Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Skillet

updated Apr 12, 2021
Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Skillet

This deconstructed stuffed pepper skillet is ready in half the time. It's packed with beans, rice, fire-roasted tomatoes, and plenty of spices, then topped off with melty cheese.


Prep10 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

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stuffed pepper skillet still in pan with wooden spoon in it
Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Whenever I make vegetarian stuffed peppers, I’m reminded how much I love them. It’s all my favorite goodies — beans, grains, veggies, cheese — piled into an edible, colorful package. Unfortunately, I’m also reminded how long they take to bake. You really can’t rush soft and tender peppers.

Enter: my 30-minute skillet solution. Instead of stuffing the peppers, you slice ’em up and sauté them with onions, garlic, and plenty of spices. In go two cans of beans, smoky fire-roasted tomatoes, a cup of cooked rice, and plenty of fresh cilantro, and you’ve got all the makings of the best stuffed peppers, ready in half the time. Sprinkle with cheese and pop under the broiler for the ultimate crispy cheese topper.

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Make This Dish with Whatever’s in Your Pantry

In the hopes you can make this without a trip to the store, the ingredients are totally customizable. Use black or pinto beans, or one can of each. Use any type of leftover cooked grain that’s in your fridge (rice, quinoa, farro, barley) or microwave a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice (my personal go-to). Swap in any variety of canned tomatoes and adjust the seasonings accordingly. And you really can’t go wrong with the cheese. Shred up whatever’s in your fridge and then get ready to dig in.

Serving Your Stuffed Pepper Skillet

You can’t go wrong enjoying this dish as is, served in bowls topped with avocado and sour cream. But you also use tortilla chips to scoop it up straight from the skillet, or pile the whole thing onto a sheet pan of chips for dinner-worthy nachos. Stuff leftovers into a soft tortillas and enjoy as a burrito. Or, to bump up the protein even more, enjoy with an egg on top.

Whether you eat plant-based full-time or want to go meat-free once a week, Tonight We Veg will bring you the feel-good vegetarian meals you crave. Twice a month, in addition to our existing lineup of great veggie recipes, we’ll share easy weeknight recipes that prove how diverse produce-forward food can be, each packed with smart tips we’ve picked up over the years. Cook along with us, and share your creations using #tonightweveg.

Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Skillet

This deconstructed stuffed pepper skillet is ready in half the time. It's packed with beans, rice, fire-roasted tomatoes, and plenty of spices, then topped off with melty cheese.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2

    medium red, orange, or yellow bell peppers (about 1 pound total)

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 4 cloves


  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 2 (about 15-ounce)

    cans black or pinto beans, or 1 of each

  • 1 small bunch

    fresh cilantro

  • 4 ounces

    shredded Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or Mexican blend cheese

  • 1 tablespoon

    chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground cumin

  • 2 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can

    diced fire-roasted tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup


  • 1 cup

    cooked brown rice

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Serving options: tortilla chips, lime wedges, sour cream, and/or diced avocado


  1. Core, seed, and thinly slice 2 bell peppers. Thinly slice 1 small yellow onion and 4 garlic cloves.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering (make sure it’s oven-safe if you plan on broiling). Add the peppers, onion, and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots and beginning to soften, about 7 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, drain and rinse 2 cans black or pinto beans. Coarsely chop 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems until you have 1/2 packed cup (reserve the rest for garnish). If needed, grate 4 ounces Monterey or pepper jack cheese (about 1 cup).

  4. Add the garlic, 1 tablespoon chili powder, and 1 tablespoon ground cumin to the skillet and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and cook, stirring to coat the veggies, until it begins to darken, about 2 minutes.

  5. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the beans, chopped cilantro, 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes and their juices, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup cooked rice, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and several grinds black pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid is mostly evaporated and the ingredients are well mixed and warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed (likely about 1/4 teaspoon salt).

  6. Position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiling element and heat the broiler to HIGH, if using. Top the skillet with the cheese. Cover and let sit to melt the cheese, about 3 minutes. Alternatively, for a browner top, broil until the cheese is golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the oven.

  7. Top the skillet with more cilantro if desired. Serve with tortilla chips, lime wedges, sour cream, and/or diced avocado.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Ingredient/Equipment Variation: The brown rice can be replaced with cooked white rice or another cooked grain, such as quinoa.