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Old-Fashioned Stuffed Peppers without Tomato Sauce

These gluten-free old-fashioned stuffed peppers are made without tomato sauce with only a few simple ingredients. Steamed rice, lean ground beef, parmesan cheese, and spices are stuffed into colorful bell peppers, drizzled with olive oil, and baked to perfection. A delicious and nutritious classic comfort food dish the whole family will love. This easy recipe is perfect for picky eaters!

overhead photo baked stuffed peppers in a clear dish

Old-fashioned stuffed bell peppers are one of my favorite comfort food meals. Beef stuffed peppers are a classic recipe that most of us ate growing up, made with white rice, tomato sauce, and ground beef. A lot of older recipes called for canned tomato soup in the filling. This recipe is just as tasty (we think they are even more delicious) made without tomato sauce.

I love the simplicity of this bell pepper recipe. The flavors blend together so beautifully in this dish. The combination of ground beef, Parmesan cheese, rice, and spices is perfect without needing any additional flavor enhancers. You can always mix up the spices and get creative to make your own flavor combo. Fresh herbs are always best to make the flavor pop. I love to cover mine in hot sauce or green Tabasco and kick the spice up a notch. 😉  

Ingredients You’ll Need

Stuffed pepper ingredients measured out on a counter
  • Lean ground beef. You can also use ground bison.
  • Cooked rice. I alternate between brown rice and Jasmine rice. Both white rice and brown rice work great for this recipe. This recipe is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover rice!
  • Large bell peppers. I like to use yellow bell peppers, red bell peppers, and green bell peppers, but any bell pepper works great here.
  • Italian seasoning. I use an Italian seasoning blend. McCormick is a personal favorite.
  • Basil. Fresh is best, but dried basil works great too.
  • Parmesan cheese. Go with a good quality shredded parmesan cheese, or shred from the block for best flavor.
  • Additional spices-sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, and paprika.
  • Olive oil. You’ll need a good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling on top.

How To Make Stuffed Peppers Without Tomato Sauce

four pictures showing the steps for assembling stuffed peppers that don't have tomato sauce in them

Step1. Preheat the oven.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 2. Lightly steam the peppers.

Cut the tops off the peppers and remove and discard the stems and seeds.

bell peppers with the tops cut off and seeds scooped out

Place bell peppers cut side up on a steaming rack over an inch of water in a large, covered pot. I use a colander placed in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and steam, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove peppers from the steam pot and Place them in an oven-proof dish sprayed with olive oil spray.

Step 3. Prepare the meat mixture.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, basil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, cheese, and cooked rice.

Step 4. Stuff the peppers and bake.

Gently stuff peppers with the ground beef mixture and place them into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle olive oil all over the stuffed peppers, along the outside of the peppers, and into the dish. Sprinkle the tops generously with paprika. Place on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 40 minutes, until meat is cooked and tops are browned. 

Recipe Tips & Variations

  • If you want to add more veggie goodness, you can very finely chop the top of the peppers, discard the stem, and mix them into the filling or save them for topping a salad or sautéing for omelets.
  • Swap the rice for cooked quinoa for a different healthy twist.
  • Make sure that you use raw, not cooked, ground beef
  • Spice them up by adding red pepper flakes to the filling mixture.
  • Rice should be cooked before adding to the stuffing mixture. You can use cold or room temperature rice for this recipe.
  • You can easily steam and stuff the peppers a day ahead and bake them the following day. I love doing this on a Sunday, so they are ready to go into the oven for dinner on Monday.

Storing and Freezing

Cooked stuffed peppers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, pop them in the microwave for 2- 2 1/2 minutes or heat in a 350-degree oven until warmed throughout.

Cooked stuffed peppers can be frozen in an airtight, freezer-safe, container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

tri colored stuffed peppers in a glass dish

What To Serve with Stuffed Peppers

A side salad is a perfect accompaniment to round out this hearty meal. We also love adding an additional vegetable side dish. Roasted carrots, steamed or roasted broccoli, or green beans go beautifully with this dish!

More Delicious Beef Recipes

If you love lighter beef recipes with loads of flavor, definitely give these other favorites a try!

Southwest Beef Breakfast Muffins

Healthy Beef Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

Mini Grassfed Beef and Quinoa Meatloaves

If you love this family favorite recipe as much as we do, I would be so grateful if you could leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below. I love reading your comments and feedback!

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six stuffed peppers baked in a glass dish on top of a cloth napkin
zoomed in photo on a red beef and rice stuffed pepper

Old-Fashioned Stuffed Bell Peppers {without tomato sauce}

These gluten-free old-fashioned stuffed peppers are made with only a few simple ingredients. Steamed rice, lean ground beef, parmesan cheese, and spices are stuffed into colorful bell peppers, drizzled with olive oil, and baked to perfection.
4.76 from 25 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 352kcal
Author: Amee

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 90% lean beef can also use ground bison
  • 2 cups cooked rice white or brown rice works great here. I love to alternate between Jasmine rice and brown rice.
  • 6 bell peppers I use a mixture of yellow, red and green
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend such as McCormick’s
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves chopped or 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • paprika

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the tops off the peppers and remove and discard the stems and seeds.
  • Place bell peppers cut side up on a steaming rack over an inch of water in a large, covered pot.
  • I use a colander placed in a large stock pot.
  • Bring to a boil and steam, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Remove peppers from the steam pot and Place them in an oven-proof baking dish sprayed with olive oil spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix the raw ground beef, basil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, cheese and cooked rice.
  • Gently stuff the peppers with ground beef mixture.
  • Drizzle olive oil all over the stuffed peppers, along the outside of the peppers and into the dish. Sprinkle the tops generously with paprika.
  • Place on middle rack of oven and cook for 40 minutes, until meat is cooked and tops are browned.

Notes

  • If you want to add more veggie goodness, you can very finely chop the top of the peppers, discard the stem, and mix them into the filling or save them for topping a salad or sautéing for omelets.
  • Swap the rice for cooked quinoa for a different healthy twist.
  • I’ve used 92% and 93% lean ground beef with great results.

Nutrition

Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 577mg | Potassium: 524mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3797IU | Vitamin C: 152mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 3mg
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Amee Livingston
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4.76 from 25 votes (23 ratings without comment)

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