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Quick and Easy Unstuffed Pepper Skillet Dinner 

This unstuffed pepper skillet dinner is an easy dinner that is perfect for busy weeknights. It also makes delicious leftovers.

This easy dinner features ground beef and an array of delicious chopped veggies including bell peppers. All the same flavors of a stuffed bell pepper, just made in one skillet for quick and easy clean up. This dinner also has rice that cooks into the dish and adds filling flavor.

We love this dinner! It’s one of my families favorite quick weeknight meals. I have been making lots of skillet dinners lately and this one is at the top of my weekly dinner menu.

Unstuffed Pepper Skillet

What is the difference between a “Stuffed Bell Pepper” Recipe and an “Unstuffed Pepper Skillet” Recipe?

Stuffed bell peppers and unstuffed skillet pepper dinners are variations of a popular meal that offers different cooking experiences and flavors. Stuffed bell peppers involve hollowing out whole bell peppers and filling them with a mixture of ingredients such as ground meat, rice, vegetables, and spices before baking them in the oven. This method retains the pepper’s shape, creating a visually appealing and portion-controlled dish.

In contrast, an unstuffed skillet pepper dinner simplifies the process by deconstructing the stuffed pepper ingredients and cooking them together in a skillet. This results in a quicker, one-pan meal where the flavors meld seamlessly, and the cooking time is significantly reduced. The unstuffed version is ideal for busy weeknights when convenience is key, while stuffed bell peppers are perfect for when you want to impress with a more structured presentation.

Cooking Unstuffed Pepper Skillet Dinner

Can the ground beef be substituted for a different meat or made into a vegetarian dish?

Absolutely, ground beef in an unstuffed pepper skillet dinner can be substituted with different meats or made into a vegetarian dish. Here are some options for both:

Alternative Meats:

  1. Ground Turkey or Chicken: These are leaner options that provide a similar texture and flavor profile to ground beef.
  2. Ground Pork: Adds a richer flavor while maintaining a meaty texture.
  3. Italian Sausage: Offers additional flavor, especially if you use a spicy or herb-infused variety.
  4. Ground Lamb: Provides a distinct, slightly gamey flavor that can add a unique twist to the dish.

Vegetarian Options:

  1. Tofu: Crumbled firm tofu mimics the texture of ground meat and absorbs the dish’s flavors well.
  2. Tempeh: This fermented soy product has a firmer texture and a nutty flavor, making it suitable for savory dishes.
  3. Lentils: Cooked lentils offer a hearty, protein-rich substitute with a firm texture, ideal for a plant-based version.
  4. Black Beans: Provide protein and fiber, adding a different flavor and texture that complements the other ingredients.
  5. Chickpeas: Another protein-rich option that can be lightly mashed to mimic a ground meat texture.
  6. Quinoa: While not a direct protein substitute, quinoa adds texture and a good dose of protein, especially when paired with beans or lentils.
  7. Plant-Based Ground Meat: There are many commercial plant-based ground meat alternatives available that mimic the texture and flavor of ground beef.

By using these alternatives, you can cater to various dietary preferences and still enjoy a delicious and satisfying unstuffed pepper skillet dinner.

Unstuffed Pepper Skillet

Properly Cooking the Rice in the Unstuffed Pepper Skillet:

If your rice isn’t cooking properly in the skillet dinner, here are some tips to ensure it cooks through:

  1. Liquid Amount: Ensure you have enough liquid in the skillet. Typically, rice needs about two parts liquid to one part rice. If the liquid evaporates too quickly, add more broth or water as needed.
  2. Cover the Skillet: Covering the skillet helps trap steam, which is essential for cooking the rice evenly. Use a tight-fitting lid to keep the moisture in.
  3. Simmering Time: Make sure you’re simmering the dish on a low heat. High heat can cause the liquid to evaporate too quickly before the rice has a chance to cook.
  4. Type of Rice: Different types of rice have varying cooking times. White rice usually cooks faster than brown rice. If using brown rice, ensure you adjust the cooking time and liquid accordingly.
  5. Pre-Cooking the Rice: If you’re in a hurry, you can partially cook the rice beforehand. Boil it for about half the usual cooking time, then add it to the skillet to finish cooking with the other ingredients.
  6. Stir Occasionally: Stirring occasionally can help distribute heat and liquid evenly throughout the skillet, ensuring the rice cooks uniformly.
  7. Check the Heat: Ensure that your skillet maintains a consistent simmer. If it’s too hot, the liquid may evaporate before the rice is done; if too low, the rice may take much longer to cook.
  8. Use Instant Rice: For a quicker option, use instant or parboiled rice, which cooks faster than regular rice.

By following these tips, your rice should cook properly and your unstuffed pepper skillet dinner will turn out deliciously.

More Delicious Skillet Dinners:

Unstuffed Pepper Skillet
Yield: 8

Unstuffed Pepper Skillet Dinner

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This unstuffed pepper skillet dinner is an easy dinner that is perfect for busy weeknights. It also makes delicious leftovers.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes undrained (14.5 oz)
  • 28 oz jar Marinara sauce
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (uncooked)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese ( I used mozzarella and Romano cheese)
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh parsley for garnish


  1. In a large skillet add olive oil and heat to medium heat.
  2. Allow skillet to come up to temperature and add in the ground beef
  3. Once the ground beef is browned, drain the grease and add in the diced onion.
  4. Sauté 2-3 minutes until onion is transluscent
  5. Add in the minced garlic and dried seasonings.
  6. Next, add the chopped bell peppers and cook 3-4 minutes until soft
  7. Add the dried rice to the skillet and toast for 1-2 minutes
  8. Add the Marinara sauce, diced tomatoes and beef broth.
  9. Bring heat up to a low boil
  10. Once the dinner is bubbling and heated to a low boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.
  11. Simmer for 15-18 mintues on the stovetop stirring occastionally.
  12. Cook until rice is tender, cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  13. Add the shredded cheese and stir into the skillet dinner.
  14. Remove from heat and add parsley for garnish.

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Unstuffed Pepper Skillet Dinner

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