Get all the delicious comforting flavor you love in classic stuffed peppers with these equally yummy but twice as easy Unstuffed Peppers. Makes a full meal, all in one skillet!
Mr. Gracious has a few favorites that he eats at the firehouse all the time. One of these is stuffed peppers. Now, I'm all for a good stuffed pepper, but they are so involved and time consuming to make.
This led me to the totally delicious decision to make UNstuffed peppers. All of the yummy ingredients you use in stuffed peppers, only they're not stuffed. Get it? UNstuffed peppers.
Unstuffed peppers are packed with ground beef, bell peppers, rice, tangy tomato sauce, and lots of gooey cheese to finish it off. It is ridiculously easy to make. Plus, it's a full meal in one skillet.
Yup. It's that good. And just for you, here's a gratuitous cheese shot.
Do I Have to Use White Rice?
Nope. I prefer it because it has the fastest cook time, clocking it at only 25 minutes.
Here are the cook times for some other options:
- Brown Rice. Preparation instructions are the same, but the cook time needs to be upped to 50 minutes. If your liquid gets low during this time, add another ½ cup of water until the rice is tender and cooked through.
- White Basmati Rice is cooked for the same amount of time as long grain white rice, but it needs to be rinsed first because it is very sticky otherwise. Rinse rice in luke-warm water until it runs clear.
- Quinoa actually has a shorter cook-time at only 15-18 minutes. It also will only need about 1 cup of water. Be sure to rinse quinoa before cooking.
- Instant rice. If you want a much faster cook time, you can use instant rice. Omit the water entirely, and cook for only about 8-10 minutes.
What to Serve with Unstuffed Peppers
Unstuffed peppers is pretty much a meal by itself, with ground beef for protein, rice for carbs, and bell peppers for veggies.
For a side, we'll typically just have a fresh green salad to keep it simple.
More Easy Dinner Recipes You'll Love
- Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole - super simple and cheese ground beef and tater tot casserole.
- One Pot Creamy Ham and Pea Tortellini - creamy pasta with ham and peas, all in one skillet!
- Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff - classic creamy stroganoff, made with fresh ingredients, right in the slow cooker.
- Easy Skirt Steak Fajitas - tangy, flavorful, and the BEST fajitas you'll ever have.
- Maple Mustard Chicken - super easy to make with a delicious tangy-sweet flavor.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 green bell peppers cut into 1" pieces
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce (24 ounces)
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup long grain white rice uncooked
- 1 teaspoon steak and burger seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella divided
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef with onion and green peppers. Drain and return to skillet.
- Add spaghetti sauce, water, rice, steak seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper to the ground beef mixture. Stir to combine.
- Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and continue simmering on medium-low heat for about 25 minutes, or until rice is tender. If liquid gets too low, add an additional ½ cup water.
- When rice is tender, stir in cup shredded mozzarella.
- Sprinkle the remaining cup mozzarella on top. Cover and continue cooking until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve warm.
- This recipe is gluten free.
- To make this recipe dairy free, simply omit the cheese or use a dairy-alternative cheese such as Daiya.
- Do not stir while rice is cooking. Stirring releases starches and makes the dish sticky.
- Cover while rice is cooking, or it will take way too long to cook and the liquid will evaporate too quickly.
- To make this dish low carb, use about 2-3 cups riced cauliflower. Omit the water, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- If your liquid is evaporating too fast, turn down the heat a little and add an additional ½ cup water.
- Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave-safe dish.
- Freezer Instructions: After cooking rice, transfer to a freezer container. Top with remaining cheese. Cover and freeze for up to 3-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake dish at 350°F for 20-30 minutes until cheese on top is melted and dish is heated through.
Update Info: This recipe was originally published in August 2016. It has been updated with new pictures, video, and recipe tips and republished in December 2019.
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