The best vegan stuffed peppers are a budget friendly, healthy, easy to make meal that the whole family will love. Sweet bell peppers are stuffed with black beans, rice, and veggies that are spiced to perfection. Topped with vegan cheese, they’re a hearty and delicious vegan comfort food. Serve them with our chopped green garden salad for a complete dinner.
Published July 11, 2016 and updated March 25, 2021.
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Ingredients and substitutions
Beans – For this recipe, we used canned black beans. You can also use cooked dried beans if you want.
If you’re not into black beans, you can substitute with red beans or black eyed peas.
Rice – We love the chewiness and hearty texture of brown rice, although you can use white, black, or wild rice to make gluten-free stuffed peppers. Just make sure that you follow the instructions on the package.
You can also use quinoa, barley, or any grain that you prefer, and if you’re not into grains, cauliflower rice would work, too.
Vegetable Broth – Broth gives depth to the flavor of this dish. You could also use mushroom broth or no-chicken broth.
Jalapeno Pepper – We like spicy food, so we use a fresh jalapeno to boost the heat. Feel free to substitute with sweet or mild chili peppers, or other medium, hot, or super-hot peppers. Here’s a list of different kinds of chili peppers.
Onion – You can use a white, yellow, or red onion to make stuffed peppers. Any kind will work.
If you don’t have onions in the house, substitute with 1 tsp of onion powder.
Red Bell Pepper – We chose red peppers for their sweet taste. It goes so well with the spices in this recipe. Feel free to use green bell peppers, yellow, or orange, or a variety.
Garlic – Minced fresh garlic is preferred, but if you don’t have fresh you can substitute with 1 tsp of garlic powder.
Fresh Spinach – Sneak some greens into this dish. Spinach has a mild flavor and when it’s finely chopped it just adds color, not texture.
Substitute with kale, chard, or your favorite greens.
Cilantro – We love the bright flavor of cilantro, although we realize that to many people it tastes like soap. If you’re not a fan, substitute with parsley, or just leave it out.
Spices – This recipe calls for Mexican spices, such as chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin. If you want something a bit milder, use Italian seasoning.
If you like meat filled stuffed peppers, add the following meat alternatives to the filling. Make sure to cook them as instructed on the package.
Beyond Meat – Use their Crumbles, Sausage, or ground Beyond Beef
Lentils – cooked green lentils make a great plant-based meat substitute.
Healthy Vegan Taco Filling – Our taco filling is a fabulous meat substitute.
Impossible – Order their ground beef and cook as directed.
Pro Tips for Success
Roast the peppers before filling them. This will release the water from the peppers, so you won’t have watery stuffed peppers. It also ensures that they will be tender, not crunchy.
Dice the vegetables the same size. When you don’t dice them evenly, they don’t cook evenly, resulting in some vegetables being cooked through and some too hard.
Toast the spices to enhance their flavors.
Know your spice levels. If you like spicy food, then follow our instructions and taste the filling. Add more if you want more spice. If you don’t like spicy food, add half of what we suggest, taste, and add more if necessary.
How to make them
Remove the tops of the peppers and carefully remove the core and seeds.
Set aside the pepper tops to use for the filling.
Rub the peppers with olive oil and place them in a baking pan, making sure that they don’t touch, and roast for approximately 40 minutes, or until they soften and collapse.
Empty any excess water that may be sitting in the peppers.
Don’t worry if they collapse, this just means that they’ll be tender when you eat them.
They’ll be fine once you stuff them with the filling.
Cook the rice in the vegetable broth. Make sure to follow the instructions on the rice package.
Use the broth to cook any other grain that you choose to make.
Remove the stems from the pepper tops and finely chop the bell pepper for the filling.
Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add the spices. Toast the spices until they begin to release their oil and become fragrant. Make sure to stir often.
Add the oil to the skillet with the spices and when it spreads out in the pan and glistens, add the vegetables and beans and stir to spread them evenly in the pan.
Cook until they’re fork tender, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
Stuff the peppers to the brim with the filling and top with vegan cheese (optional).
Roast for 15 minutes.
Storage & Freezing
You can make these ahead and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Put them in a baking pan and cover with foil and reheat in a 350˚F (176˚C) oven until warmed through to the center.
Freeze them in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Reheat as instructed above.
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The Best Vegan Stuffed Peppers
- 1 cup brown rice or your favorite grain
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth you can use water, but it won’t be as flavorful
- Pinch of sea salt
- 15 oz black beans drained and rinsed well
- 1 tbsp ground chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Sea salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 large bell peppers tops removed and set aside, remove the core and seeds
- 1 jalapeno pepper core removed and finely chopped
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 medium tomato finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups spinach chopped (measure before chopping)
- ½ cup cilantro leaves chopped
- OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
- Vegan cheese
- Fresh cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F (204˚C)
- FOR THE PEPPERS
- Cut the tops off of the peppers and scoop out the core and seeds. Remove the stems from the tops and finely chop the pepper to add to the filling. Rub with a thin layer of olive oil and place in a large baking pan, making sure they don’t touch. Roast for approximately 40 minutes, or until they’re fork tender. They will probably collapse. That’s fine, don’t worry.
- FOR THE RICE
- Combine the 1 cup rice and 1 ½ cups vegetable broth, and a pinch of sea salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the broth is boiling, cover the pan and reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 40 minutes) or until the broth is completely evaporated and the rice is tender. Remove from heat, keep covered, let sit for 10 minutes. NOTE: Check the cooking instructions on the package of rice that you use and follow those directions if they’re different than ours.
- Heat a large skillet on medium heat, add the 1 tbsp (15 g) of chili powder, 2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, and stir. Continue stirring until the spices release their oil and become fragrant, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan with the spices and when the oil is hot, add the chopped red bell pepper, jalapeno, and onion, and stir to combine. Cook until the onion becomes translucent, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Combine the rice, 3 cups of spinach, chopped tomato, and ½ cup of cilantro to the vegetables and stir to completely combine.
- Stuff the bell peppers to the top with the filling and add vegan cheese to the top if desired. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle the top with freshly chopped cilantro.