1. WOO! This is the best, Katie. I am so glad you and your husband are loving this recipe and it turned out great for you. Thank you for coming back and sharing your review + star rating, I so appreciate it!