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Unstuffed Pepper Casserole (gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free options)

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If you love stuffed peppers, you are going to love this unstuffed pepper casserole! It has all the amazing flavors and textures of stuffed bell peppers without needing to fuss with stuffing each pepper and needing a knife when you eat it. Options for gluten-free Soyfree Nutfree

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Unstuffed pepper casserole with rice is super easy, two-step casserole where everything bakes up in the casserole dish, so you don’t have to stand around to sautéing ingredients on the stovetop. Most of the active cooking time is just chopping up the ingredients and then quickly mixing them together in the pan. 

Even the rice cooks in the oven rather than on the stovetop!

I use veggie grounds in the dish, but you can also use lentils, chopped soy curls, or other vegan meat substitutes instead, if you prefer.

A crunchy breadcrumb and cheese mixture tops off this unstuffed pepper casserole, but if you want to make it gluten-free, you can omit the breadcrumbs and just use cheese. 

We bake the aromatics and peppers first then add everything else to the pan to bake! It’s a versatile casserole. Change up the herbs and flavors to preference. Add some chickpeas to the mix. Use a mix of rice and quinoa!

Why You’ll Love Unstuffed Pepper Casserole

all of the flavors of stuffed peppers with less work

No need to stuff individual peppers, no need to make the filling separately! Just add to 1 Pan

veggie-packed casserole that cooks all in one baking dish

crunchy, cheesy topping!

easily made gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free

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Unstuffed Pepper Casserole

If you love stuffed peppers, you are going to love this unstuffed pepper casserole! It has all the amazing flavors and textures of stuffed bell peppers without needing to make the filling separately, needing to stuff the peppers and to fuss with a knife when you eat it. Options for gluten-free Nutfree Soyfree

Prep Time10 minutes minsCook Time40 minutes minsTotal Time50 minutes mins

Course: casserole, MainCuisine: AmericanKeyword: unstuffed bell pepper casserole, unstuffed pepper casserole
Servings: 6
Calories: 252kcal
Author: Vegan Richa
IngredientsFor the Bell Peppers2 teaspoons oil1 cup (160 g) chopped onion chopped into ½” or larger pieces3 cloves garlic minced2 bell peppers chopped into 1” pieces. Use 1 red and 1 green, if possible.2 ounces (56.7 g) sliced cremini mushrooms or use button mushrooms½ teaspoon salt½ teaspoon black pepperFor the Rest of the Casserole2 teaspoon Italian herbs2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce or use tamari ½ teaspoon salt4 ounces (113.4 ml) canned tomato puree½ cup (74.5 g) chopped tomato1 ½ cups (354.88 ml) hot water or veggie stock. Not necessarily boiling, but it should be hot.¾ cup (138.75 g) white rice washed, soaked for 5 minutes, and then drained ( I use Indian basmati) ¾ cup (177.44 g) veggie grounds or use ¾ cup of cooked lentils, chickpeas, or other beans¼ cup (25 g) vegan parmesan optional add ins: ½ teaspoon pepper flakes , 2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes, chopped fresh basil or oregano For Topping¾ cup (81 g) vegan breadcrumbs½ cup (56 g) vegan mozzarella or a mix of vegan mozzarella and vegan parmesan generous pinches of salt and pepper flakes1 teaspoon olive oil

InstructionsMake the peppers.Preheat the oven to 415° F (213° C).Chop the veggies, if you haven’t already, then add the oil to an 8 ½” x 10 ½” or similar-sized baking dish.Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms. Sprinkle the salt, and pepper and toss well to coat. Bake for 15 -20 minutes, so that some of the peppers can start to sear.Meanwhile prepare the rest of the casserole.Wash the rice and soak for 5 minutes, if you haven’t already, then remove the baking dish from the oven, mix in the Italian herbs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, tomato puree, and tomato.Mix in the hot water or stock, then mix in the rice, the veggie grounds, and vegan parmesan. Even out the top, then cover the dish with parchment paper, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. Check at the 20-minute mark. If the rice is done, then remove it from the oven. The rice should be just al dente, because we’re going to put it back into the oven with the topping, and you don’t want the rice to overcook.Make the topping while the casserole bakes.In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, vegan mozzarella, salt, and pepper flakes, and sprinkle this all over the casserole. Drizzle the olive oil all over the top, and then bake for 2 to 3 three more minutes.Broil for a minute to brown(optional) and then remove the casserole dish from the oven. Garnish with some fresh herbs and serve with toasted sourdough or top it with salsa or hot sauce. You can also add unstuffed peppers to tacos, burrito or wraps or serve it however else you like.
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NotesTo make this gluten-free omit the breadcrumbs or use gluten-free breadcrumbs. Make sure to use Soyfree vegan worchestershire sauce or use tamari. 
To make this soy-free and/or nut-free, use soy-free and/or nut-free veggie grounds or use lentils. Also make sure that your Worcestershire sauce, broth, and vegan cheeses are soy-free and/or nut free.
Storage: Store in a closed container refrigerated for upto 3 days. Freeze for months. Reheat in a microwave or bake for a few minutes.
Use brown rice: use precooked brown rice. Add to the baking dish with only ¼ cup water/stock and mix and even it out. Then top with breadcrumb mixture and bake for 5-7 minutes. Broil for a minute to brown the top 
 
 
Nutrition
Nutrition Facts
Unstuffed Pepper Casserole

Amount Per Serving

Calories 252
Calories from Fat 63

% Daily Value*

Fat 7g11%Saturated Fat 1g6%Sodium 687mg30%Potassium 366mg10%Carbohydrates 41g14%Fiber 4g17%Sugar 5g6%Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 1451IU29%Vitamin C 57mg69%Calcium 68mg7%Iron 2mg11% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Did you make this recipe?Please do leave a comment and rating below.. Tag me on Instagram @veganricha

Ingredients and Substitutions

oil – To help the bell peppers sear in the oven and to help the breadcrumb topping get crispy.

aromatics – Onion and garlic roast up with the bell peppers to give this dish an amazing flavor!

bell peppers – You can use whatever flavors you like, but red and green make this very pretty!

mushrooms – Cremini or button mushrooms add meatiness to the mixture.

salt and pepper – To season the veggies.

Italian herbs – To season the rest of the casserole.

Worcestershire sauce – Adds umami and a meaty flavor. Make sure it’s soy-free and gluten-free, if needed.

tomato – You’re using tomato puree and chopped tomato for moisture, texture, and umami.

hot water or stock – Using hot liquid helps the ingredients dissolve, so the flavors come together.

white rice – Make sure to wash, soak, and drain it for the best results.

veggie grounds – You can use your favorite vegan grounds, lentils, chickpeas, or other beans. Choose a soy-free, nut-free, and/or gluten-free, if needed.

vegan parmesan – Adds creaminess and flavor to the casserole. Use soy-free and/or nut-free, if needed.

breadcrumbs – Omit or use gluten-free, if needed, for the topping.

vegan mozzarella – You can use all mozzarella or a mix of mozzarella and parmesan, if you want. Use soy-free and/or nut-free, if needed.

salt and pepper flakes – To season the topping.

olive oil – Makes the breadcrumb mixture get extra crispy crunchy!

💡 Tips

Save time by overlapping prep and cooking! While the peppers and onions roast in the oven, you can prep the rice and other casserole ingredients. While the casserole bakes, mix up your breadcrumb topping.

You can omit the oil from the topping, but it really helps it get so nice and browned!

How to Make Stuffed Bell Pepper Casserole

Preheat the oven to 415° F (213° C). Chop the veggies, if you haven’t already, then add the oil to an 8 ½” x 10 ½” or similar-sized baking dish.

Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, salt, and pepper and toss well to coat. Bake for 15 minutes, so that some of the peppers can start to sear. Time depends on your oven and baking dish. Bake 5-10 mins longer if needed

Meanwhile prepare the rest of the casserole.

Wash the rice and soak it for 5 minutes, if you haven’t already, then remove the baking dish from the oven, mix in the Italian herbs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, tomato puree, and tomato.

Mix in the water or stock, then mix in the rice, the veggie grounds, and vegan parmesan. Even out the top, then cover the dish with parchment paper, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes.

Check at the 20-minute mark. If the rice is done, then remove it from the oven. The rice should be just al dente, because we’re going to put it back into the oven with the topping, and you don’t want the rice to overcook.

Make the topping while the casserole bakes.

In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, vegan mozzarella, salt, and pepper flakes, and sprinkle this all over the casserole. Drizzle the olive oil all over the top, and then bake for 2 to 3 three more minutes.

Broil for a minute to brown, and then remove the casserole dish from the oven. Garnish with some fresh herbs and serve with toasted sourdough or top it with salsa or hot sauce. You can also add unstuffed peppers to tacos or burritos or wraps or serve it however else you like.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this recipe allergy friendly? To make this gluten-free omit the breadcrumbs or use gluten-free breadcrumbs and make sure your Worcestershire sauce and veggie grounds are gluten-free.To make this soy-free and/or nut-free, use soy-free and/or nut-free veggie grounds or use lentils or chickpeas. Also make sure that your Worcestershire sauce, broth, and vegan cheeses are soy-free and/or nut free. can I make it ahead? Yes. Bake and cook then Store in a closed container refrigerated for upto 3 days. Freeze for months. Reheat in a microwave or bake for a few minutes. can I use brown rice Precook the rice. Add to the baking dish with only ¼ cup water/stock and mix and even it out. Then top with breadcrumb mixture and bake for 5-7 minutes. Broil for a minute to brown the top

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