Stuffed peppers can be hearty depending on how they’re made. Make this lightened up, low-carb version of stuffed peppers in your slow cooker or Instant Pot. Omit the cheese and they’re paleo & whole30!
Updated 2020 with Instant Pot instructions
What Are Stuffed Peppers
When you are looking for a hearty and filling meal that will impress guests, this recipe for stuffed peppers is always a winner. They are a healthy and easy meal that can be customized to fit your diet and preferences, and they are fun to have the family help you make! Being able to make this recipe in either a slow cooker or an Instant Pot also puts you in more control of when your meal will be ready. Stuffed peppers are bell peppers that are usually stuffed with rice, ground meat, tomatoes and seasonings. This recipe for stuffed peppers can be tweaked to be a Mexican or Italian dish based on the ingredients and seasonings you use. I went with Italian seasonings here.
What Type of Meat to Use
The great thing about stuffed peppers is that you can customize the recipe so incredibly easily. One way to make this recipe your own is your selection of meat. Now I use lean ground beef in my recipe because I like the flavor it gives the dish. You could also use ground turkey, ground sausage, shredded or ground chicken, or even pulled pork. No matter which meat you chose for your dish, if you follow this recipe your stuffed peppers will come out tasting great.
A Healthier Version
Stuffed Peppers are already a fairly healthy meal to begin with. This recipe gets all its flavors from the onion, garlic, and spices used and doesn’t rely on premade sauces to taste amazing. I made this recipe a little healthier than the traditional recipe by using cauliflower instead of rice in the pepper stuffing. Switching to cauliflower cuts out the bulk of the carbs in this recipe and instead you get an extra serving of perfectly seasoned vegetables. I love using riced cauliflower instead of rice in many of my recipes because cauliflower really soaks up the flavors of the spices and ingredients I use when cooking in a way that rice has a hard time doing without getting too soft or mushy.
How Many Bell Peppers To Use
The serving size for this recipe will vary depending on the size of the bell peppers you use. Using my 6-quart slow cooker, I was able to fit 5 medium-size bell peppers. I used different colors because I wanted the pics to look pretty. Normally I use all green bell peppers. In general, a 6-quart should fit between 5-6 peppers. A 6-quart Instant Pot will fit between 4-6 bell peppers. When you’re stuffing the bell peppers, pack the meat mixture into the peppers tightly. It’s okay if they’re overflowing a bit.
Make This Paleo / Whole30
As-is, this stuffed peppers recipe is low-carb because of the cheese. If you simply omit the cheese, the recipe is paleo and whole30 compliant. The key to the recipe is the use of cauliflower rice in place of white or brown rice.
Storing & Freezing
Leftovers are a breeze with stuffed peppers as long as you keep their filling inside them! I like to keep my leftovers in the refrigerator in reusable and airtight glass or plastic containers that are a bit deeper so I can stand my peppers up in the container together. After that it’s super simple to reheat them; you can simply pop them into the microwave for five minutes, checking on them halfway through. You can also pop your leftovers into the oven on 300-350 degrees for anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
Freezing your stuffed peppers is just as easy as storing them in the refrigerator. Make sure the stuffed bell peppers are cooled completely and then wrap them individually in plastic wrap. They should last up to 3 months in the freezer. When you are ready to eat your frozen stuffed peppers, you can bake them straight from frozen at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. This might take longer depending on the size of your peppers. You can also thaw the stuffed peppers, just be sure to use them within 24 hours of thawing in the frig.
- 4–6 bell peppers (depending on their size)
- 4–6 slices of the cheese of your choice (optional)
- 1 cup water (for Instant Pot)
- 1 pound ground meat
- 2 cups cauliflower, riced
- 15 ounces diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (see blog post)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
Prepare Stuffed Peppers:
- Slice the top off of each bell pepper. Hollow out the bell pepper by removing all the seeds and membranes.
- In a large bowl, mix together stuffing ingredients. Spoon the filling equally into each bell pepper until they’re all full. Pack all the filling in there tightly. It’s okay if it’s overflowing at the top.
- Spray the inside of your slow cooker (you’ll need a 6-quart) with nonstick spray.
- Add the prepared bell peppers into the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4, LOW 6-8 hours or until the meat is cooked through.
- If using cheese, add a slice of cheese on top of each bell pepper. Cover and cook an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted all the way.
- Carefully remove the bell peppers from the slow cooker using tongs.
- Pour the water into the Instant Pot. Add the trivet.
- Add the prepared stuffed peppers.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure and cook for 13 minutes. When done, natural release the pressure for 10 minutes then quick release the remaining pressure.
- Open lid & turn off the pressure cooker.
- Add a slice of cheese on top of each bell pepper. Place the lid back on and let the pepper sit for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. If the cheese does not melt to your liking, turn the pressure cooker to the warm setting.
- Carefully remove the bell peppers from the Instant Pot using tongs.
Need an Italian seasoning? Use this:
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