A vegetarian recipe for sweet bell peppers stuffed with spicy rice and cheese, baked, then topped with your favorite hot sauce. These are cheesy and hearty and just the right amount of spicy. Easy to freeze.
Spicy Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
Yes, this is an awesome recipe, and it's so hearty, you won't believe it is vegetarian. One cool think about this recipe is that it scales up so nicely, so you can make a double, triple, or even larger batch then freeze them later for super quick and easy meals.
I love that!
Some of our friends might opt for the stuffed pepper party - hey, stuffed peppers and beer, yo! - but methinks we'll freeze some of these. Absolutely, you CAN freeze your stuffed peppers and I'll include a bit of information on that below.
But first, onto this delectable recipe.
This particular recipe was born from a recent side dish we made, Mexican Rice. So. Very. Good.
You can easily use leftover rice for making this recipe.
Here's a link to that Mexican Rice Recipe in case you'd like to print it out, though I have it included a spicy rice recipe below as well. As I mentioned then, I REALLY DID make a HUGE batch of Mexican Rice, but I had intentions!
I got to use it as a base for the baked chicken thighs we made recently, and NOW we get to use it up in these crazy-awesome stuffed peppers. If you have the cooked rice already on hand, this makes for a super quick dish. Just mix in some shredded cheese and get stuffing.
How to Make Spicy Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers - The Recipe Method
First you'll want to core out the peppers, of course, and blanche them in a bit of boiling water to soften them up. The blanching is not required, and I don't always do it, but sometimes it's nice when the peppers are softer.
Next, prepare your rice. First, cook down the onion, peppers and garlic in a bit of olive oil, then stir in the rice. Brown it a bit, then add in the corn, peas, seasonings along with a can of fire roasted tomatoes and veggie broth.
Bring the whole thing to a boil and simmer it until the rice is nice and fluffy. Looks delicious, doesn't it?
Next, mix up the prepared spicy rice with your chosen shredded cheese, stuff those beauties, and bake them about 30-40 minutes.
Just don't forget the hot sauce! Again, not a requirement, but I love the sweet-hot pop of a good hot sauce over the top, depending on which sauce you choose to compliment your dish.
Can You Freeze These Stuffed Peppers?
If you're making a larger batch and freezing them, the best way to freeze stuffed peppers is to stuff them but not cook them. Just make sure everything inside the actual pepper is cooked, meats in particular.
Let the stuffed peppers cool first, or they might get soggy after they thaw. Place the stuffed peppers in a large freezable dish and cover them in foil or plastic wrap.
Or, wrap these individually, squeeze out the air, and freeze them that way. When you're ready to cook them, pop the out, thaw them in the fridge, then bake then per the recipe.
See my post on How to Freeze Stuffed Peppers.
Can I Use Instant Rice?
Absolutely. Instant rice is rice that has already been cooked and then dehydrated. Using instant rice will save you a bit of time. Just cook down the peppers, onion and garlic first, then add the fire roasted tomatoes and cook about 5 minutes.
Then, add the instant rice, seasonings, broth and hot sauce. Let the rice absorb the liquid off heat until it is nice and fluffy, then proceed with the recipe.
Can I Use Other Seasonings?
Can I Add Other Vegetables?
Of course! Try adding black beans or garbanzo beans for a nice variation. Chopped zucchini or squash would be nice, too. Try it with your favorite vegetables.
Storage & Leftovers
Store any leftover stuffed peppers in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
About the Chili Peppers
I used sweet bell peppers as the stuffing vessels because of their size. Bells are ideal for stuffing, but you can use any larger pepper for this.
Consider using large Italian sweet peppers, or even earthy poblano peppers, which are also great for stuffing.
Also, I incorporated a couple jalapeno peppers into the mix for some added heat and flavor. If you're looking for a spicier version of this recipe, feel free to swap in something hotter, like a serrano pepper or habanero pepper. If you'd like to dial back on the heat, skip or halve the jalapenos.
What a great use for leftover Mexican rice, if you have it. I know Mike made a big batch with the intention of making these, but it's hard to make a small batch of Mexican rice. I enjoy peppers stuffed with meaty goodness, but these peppers were so infused with flavor and seasoning, you won't miss any of that. It's vegetarian, and it is delicious.
Check Out Some of My Other Popular Stuffed Chili Pepper Recipes
- Classic Stuffed Peppers (Stuffed Bell Peppers)
- Easy Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers
- Cream Cheese Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers – Mexican Style
- Cajun Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Cajun Shrimp Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Caribbean Coconut Rice and Shrimp Stuffed Peppers
- Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Peppers
Got any questions? Ask away! I'm happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you'll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don't forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I'll be sure to share! Thanks! -- Mike H.
Spicy Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers Recipe
FOR THE SPICY RICE
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 3/4 cups long grain rice
- 12 ounces fire roasted tomatoes (I used a store bought can)
- 1.5 cups vegetable broth + more as needed
- ½ cup frozen corn – or fresh corn if you can get it!
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasonings
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons favorite hot sauce (If Desired for Extra Spiciness)
FOR THE STUFFED PEPPERS
- 1 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar is good, or Colby or Pepper Jack)
- 4 bell peppers
- Hot Sauce, spicy chili flakes, fresh chopped herbs for serving
- Get the rice going. Heat a large pan to medium heat and add olive oil.
- Add onion and jalapeno peppers and cook about 5 minutes to soften.
- Add garlic and cook another minute, until you can smell the yummy garlic.
- Add the rice and stir. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring, to very lightly brown the rice.
- Add the fire roasted tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir.
- Add corn, peas, Cajun seasonings, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper, and hot sauce if using. Stir and bring to a quick boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid and is softened to your liking. If it needs more cooking, add a bit more broth and keep it simmering until you LOVE it.
- While the rice is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Slice the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the innards. Boil them about 5 minutes to slightly soften.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the rice and shredded cheese together and stuff each pepper full. You may have extra stuffing, depending on the size of your peppers.
- Bake on a large baking sheet for 30-40 minutes.
- Remove from heat and top with your favorite hot sauce, fresh chopped herbs and spicy chili flakes.
This recipe was updated to include new photos. It was originally published on 5/23/16.