Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers in Marinara Sauce

published Sep 8, 2020
Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers in Marinara Sauce

These protein-packed and fiber-rich stuffed peppers are the perfect vegetarian meal.


Prep6 minutes

Cook6 hours

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Vegetarian slow cooker stuffed bell peppers in bowl with fork on side.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Ready for a flavor-bursting, nutrient-dense dish that takes mere minutes to prep? I’ve got just the one. These bell peppers were born after yet another hectic week where the last thing I wanted to do was run to the grocery store to pick up some speciality ingredient — or spend an hour in the kitchen preparing a meal I just didn’t have time for. Behold: the stuffed peppers that saved me. Packed full of pantry staples, I had every ingredient already on hand in my kitchen.

The marinara sauce came together with some canned tomatoes I always keep stocked in my pantry, as well as basil and oregano I had dried from my garden. I then mixed up a simple filling of fluffy quinoa, black beans, and a zucchini languishing in my fridge. The result? Protein-packed and fiber-rich stuffed peppers — the perfect vegetarian meal. Pop it in the slow cooker in the morning to enjoy for dinner, or meal prep it on a weekend for an effortless weeknight meal.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Make These Peppers with Whatever’s in Your Kitchen

This budget-friendly recipe is so fantastically versatile that you can easily swap out any ingredient or add in what you have on hand to create a custom meal to your liking. If you’re wanting more of a Tex-Mex flair, swap the beans for spicy pre-cooked Soyrizo. If you’re fresh out of zucchini, try tossing in sweet corn kernels for a crunchy pop. You can cut the recipe in half if cooking for two, or double the recipe for quick and easy leftovers that taste just as flavorful the second time around.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers in Marinara Sauce

These protein-packed and fiber-rich stuffed peppers are the perfect vegetarian meal.

Prep time 6 minutes

Cook time 6 hours

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


For the marinara:

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    crushed tomatoes

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    diced tomatoes

  • 1 (6-ounce) can

    tomato paste

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, diced

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    minced garlic (5 cloves)

  • 2

    bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon

    dried basil

  • 1 tablespoon

    packed brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    balsamic vinegar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffed peppers:

  • 4

    medium bell peppers (any color)

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans

    black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 cup

    uncooked quinoa, rinsed

  • 2

    medium zucchini, chopped


  1. Place the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, onion, garlic, bay leaves, basil, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a slow cooker, and stir thoroughly. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the mixture and set aside.

  2. Slice off the tops of the bell peppers, remove the seeds and scrape them with a spoon to hollow them out. Place the bell peppers cut-side up inside the marinara sauce.

  3. In a medium bowl, mix the black beans, quinoa, zucchini, and the reserved 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce. Divide the filling evenly among the prepared bell peppers.

  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Recipe Notes

Love your leftovers: Chop the usable parts of the bell pepper tops and add them to your marinara, or throw them in the freezer for when you make a vegetable broth.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Marinara Sauce was originally published in The Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook © 2017 Toni Okamoto. Reprinted with permission of Callisto Media.