Unstuffed Pepper Skillet Dinner

By Ann Fulton

UNSTUFFED PEPPER SKILLET DINNER - This family-friendly, one-pan meal has all the flavor of the traditional preparation with a fraction of the work. You might even like it better!
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Looking for more simple but satisfying weeknight dinners? This family-friendly, one-pan meal brings all the great flavors of the traditional preparation with a fraction of the work. (Dare I say you may even like it better!)



Who can resist a satisfying, all-in-one meal?

The convenience is undeniable and, in this case, the flavor replicates that of traditional stuffed peppers, albeit with a somewhat simpler preparation.

This dish reads like true comfort food-happily one we can feel good about, thanks to the hearty dose of fresh vegetables and filling protein.

Minimal chopping is involved, and when possible, I complete that step in advance, storing the chopped pieces in the fridge until ready to cook. It’s a simple thing, but getting a small head start on any cooking task makes said task feel far easier.

In this case, once the initial sauté step is complete, you can flip through the mail or tidy up the kitchen-maybe even have a sip of wine (or kombucha for those who are seeking a zingy alternative) while the rice cooks.

Short of a quick stir or two, the dish doesn’t require much tending once the rice is added.

Within no time, you’ll have a complete, family friendly meal that hits all the right savory notes and is topped with just enough cheese to supply a touch of decadence.

If you’re lucky, you may even have leftovers. Over time, the flavors continue to develop and the rice absorbs the tomatoey goodness, otherwise known as umami. (Side note: my mom thinks that’s a funny word, so I think of her whenever I use it.)

For this reason, if it works better with your schedule, feel free to fully prepare the meal in advance and reheat as needed. Or simply enjoy the ease of satisfying leftovers for lunch or dinner another day!

UNSTUFFED PEPPER SKILLET DINNER - This family-friendly, one-pan meal has all the flavor of the traditional preparation with a fraction of the work. You might even like it better!

Loaded with lean protein and fresh veggies, this rice-based, one-pan recipe is all you need for a satisfying meal. If you feel inclined to offer more, however, a simple side salad or roll will do the trick!

UNSTUFFED PEPPER SKILLET DINNER - This family-friendly, one-pan meal has all the flavor of the traditional preparation with a fraction of the work. You might even like it better!


Unstuffed Pepper Skillet Dinner
Yield: 6 servings
This family-friendly, one-pan meal has all the flavor of the traditional preparation with a fraction of the work - and leftovers taste great!
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef*
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans or 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 cup (180g) long grain white rice
  • 1 cup low sodium beef or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (could use a mix of fresh parsley, basil and chives)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Italian blend cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large, lidded skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and onion. Cook until the beef has browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks.

Stir in the bell peppers and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with juices, rice, broth and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper, to taste. (I use 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. You may wish to add an extra pinch upon serving depending on type of broth and tomatoes used as well as personal taste.) Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until the rice is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. (Tip: For even cooking and to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan, I stir halfway through and then twice more in the second half of cooking.)

When the rice is tender, remove from the heat and stir in the fresh herbs. Then top with the cheese, cover and let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.


*Ground turkey or chicken may be used instead of the ground beef. Italian sausage would be a slightly more decadent, albeit flavor-packed option. (Can’t decide? Try ½ pound of each!)

Helpful hint: If not using a kitchen scale to weigh the rice, make sure to level off the measuring cup with the straight edge of a knife. This will ensure the proper amount of rice is used, which assures the ratio of rice to liquid is correct. (In the event that you are reading this as you notice the rice is still somewhat firm and all the liquid has been absorbed, simply add a little extra broth or water to the pot.)

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  1. Marilyn

    I made this with millet instead of rice. It was my first time cooking millet, and it took about 10 minutes longer with a similar amount of liquid. Inspired by the person who added carrot, I added a shredded zucchini because I had extra zucchini in the fridge. I also added some red chili pepper to give it a bit of a kick.
    Great recipe! easy to make, easy to customize, and tasty, especially with the fresh herbs added at the end.

    1. Ann Post author

      I love that you branched out with millet, Marilyn. Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your adjustments. Perhaps others will want to try as well!

  2. Kim

    Hi Ann! I loved this recipe… I used 1/2 lb each of 90:10 ground beef and sweet Italian turkey sausage. Also I used a 15 ounce can of low sodium chicken broth… and as you noted leftovers are good!! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Ann Post author

      Such great news, Kim! I love the mix of ground beef and sausage and am glad you have leftovers to enjoy all over again!

  3. Carolyn S.

    My husband’s favorite dinner has always been stuffed peppers, and he happened to see this recipe come in a recent email. “No pressure, but when will you be making this for me?” I made this scrumptious, straight forward recipe last night and it was great! He loved that every luscious bite contains everything stuffed peppers should be. Success! Thanks Ann, for another winner and for your helpful notes too.

    1. Ann Post author

      I love everything about your comment, Carolyn-especially the mention of your husband’s no-pressure request! Thank you for taking the time to leave it. I’m thrilled the recipe was a success!

  4. Peggy Post author

    Many thanks to you, Ann. This was delicious and so easy to put together and easy clean up with only one pan. Am sending this to my son’s family in CA.

    1. Ann Post author

      I’m delighted the recipe was a success, Peggy! Thank you for taking a moment to let me know and for passing the recipe along. I hope your son’s family in CA enjoys it as well.

  5. Debra Knox

    Just made this awesome dish! Everyone loved it and it was much easier to make than traditional stuffed peppers. I added a handful of shredded carrots to sweeten it a bit and it worked very well.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I will definitely make it again.

  6. Mary Lou Keller

    Ann, this looks so tasty! I want to add it to my WW recipe builder, and see it makes 6 servings, what is the average size per serving? That way I can calculate points.

    Thanks much!
    Mary Lou

    1. Ann Post author

      Thanks, Mary Lou! I portion it out but haven’t specifically measured the servings in terms of cups for this recipe. I’d estimate that each serving is pushing one and a half cups. Does the app you use allow you to enter the ingredient list and number of servings and get the information you’re looking for that way? The nutrition calculator I sometimes use does that, although it’s not geared towards WW points. I hope this helps!

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Abby, You’d likely need about 10-15 minutes more and likely some additional broth. I’d have some extra broth on hand and check occasionally so you can get it just right. And feel free to report back!