Vegan Stuffed Peppers are a tasty dish of bell peppers filled with rice, vegetables, herbs and walnuts as the 'meat'. A hearty and delicious Italian lunch, dinner or meal prep recipe that's gluten-free and vegan or vegetarian.
Do you adore stuffed peppers as much as we do? My family adores them.
They're so tasty. Instead of meat substitutes, tempeh or tvp, I love to use walnuts. It's my secret to giving this dish a lovely texture.
A dash of soy sauce gives a umami flavor, while Italian herbs give a pop of flavor. Bell peppers (capsicum) are the perfect edible dish for the lovely filling.
I love that they're super easy to put together (I often prep them in the morning and then just cook them before dinner).
Walnuts might be an unusual substitute for ground beef in these stuffed peppers, but they have a great savoury taste and a nice dense texture.
The rice filling has familiar Italian flavours and the peppers get lovely and sweet while baking.
All you need to add is a green salad or some steamed veggies and you have a delicious vegetarian or vegan meal!
Why you'll love this recipe
Easy to make.
Make these vegan stuffed peppers ahead, put them together and cook before eating. Perfect for weekly meal prep.
A tasty Italian recipe.
Make it vegan or vegetarian (depending on the cheese you use).
A tasty veggie option, for lunch, dinner or Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Simple ingredients - just pantry staples plus veggies and herbs.
Easily make them gluten-free stuffed peppers - just use tamari instead of soy sauce.
You can tweak the spices to make new flavors. These ones are Italian stuffed peppers, but swap the herbs for spice mixes and you have new flavors.
This is a super simple recipe and you only need pantry staples, plus a few everyday fresh ingredients.
Bell Peppers - (aka capsicum) I love using a mix of red, yellow and green peppers so you can serve up a rainbow of vegan stuffed peppers. But you can use your favorite color. Did you know that the colour of a bell pepper shows how sweet and ripe they are? Green pepper is picked unripe so is more bitter, then yellow is beginning to ripen so is a little sweeter, while red is fully ripe so is the sweetest.
Walnuts - I love how whizing walnuts in a food processor makes a great meat-free alternative to ground beef with a wonderful texture.
Rice - use your favorite variety, brown, wild or white. This is also a great way to use up leftover rice, so measurements below are given for both cooked and uncooked rice. Substitute for quinoa if desired for your vegan stuffed peppers.
Onion & garlic - because hey, these are the basis of most great meals, amiright?
Herbs and Spices - garlic powder, dried oregano and dried thyme for a delicious Italian flavor.
Soy sauce - a dash or soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free) gives a great umami flavor to the walnut 'ground beef'.
Canned tomatoes - any will work, but I use chopped or crushed. If using whole/plum tomatoes then chop them up a bit in the pan.
Cheese - use cheddar or vegan version. I also love using my easy vegan parmesan.
Step by step tutorial
This is such an easy vegan stuffed peppers recipe! Follow these photo step, then scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full ingredients list and method.
First, if you're not using leftover rice, cook your rice according to the instructions on the package.
Meanwhile, for the vegan walnut meat: add the walnuts, 1 tablespoon of oil, soy sauce, garlic powder and salt and pepper to a food processor. Whiz until crumbly, but don’t over-process it or it will become puree.
Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and cook for 3 minutes until soft, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the canned tomatoes, dried thyme and dried oregano.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes
Stir in the rice and walnut meat and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the filling briefly.
Cut the peppers in half lengthways and remove the seeds and membrane.
Place the peppers, cut side up, onto a lightly greased baking dish and fill with the filling.
If desired, top with cheese (or vegan cheese). Cover the tray with foil, place in the oven (400F / 200C) and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and cook for a further 5-10 minutes to brown the cheese.
Storage, Freezing and Meal Prep
Refrigerator - Leftover cooked vegetarian stuffed peppers can be stored in the fridge, covered or in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
Reheat in the oven in a baking dish at 375F / 190C for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
Meal Prep - Prepare the peppers up until the point of cooking. Store in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days before cooking. Then cook as per the recipe card instructions at the bottom of this post.
Serve this tasty vegan stuffed capsicum recipe in all sorts of ways! They're perfect with vegetables, salad or other great dishes.
Here are some of our favorite ways to serve them.
Green salad with pepita dressing.
Caponata alla Siciliana - serve the Italian vegetarian stuffed peppers with another Italian dish. This Sicilian classic is a stew of eggplant, zucchini, olives and tomatoes with loads of flavors.
Italian Family Food
Are all children Italian? You’d think so by their diet sometimes. Even the fussiest of eaters seem to gravitate to pasta, pizza, garlic bread…
It’s like they have a nose for oregano, a longing for lasagna and a zest for pizza.
I’ve got to admit that on my laziest evenings, I do often turn to pasta.
Usually with pesto, but, to my shame, sometimes it’s plain pasta. It’s just that the kids love it so. What looks like a bland claggy mass to me seems to delight them. If I let them have pasta a second night in a week they’ll merrily cheer. Why??
But there’s more to Italian food than endless penne.
I’ve taken familiar Italian flavours and used them in these delicious vegan stuffed peppers. The filling is a vegetarian ‘ground beef’ with tomatoes, rice and herbs. You could use a store-bought tvp or soy mince, but instead I’ve used walnuts.
That sounds crazy, but trust me.
You simply whiz up the walnuts in a food processor until crumbly, with a few store cupboard ingredients for flavour.
They take on the look and texture of ground beef, even after being baked in the peppers.
The filling is full of Italian flavours and kids love that they’re served in sweet bell pepper ‘boats’.
If you love these vegetarian stuffed peppers, be sure to try these other family-friendly Italian recipes:
If you're looking for something light, try these Vegan Recipes for Weight Loss.
Check out the Veggie Desserts + Cakes cookbook on Amazon
Vegan Stuffed Peppers
- 1 ¼ cups (250g) cooked rice If uncooked, you will need ½ cup (100g) dry rice
- 1 ½ cups (150g) walnuts
- 2 tablespoons oil divided
- ½ tablespoons soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- 1 onion diced
- 1 clove garlic diced
- 1 can 15oz / 400g chopped or crushed tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 bell peppers any color
- ½ cup 50g vegan cheddar cheese grated
- Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C
- If not using leftover rice, cook the rice according to packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, for the walnut meat: add the walnuts, 1 tablespoon of oil, soy sauce, garlic powder and salt and pepper to a food processor. Whiz until crumbly, but don’t over-process it or it will become puree.
- Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for 3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the can of chopped tomatoes and their juice, along with the dried thyme and dried oregano. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then and stir in the rice and walnut meat and season with salt and pepper.
- Half the peppers lengthways and remove the seeds and membrane.
- Place the peppers, cut side up, onto a lightly greased baking dish. Spoon the mixture into the peppers, then sprinkle the top with cheese.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the peppers are soft. Remove the foil and cook for a further 5-10 minutes to brown the cheese.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.