Skip the tedious prep work and throw all of the raw ingredients into one dish! This Dump-and-Bake Stuffed Bell Peppers Casserole is a deconstructed version of the classic dinnertime favorite -- in about 10 minutes!
As the home cook, however, I don't love the prep work involved in making these dinners!
That's why I decided to take matters into my own hands and do what I do best: simplify!
I've used the flavors and ingredients from classic stuffed bell peppers and transformed them into a dump-and-bake casserole.
It's like the best of both worlds: a healthy, delicious meal that comes together in minutes! I don't have to spend time browning the meat, cooking the rice, or sautéing the vegetables first.
Now, before we get to the specifics, I thought that it would be helpful to answer a few of the questions that you might have. Here we go...
Can Stuffed Peppers be Made Ahead and Frozen?
Yes! Whether you're preparing a traditional stuffed peppers recipe or this deconstructed stuffed bell peppers casserole, you can assemble the dish in advance and keep it tightly wrapped in the freezer before baking.
How long do you bake stuffed peppers?
When preparing a traditional stuffed peppers recipe, you typically bake the dish at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes (or until the peppers are tender). You do NOT need to bake the peppers before stuffing them.
For this particular casserole, we eliminate the prep work, but you'll need to add some baking time to the clock! The meat, rice, and vegetables all cook together in one dish at 375-degrees for about 50-55 minutes. By the end of the baking time, the meat will be perfectly done, the vegetables will be soft, and the rice will be tender!
Do stuffed peppers need to be covered?
Yes! I keep my traditional stuffed peppers covered in order to prevent them from drying out in the oven.
For the casserole, you'll want to make sure that you use a tight foil cover on the dish in order to keep all of the liquid and moisture in the pan. The rice absorbs the liquid as it bakes in the same way that rice absorbs the cooking liquid when you're preparing it on the stovetop.
Since the rice is baking in the oven along with the rest of the ingredients, it will soak up much of the liquid in the pan. The rice also releases starches as it cooks, which yields a thick, almost creamy texture to the final casserole. It reminds me a lot of risotto for that reason!
Additional Tips for the perfect Stuffed Bell Peppers Casserole:
- You can use extra lean ground beef, ground turkey breast, or ground chicken breast. I used ground turkey breast here, but any of those options will work! The key is to make sure that you're using extra lean meat (at least 93% lean), because the meat cooks in the dish. That means that you won't be able to drain the fat off of the pan (like you would with a skillet), so using the extra lean meat prevents a greasy casserole in the end.
- Use any color sweet bell peppers that you have on hand!
- Readers often wonder if they can substitute with other types of rice in these dump-and-bake casseroles. My answer is maybe. I have only tested this particular recipe using the long grain white rice, so if you try something else, do so at your own risk.???? Let me know how it goes, though! For instance, brown rice requires a much longer cooking time than white rice, so you would need to leave the casserole in the oven for much longer. By contrast, "instant rice" or pre-cooked rice would require much less time in the oven -- and you would also need to decrease the amount of liquid in the dish because the parboiled or pre-cooked rice will not absorb as much liquid as the uncooked white rice. Again, I'm not saying that these other rices will not work -- you just may need to experiment a little bit!
I hope that this easy and healthy twist on the classic stuffed bell peppers makes your time in the kitchen a little bit faster this summer!
Looking for even more dump-and-bake dinners? Here are a few favorites:
- Dump-and-Bake Summer Pasta
- Dump-and-Bake General Tso Chicken
- Dump-and-Bake Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Dump-and-Bake Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Dump-and-Bake Stuffed Bell Peppers Casserole
- ½ lb. extra-lean ground beef, ground turkey breast, or ground chicken breast (at least 93% lean)
- ½ cup uncooked long grain white rice
- ½ cup frozen diced onion (or about ½ of a small onion, diced)
- 1 medium sweet bell pepper (any color), diced
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 cups beef broth
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
- In the bottom of the prepared dish, arrange uncooked beef, uncooked rice, onion, bell pepper, and diced tomatoes. Break up the meat into small pieces with your fingers as you spread it around so that it cooks evenly throughout. Use your hands to gently combine everything.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together beef broth, tomato sauce, garlic, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Pour over the beef mixture.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove foil, stir everything, and cover with foil again. Return dish (covered) to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until meat, rice and vegetables are fully cooked and tender. If using a glass or ceramic baking dish, you may need to increase the baking time.
- Remove foil. Sprinkle top of casserole with shredded cheese. Place in the oven uncovered for about 3-5 more minutes, or just until the cheese melts.