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Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with quinoa

Vegetarian stuffed peppers with heart-healthy quinoa and beans are an easy weeknight dinner. Hearty and delicious meals like this will satisfy everyone in the family, even the meat-eaters, and they are gluten-free.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

You may also be interested in my fregula with mushrooms and my vegetarian chili recipes. For ease of browsing, you can find all of my vegetarian recipes in one place.

Vegetarian stuffed peppers on white platter.

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Why you should make this recipe

This recipe is for you, if you like stuffed peppers that are full of vegetables and grains, and are topped with lots of melted, gooey cheese.

  • Nutrient dense – These stuffed peppers are full of nutrients, thanks to the quinoa, beans and vegetables.
  • Quick and easy – This recipe is done, from start to finish, in 40 minutes.
  • Make ahead – You can make the filling ahead of time if needed, then prepare the peppers when you’re ready to enjoy them.
Cheesy stuffed vegetarian peppers on white platter.

Vegetarian stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers are one of the most delicious and versatile weeknight dinners. These particular stuffed peppers are not like your grandma’s stuffed peppers. My grandma always used green peppers, which are not my favorite.

They were also REALLY heavy, and these are not. They are hearty and filling, but will not leave you feeling heavy and weighed down from your dinner.

Ingredients for stuffed bell peppers

To make vegetarian stuffed peppers, you will likely have almost everything you need already. Below is the list with appropriate substitutions if you need to swap ingredients.

Ingredients for stuffed peppers on marble background.
  • Bell peppers – I am partial to red, orange and yellow. If green peppers are your favorite, use them!
  • Quinoa – Good source of fiber and protein. Swap it out for brown rice if you prefer.
  • Beans – The staple of every vegetarian pantry. I’m a big fan of dried heirloom beans, but there’s no shame in canned beans. Use whatever you have. No beans? Use lentils.
  • Diced tomatoes – I use canned diced tomatoes, but if you happen to have an abundance of fresh garden tomatoes, use them.
  • Onions and garlic – The flavor base for practically everything. I prefer sweet onions, they aren’t quite as sharp as a regular white onion.
  • Leftover veggies – I used a cup of leftover roasted zucchini that I had in the fridge. If you have leftover vegetables from dinner and don’t know what to do with them, add them to the mix.
  • Mozzarella – Buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself. Much better than the pre grated cheese and less expensive.
  • Dried spices – These will boost the flavor our the filling as it cooks. Check the dates and make sure they aren’t expired. (It happens to all of us)
  • Fresh herbs – Fresh herbs like parsley and basil give a freshness to these peppers and brighten up the flavor. Plus, parsley can aid in digestion and reduce bloating from gas (hello, beans!).

How to make vegetarian stuffed peppers

The first step is to par-cook the bell peppers. I’ll be honest, sometimes I skip this step because I’m lazy. However, to get really soft bell peppers, it is necessary.

Bell peppers sliced in half on tray.

Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Place the peppers cut side down on a baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil and roast for about 20 minutes until they just begin to soften.

While the peppers are roasting, cook the filling. By the time the peppers have cooled a bit, the filling will be done and we’re ready to stuff.

When it comes to stuffing the peppers, don’t be stingy. Pack it in there! I find it is easiest to do this with my hands. I use food safe gloves so I can hold the pepper in one hand and pack the filling in with my other hand.

Mixture for stuffed peppers in red pot.

The peppers go back into the oven just long enough for everything to be heated through and for the cheese to get melty and a little browned on top. Need to make them vegan? Omit the cheese and now this is a vegan recipe.

Vegetarian stuffed peppers FAQ’s

How long should I bake stuffed peppers?

Generally speaking, the peppers will bake for anywhere from 20 – 30 minutes after being stuffed.
Personally, I don’t like them too soft. I like a little texture, so I usually bake them for 20 minutes. If you like them very soft, leave them in the oven for 30 minutes.

Can I make them ahead of time?

Yes! You can make the filling ahead of time. You can also make the stuffed peppers ahead of time. For best results, wait to add cheese until reheating.

Stuffed peppers on sheet pan.

One more note to mention – everyone’s oven is different. Setting the temperature for 350°F means that it will be somewhere close to that temp. It might be a few degrees higher or lower, depending on your oven.

If you think your oven runs a little cool or a bit hot, you can buy an oven thermometer to double check and then adjust accordingly.

I also added in a banana pepper because I had one from the garden. This is a great way to use some of the vegetables you’ve grown.

Overhead view of vegetarian stuffed peppers on platter with parsley scattered around.

Variations and substitutions

  • Use brown or white rice in place of quinoa, if preferred.
  • I used cannellini beans, but if you have black beans, or pinto beans, use them!
  • Put a taco spin on these peppers with a tablespoon of taco seasoning.

Serving suggestions

You could serve a big green salad and call it a day. But, if you are looking something a bit more substantial and maybe a dessert recipe, here are a few suggestions:

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Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Cheryl Bennett
Vegetarian stuffed peppers make a delicious, gluten-free dinner that the whole family will enjoy.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6 – 8 halves
Calories 237 kcal


  • 3 – 4 bell peppers halved and cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion diced (3/4 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups quinoa cooked (according to package instructions)
  • 1 can cannellini beans 15.5 oz, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5 oz
  • 1 banana pepper diced (optional)
  • 1 cup zucchini or other leftover vegetables optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt Diamond Crystal
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley chopped (save 2 tbsp. for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C / Gas Mark 4
  • Cut peppers in half, remove seeds and membranes.
  • Place peppers cut side down on baking sheet. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • While peppers are baking, start the filling – On medium heat, add olive oil to a medium-large pot.
  • Add diced onion and sauté until beginning to soften, about 6 – 7 minutes. Add banana pepper (if using) and garlic, stir to combine.
  • Add diced tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Fold in quinoa, beans, parsley, fresh basil and leftover veggies, if using. Set aside.
  • Remove peppers from oven, carefully uncover and flip over. When peppers are cool enough to handle, fill with quinoa and bean mixture.
  • Top with grated mozzarella and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned, and peppers are warmed through.


Depending on the size of your bell peppers, you will need between 6 – 8 halves.
Serving size of half a pepper is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. For a heartier dinner, one whole pepper would be a serving.


Serving: 1/2 pepperCalories: 237kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 11gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 638mgFiber: 7gSugar: 4g
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