Unstuffed Peppers

5 from 1 vote

This unstuffed peppers bowl is loaded with flavor and is a great well balanced meal. With all the flavors of stuffed peppers, but so much quicker to make!

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If you love stuffed peppers, you’re going to love the idea of these Unstuffed Peppers! They have all the flavor and texture of traditional stuffed peppers, but require less mess and less time time make. It’s a convenient quick recipe to make that’s loaded with so much goodness!

This recipe comes from nutrition specialist Lindsay Cotter, aka Cotter Crunch, from her new cookbook Nourishing Superfood Bowls.

Final bowl of the unstuffed peppers with quinoa, ground beef mixture, steamed spinach, peppers, tomatoes, sour cream and a lemon slice

The book has over 75 bowl recipes which are all gluten-free and allergy-friendly. There are tons of vegetarian, vegan, paleo and grain-free options. This recipe for the unstuffed peppers {or deconstructed stuffed bell pepper bowl} is one of those shining recipes. It’s filled with feel-good ingredients and superfoods.

I didn’t make any changes to the recipe. It’s perfect the way it is – a casual, comforting nutrition-packed unstuffed peppers bowl! Lindsay says she loves them because they are family friendly, easy to make, easy to clean up, and totally easy to devour!

Unstuffed versus stuffed peppers

  1. Less steps – Traditionally with stuffed peppers, you have to prepare the peppers in one dish, making the rice or quinoa in another pot, then core the peppers. Finally you bring all the ingredients together by stuffing them and baking them. Some nights that’s too many steps, and you just want to minimize the steps for making dinner.
  2. Less time – Instead of a 60 minute recipe, this one literally takes half the time from start to finish.
  3. Less clean up – Less cookware and bakeware involved when they’re not stuffed.
  4. Same amazing flavor – yes all the way!


  • Beef: It’s best to use lean ground beef for this recipe.
  • Vegetable: Garlic, onion and bell peppers.
  • Seasonings: Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and tamari.
  • Tomato sauce: Tomato sauce brings the dish altogether. You can use canned or jarred and your favorite brand.
  • For the bowl: The unstuffed pepper mix is added to a bowl for a filling and well balanced meal. We added quinoa, spinach, bell pepper, cilantro, green onion, cherry tomatoes, sour cream and red pepper flakes.

HOW to Make Unstuffed Peppers

I usually make a big batch of quinoa to have on hand during the week, so I only used one skillet to fry the onions, ground beef, peppers and the tomato sauce.

Black skillet full of cooked ground beef, chopped onions, chopped peppers and tomato sauce

Then I added the cooked ground beef mixture to a bowl with quinoa, raw slices of bell peppers and slightly steamed spinach.

Big bowl divided into four parts of cooked quinoa, ground beef mixture, steamed spinach and fresh cut peppers

In the next step, I put it all together and garnishe away! As you can see, I’m in love with how Lindsay styled her bowl so I literally tried to match it as good practice for my styling.

Final bowl of the unstuffed peppers with quinoa, ground beef mixture, steamed spinach, peppers, tomatoes, sour cream and a lemon slice

Tips to make this recipe

  1. Use a different protein. You can easily make this with another ground meat like chicken, turkey, lamb or bison.
  2. Mix up your bowls. I love the flavor and texture of quinoa in these bowls, but you can easily swap it for rice or even pasta if you prefer.
  3. Add in other veggies. If you really want to load the veggies in, you can add in mushrooms, peas or beans when you cook the onions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make it ahead of time?

Yes! These unstuffed peppers are so great for meal prep. The beef and pepper mixture will keep well for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. You can then quickly reheat it and add it to your bowl.

Can you freeze it?

Yes! You can make up a big batch of the ground beef mix and it makes for a great freezer meal. It will keep well for around 3 to 4 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight and reheat to serve.

What color bell pepper should you use?

You can use whatever color peppers you like in this recipe. I like to use a mix of red and orange for a sweeter flavor, but green will work just as well for a slightly more bitter flavor if you prefer. You can even use the sweet mini peppers.

This Unstuffed Peppers recipe is such a fun creative take on traditional stuffed peppers. And, like the other 74 bowl recipes in Lindsay’s book, it’s packed with superfoods and flavorful combinations of grain, protein and vegetables! This is a whole complete comforting meal in just one bowl.

For more stuffed peppers recipes:

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Unstuffed Peppers recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Unstuffed Peppers

This unstuffed peppers bowl is loaded with flavor and is a great well balanced meal. With all the flavors of stuffed peppers, but so much quicker to make!
5 from 1 vote
Servings 4 servings
Course Main Course
Calories 392
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins


For the Beef

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Fine sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp tamari

For the Bowl

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 3 cups lightly steamed spinach
  • 1 bell pepper sliced thin
  • Handful fresh torn cilantro
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • Handful sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Sour cream for topping (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes for topping (optional)
  • Lemon slices for garnish


  • To make the beef, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook until no longer pink, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, onion, cook for 2 minutes, then add the chopped bell pepper, Italian seasoning, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the tomato sauce and tamari and cook until bubbly, about 5 more minutes.
  • To assemble the bowls, spoon the quinoa first, followed by the spinach. Add in the ground beef mixture and top with sliced bell pepper, cilantro, green onions and cherry tomatoes.
  • Add a dollop of sour cream and red pepper flakes, if desired, and garnish with sliced lemon.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!


  • How to Steam Spinach: Place the fresh spinach in a steamer over a saucepan filled halfway with boiling water. Steam for 2-3 minutes then remove and add to the Unstuffed Peppers.
  • How to Cook Quinoa: Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 2:1 ratio of water:quinoa. Season with salt, and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Then fluff the rice and add to the Unstuffed Peppers.
  • Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1g, Calories: 392kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 572mg, Potassium: 1144mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 4485IU, Vitamin C: 99.8mg, Calcium: 81mg, Iron: 6.5mg

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Final bowl of the unstuffed peppers with quinoa, ground beef mixture, steamed spinach, peppers, tomatoes, sour cream and a lemon slice

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